Chapter 112: Terrified, to confess or not confess
After Han Yunxi met with trouble, the Celestial Fragrance Teashop was sealed off. Outsiders couldn't come in, and insiders couldn't go out. When Long Feiye arrived, Mu Qingwu hurried to meet him. He'd been scouring the mountains from yesterday afternoon to noon today, but couldn't find any traces or clues. He really didn't have the face to return, but with His Highness Duke of Qin here, he had no other choice.
As soon as he entered, Mu Qingwu kneeled down. "Your subordinate couldn't protect esteemed wangfei and deserves 10,000 deaths!"
"If you're just here to ask for punishment, then your lordship will order your death right now!" Long Feiye had no trace of politeness in his tone.
What was the use of asking for punishment now? Mu Qingwu understood this, but his heart couldn't bear it.
"Exactly what happened?" Long Feiye asked. He hadn't learned the whole story from General Mu or the Celestial Fragrance servants, so Mu Qingwu was the only one who knew.
Mu Qingwu told him about their reasons for coming to the Celestial Fragrance Teashop, as well as the details leading up to the event, including the suspicions towards Han Family's Second Young Miss Han Ruoxue.
"Since you'd already cleared up matters, why did you both climb up the south mountains?" Long Feiye didn't understand.
"Esteemed wangfei said she wanted to pick some Red South Peak to take back. Your subordinate didn't foresee that such a thing would happen instead," Mu Qingwu was filled with remorse. If he'd known earlier, he would have gone by himself instead.
Han Yunxi likes to drink Red South Peak, too?
A complex look flashed past Long Feiye's eyes before he asked, "How long did it take you two to walk from the Spring Rain Courtyard to the south mountains?"
There were quite a few people waiting in ambush at the south mountains, so someone must have known they were coming there ahead of time. Long Feiye's question came from an obvious suspicion that the Celestial Fragrance Teashop was harboring spies.
"The mountain roads were difficult, so not more than an hour," Mu Qingwu replied honestly.
An hour couldn't be considered short, so it was enough time for the assassins to prepare their ambush. More importantly, how had so many of them snuck into the Celestial Fragrance Teashop? This wasn't an ordinary establishment, but a place that catered to the influential elite of the capital city. The security here was extremely tight.
Right at this moment, Guard Shangguan hurried over. No matter how he'd tried, he couldn't find the owner. None of his attempts to contact him had worked. The owner of the Celestial Fragrance Teashop had his quarters atop the west mountain, so most of the time he lived there when he came to visit. Though his visits were few and far in between, he'd been living at the teashop this entire month. This owner didn't manage the affairs of the teashop, leaving them to the expert care of Guard Shangguan. But what happened today was so catastrophic that Guard Shangguan was left at his wit's end. He couldn't take on the responsibility. His Highness Duke of Qin had already arrived, but there was no news of the teashop owner. Guard Shangguan could only steel himself and go back to meet him.
As soon as he entered the door, he saw Long Feiye sitting high up with his frosty face like some sort of demon. The pressure on his shoulders grew to the weight of a mountain as he quickly kowtowed. "This commoner Shangguan pays respects to Your Highness Duke of Qin."
"Guard Shangguan, your lordship remembers. You're not the owner," Long Feiye said coldly. He liked Celestial Fragrance's Red South Peak tea, so this Guard Shangguan had paid tribute to him with the leaves on behalf of the owner a few times.
"To reply your highness, your subordinate has been looking for the owner as well. His whereabouts have always been hard to predict, and your subordinate has used all methods of communication to reach out to him," Guard Shangguan replied honestly.
"You can't find the owner?" Long Feiye raised an eyebrow.
These words were pregnant with meaning. Guard Shangguan's heart grew alarmed as he quickly clarified his position. "Your Highness Duke of Qin, this commoner is the plenipotentiary for the owner and cooperated fully with the investigation. All of the teashop guards have entered the mountains to search. Yesterday's tea servants involved with the incident, as well as the two tea masters and all of the south mountain guards have been imprisoned to await Your Highness Duke of Qin's personal interrogation."
Guard Shangguan was an intelligent man. He'd long realized that the Duke of Qin would place his suspicions on the Celestial Fragrance Teashop. In actuality, he'd spent all of last night sleepless in bed, wondering if there were spies in the shop. Otherwise, there'd be no way that such a large batch of assassins had snuck into the south mountain.
In regards to Guard Shangguan's report, Long Feiye was still satisfied. He stood up and said, "Interrogate."
With the mountains sealed off, there was no way for the assassin to escape. Long Feiye had his men secretly scour the mountain while he waited for the other side to release their demands. Kidnappers naturally had things they wanted. He didn't fear anything except a lack of conditions and actions from their side. As long as the other side moved, he'd definitely be able to find Han Yunxi.
Of course, if they could uncover any spies within Celestial Fragrance Teashop, they'd gain a better advantage. But time was of the essence; the longer they dragged things out, the more Han Yunxi would suffer. Hearing that Long Feiye wanted to question the captives, Guard Shangguan released a breath. He didn't dare delay, but hurried to lead the way.
"Your Highness Duke of Qin, the south mountain tea masters and guards are imprisoned together, but the others have individual cells. The two child servants and sole female servant of the Spring Rain Courtyard have no idea about what happened in the southern mountains," Guard Shangguan spoke in a low voice as he walked with hurried steps.
Actually, it wasn't just the Spring Rain Courtyard servants who were ignorant about the matter. Besides the people present on south mountain, everyone else in Celestial Fragrance Teashop had no idea what had happened. Guard Shangguan had done a thorough job keeping things under wraps. Such a tactic was very beneficial for interrogations.
Long Feiye gave a light 'hn', his divinely handsome face still as icy-cold as before. It was as if his facial features had been frozen in place, making others wonder whether he had any expressions at all. Guard Shangguan stole numerous looks at Long Feiye. When he saw that the other still hadn't moved to speak after a long while, he timidly asked, "Who would Your Highness Duke of Qin like to question first?"
"Spring Rain Courtyard's people," Long Feiye said without a second thought.
As soon as he entered the interrogation room, two young boys were brought before him. Both of them were no more than ten years old, crying the whole way. When they saw the situation in the interrogation room, both children grew terrified and started sobbing uncontrollably.
"No crying!" Guard Shangguan reprimanded.
But his scolding only made the boys cry harder as they collapsed in a heap. Guard Shangguan's head was slicked in sweat. Actually, according to his understanding, there shouldn't be major issues with these children. But the risks were too large after such a thing had happened, so he didn't dare voice his views before the Duke of Qin interrogated them. He stole another look at the duke, whose face was completely expressionless. The only thing he could do was to drag the children apart and gag their mouths.
At last, the crying stopping.
"No crying. You're only going to be asked a few questions. Reply truthfully, or else you'll suffer!" Guard Shangguan warned.
Yet Long Feiye suddenly opened his mouth. "There's no need to ask. If they won't confess, just drag them out to be dealt with."
At these words, the two children were so frightened that their faces turned white. Before, they had just been crying, but now they began to struggle violently. Guard Shangguan ungagged one of the children, who was still crying as he shouted, "Sobsob...I confess! I confess!"
He was actually going to confess?
The news that Qin Wangfei had been kidnapped from the south mountain wasn't public yet, so what did this child know? What was he confessing? Unless he was actually a spy? Guard Shangguan traded glanced with Mu Qingwu, both doubting the possibility. Long Feiye was puzzled as well, but kept his mouth shut.
Unexpectedly, the child started yelling, "I confess! I confess! Big sister Bilü betrayed Eldest Young Miss Mu...sobsob...it was big sister Bilü who didn't follow the rules, but we didn't know anything, sobsob..."
Guard Shangguan patted his head, feeling his mind grow clouded. Long Feiye and Mu Qingwu however, understood immediately. Spring Rain Courtyard's tea servant Bilü had broken the rules to answer many of Mu Qingwu and Han Yunxi's questions, which the two children had overheard. They thought that they were being interrogated for this reason.
Long Feiye pinched his brows with his fingers before silently waving a hand for Guard Shangguan to take the children away. Guard Shangguan was still baffled, so Mu Qingwu gave him a quick explanation before personally untying the children and speaking in a low voice. "Take them out and comfort them, and bring in the tea servant next."
Hearing the explanation, Guard Shangguan finally understood. As to why Mu Qingwu and Han Yunxi were questioning about Mu Liuyue's affairs, he was curious but didn't dare ask. He quickly escorted the boys away.
When tea servant Bilü was brought out of her cell, she couldn't help but tremble all over. Her heart was in disorder despite having no idea what had happened at the southern mountains, or why Guard Shangguan had imprisoned her. After she'd finished receiving Mu Qingwu and Han Yunxi yesterday, she went to rest. Originally, she planned to take care of that sealed tin of tea leaves in secret, but she never got the chance when she heard that something had happened in the mountains. All of the teashop had been sealed up and everyone was on tenterhooks. They tried to find news of what had happened, but nobody knew. Not long after, guards had rushed into her room and forcibly taken her away. Despite how much she'd pleaded and cried, they wouldn't tell her what was going on at all. She'd spent all last night tossing and turning, unable to sleep a wink. No matter how she thought it over, she felt that something wasn't right.
Aside from secretly hiding away Second Young Miss Han's tin of tea leaves, she hadn't done anything wrong!
But even if they did discover she'd hidden the tea leaves, it wasn't enough to warrant such a big reaction, so much that the entire teashop had been sealed. It was just a tin of tea. After the Han Family sent people to ask its whereabouts last time, they never came again. Even before Divine Doctor Han was sent to jail and caused the decline of the Han house, they weren't a family who could make Guard Shangguan seal up the teashop and investigate everyone for a simple tin of tea leaves.
Biü wasn't an inexperienced servant like the children, but a ten-year veteran of the Celestial Fragrance Teashop. She'd started as a child to work step by step to the position of tea servant, and her sole duty was to serve and receive important guests. Even if she wasn't smart to start with, she'd learned to be smart after listening and experiencing enough. She knew things couldn't be so simple at first glance, so it shouldn't be related to that spring tea. But even though she wracked her brains, she couldn't figure out what she'd done wrong to warrant being locked up!
Besides her, were there others locked up as well? Were the guards taking her in for interrogation now? Would Guard Shangguan interrogate her personally? Would they use torture?
But what did they want to ask her about?
Bilü's heart was uneasy. She couldn't help but draw back at the sight of the interrogation room doors and whimpered under her breath, "Sirs, just what is the matter?"
Her two guards didn't dare speak, but dragged Bilü inside. She narrowly escaped falling over before recovering her bearings to look around. There was a pause before she sucked in a cold breath, only to see an Immortal-like man sitting at a high seat in front of her. His face was so cold that it might as well been covered in a layer of frost, his entire form emanating the awe-inspiring, terrific aura of a monarch. Bilü had seen many bigwigs before, but she'd never seen such a dignified, domineering man. Her heart was already in disorder, but now her mind had turned completely blank.
Who is...this man?
Suddenly, Guard Shangguan kicked her legs from behind, forcing her to her knees. Only then did Biü recovered her senses enough to see Guard Shangguan and Mu Qingwu standing on the side. Guard Shangguan learned from Long Feiye's clever example and asked, "Bilü, will or won't you confess?"
Mixing the real and false together, they sought to uncover the truth.
If Bilü was innocent, she wouldn't be able to confess anything even if she tried. But if she knew anything, then they could look forward to her answers!