"Master, this is such an obvious scheme. Why do we need to make an innocent woman suffer?" Leng Lingyun choked, about to go out of control.
"Lingyun!" Lawrence's tone changed, becoming more severe. "In all these years, have you been living in an illusion?"
The sentence was a severe blow to Leng Lingyun's heart. He froze instantly.
Leng Lingyun's lips curved into a derisive sneer. Yes, how could he have forgotten. The esteemed Temple of Light was in reality the most corrupt place in the world. How could he still hope for justice!
"Go!" Lawrence's expression darkened. He understood that inside the study, the pope must have heard what had been said. In order to prevent Leng Lingyun from saying anything else that could bring them trouble, Leng Lingyun had to leave as soon as possible.
Leng Lingyun followed Lawrence silently, his face lowered. No one could see his expression. The two walked towards the back of the temple.
Now far from the front of the temple, the two stood silently.
"Your eminence*, Lingyun." The Divine Princess appeared, greeting them with a bright smile.
*I searched and this is how you address cardinals
"Oh, so it's you, Xueqing. How are you feeling?" Lawrence forced out a smile. The Divine Princess had returned last expedition covered entirely in wounds. The Temple of Darkness had nearly cost her life. But of course as the Divine Princess, she had been able to fight her way through and returned to the Temple, resting ever since. If Claire knew about this, she would understand the Divine Princess did not truly believe in the goddess of Light.
"Thank you, your eminence, for your worry. I am already much better." Liu Xueqing smiled faintly. However, her gaze was on Leng Lingyun.
"Good," Lawrence nodded.
Leng Lingyun remained silent, about to walk past Lawrence and leave.
"Lingyun!" Lawrence called, stopping Leng Lingyun in his tracks.
But although Leng Lingyun stopped, he did not look back.
Lawrence sighed. His heart heavy, he said, "Lingyun, I know of your relationship with Claire. However, this time is different. You cannot interfere in this matter."
Leng Lingyun whipped around. "Master, are we just going to watch as the situation develops? Do you think Claire will let it go once she returns?" he said angrily. "Do you think Cliff is just going to watch without doing anything?"
"That's none of your business! I know my bounds!" Lawrence's expression darkened. "Don't do anything. Just stay quietly in the temple."
Leng Lingyun bit his lip, about to say something, Lawrence frowned, also about to say something, but Liu Xueqing quietly said, "Lingyun, no one wants to see Claire hurt. I treat her like a younger sister and don't want her to be hurt either. But this time, it is relevant to the Temple's future." Seeing Leng Lingyun's expression darken, she finally could not help it. "Even if you don't care about yourself, you must think of Xuanxuan."
Leng Lingyun instantly froze, unable to say a word.
Seeing Lingyun's dazed expression, Lawrence let out a long sigh. He walked over and patted Leng Lingyun on the shoulder. "Just pretend you didn't know anything. I will ask the pope to assign you a mission. You should go elsewhere, the farther, the better."
Liu Xueqing also sighed. She walked over and said gently, "I will stay with you, Ling Yun. Let's go to a branch temple in another country together."
Leng Lingyun brushed off Lawrence's hand, his face cold. "I won't do anything rash. You don't need to send me away." Leng Lingyun walked away, disappearing into the long hallway.
Seeing this, Liu Xueqing turned, about to chase after him.
"Xueqing, don't go. Let him be." Lawrence stopped her.
Liu Xueqing paused in her steps. She gazed down the hallway, ecstatic in her heart. Xuanxuan would be her trump card forever! She was even looking forward to Claire's reappearance. Katherine would be hanged for sure. Even if the Hill clan interfered, Katherine would be banished at best, the equivalent of a death sentence. If that damn girl were here, she would definitely not allow such a thing to occur and interfere with the Temple, resulting in... The more Liu Xueqing thought about it, the more excited she became, but because Lawrence was there, she could only pretend to be worried and disheartened.
Leng Lingyun quickly walked back to his personal courtyard. Immediately, he saw Leng Xuanxuan sitting on the edge of a flowerbed atop a low masonry border alone, kicking her little feet boredly, waiting for his return. Thin frame, thin arms. Leng Lingyun's heart tightened. If not for the medicine the Temple of Light provided, Xuanxuan would have left this world long ago.
"Brother!" Leng Xuanxuan lept to her feet happily, dashing straight towards him.
Leng Lingyun squeezed out a faint smile. He crouched down and hugged Leng Xuanxuan.
"Xuanxuan, have you been good?" Leng Lingyun scooped her up and stood up.
"Yes, yes," Leng Xuanxuan nodded enthusiastically. As she caught Leng Lingyun's eyes, astonishment flashed across her face. She reached out and gently touched Leng Lingyun's face, her voice low as she said, "Brother, do you have something on your mind? You're unhappy."
"No. Xuanxuan, don't think too much. Remember to take your medicine on time, okay?" Leng Lingyun forced on a smile and stroked Leng Xuanxuan's hair.
Leng Xuanxuan didn't say anything, only tilting her head. She gazed into Leng Lingyun's eyes, then pulled Leng Lingyun's handsome face towards her. She asked seriously, "Brother, you like that big sister, right?"
"Ah?" Leng Lingyun froze.
"Big sister Claire, you like her, right?" Leng Xuanxuan's serious expression did not match her young age.
"Silly child, do you even know what 'like' means? Don't speak nonsense." On the inside, Leng Lingyun was shocked, but he maintained his smile as he poked Leng Xuanxuan's nose.
"I know, of course I know." Leng Xuanxuan nodded seriously. She touched Leng Lingyun's face and said solemnly, "Brother, do you really think the Divine Princess treats me well because she likes me? Does she think I don't know? She only treats me well because of you."
Leng Lingyun was shocked. He stared fixedly at Leng Xuanxuan without a word. Since when was this child so perceptive?
"The Divine Princess likes you, but you don't like her. You like big sister Claire. This kind of like is different from brother liking me." Leng Xuanxuan's expression was exceptionally serious.
Leng Lingyun stared at the little girl in his arms, unable to speak. Leng Xuanxuan was obedient and mature, but Leng Lingyun never expected her to say such things.
"Silly child, you are always brother's number one." Leng Lingyun smiled and hugged Leng Xuanxuan more tightly. But even he could not understand the pain and complex emotions in his heart.
"Brother..." Leng Xuanxuan hugged Leng Lingyun's neck tightly, laying her head down on Leng Lingyun's shouldered. Quietly, she whispered, "Brother, sorry. These past few years, for me, you had to suffer."
"Silly child, don't say such foolish words." Leng Lingyun hugged Leng Xuanxuan and sighed. He was unaware of the glistening tears nor determination in Leng Xuanxuan's eyes.
The poison incident became a deadlock with no further progress.
The Temple of Light could not prove the second prince ordered Katherine to poison the first prince and the Hill clan could not prove Katherine was innocent.
And so, the situation turned into a stalemate.
Today, Cliff and Lawrence hurriedly left the capital because the Temple's reliable intel hinted that Claire was in the country Swerther and appeared to be chased after. Cliff, not doubting his lifelong friend Lawrence, hurriedly made his way to the tiny country of Swerther to rescue Claire.
Just two days after Cliff and Lawrence left, the poisoning incident had a new development.
Katherine Hill herself admitted that she poisoned the crown prince on the second prince's orders! Tomorrow, she would be on trial publically!
"How could this be!" Claire almost destroyed the table in Philip's room. She slapped it and hollered, "How is that possible! Where did you get this information? Who made it up?"
"Everyone in the capital knows," Xi Shaoqi mumbled, feeling wronged.
"Impossible! I met Mother in secret. Mother would never do such a thing!" Claire was both furious and worried. She almost lost her reason.
"Divine Princess, please calm down a little," Philips quickly tried to console her. "There's definitely something strange going on. Your mother would never do such a thing."
"She could have been threatened," Xi Shaosi said calmly.
"Please calm down, divine princess, please calm down!" Xi Shaoqi was afraid Claire might destroy the room. After Claire recovered, their jaws almost dropped to the floor. She was at the level of a wizard sage! So young, yet so talented. If they knew that Claire was hiding her strength and was already a sorcerer, who knew how shocked they would be.
Claire slowly calmed down. She sat down to ponder. "No, she was not threatened. There is nothing to threaten her with," Claire calmly analyzed.
"Then how?" Xi Shaoqi blinked. "Either a threat or a bribe, but bribing her is impossible. You also said that there's nothing she can be threatened with, so why did you mother suddenly give such a statement?"