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Chapter 36-Part 1

At the beginning, Jiang Xiurui reminded herself to stay calm, no matter what Dou Siwu might say.

But after Dou Siwu finished speaking, she stood there stunned, her eyes wide open, unable to believe her ears. She asked repeatedly, “Are you… sure about this?”

Dou Siwu firmly patted Jiang Xiurui’s shoulder and said, “I’ve delivered the message. You might want to discuss with your brother how to handle this matter.”

Jiang Xiurui knew that Dou Siwu was not a deceitful person full of lies. If he said it, it must be true and well-founded.

Without delay, she hurried off to find her brother, dragging him out of the academy without saying a word.

Jiang Zhi was bewildered and repeatedly asked what was going on, but Jiang Xiurui did not answer.

It wasn’t until they returned to Bo state hostage residence that she told him about the outrageous act committed by the new hostage from Bo outside the city.

Jiang Zhi gasped, collapsing onto the seat, his face turning pale.

Based on his understanding of their father, the letter accompanying the hostage woman would be filled with flattering words, such as “her beauty will grace Your Majesty’s side” and the like, seeking favor by offering the woman.

It would have been acceptable if they had sent a beautiful maiden, but what sense did it make to send a woman who had just given birth? Was it to insult the Emperor of Qi by sending him ‘damaged goods’?

If the Emperor became furious, the ones to bear the consequences would be him and his sister, the hostages in Luo’an City.

Thinking of this, Jiang Zhi cried, “What has Father done? Did he not know the princess he sent was pregnant?”

Jiang Xiurui paced back and forth in the room, quickly gathering the silver money and gold pieces she had stored at her brother’s place into a small bundle. She then put on a thick cloak and secured the map she had drawn earlier. Turning to her brother, she said, “Brother, put on your clothes. Let’s escape.”

Since death was inevitable either way, why not attempt to escape before facing it?

In recent days, during her painting classes in the academy’s quiet room, while others painted birds, beasts, fish, and insects, she meticulously copied the transit passes borrowed from the Crown Prince’s residence. She had even carved fake seals from radishes, imitating the style of the Crown Prince’s seal.

She had drawn a stack of these passes, leaving the dates and names blank, ready to be filled in and stamped as needed.

Now, in front of her brother, she quickly filled out four passes, dipped the radish stamp in red ink, and deftly stamped them.

Jiang Zhi watched in astonishment. Since arriving in Luo’an City, he has realized he understands his sister less and less. When had she prepared all these things? First, altering official documents, then disguising herself as a man, and now preparing fake passes and seals. When did she become so capable?

But wouldn’t running away like this place the state of Bo in a position of dishonor?

Jiang Zhi instinctively rejected the idea, firmly intending to persuade his sister not to act in such a manner: “Father sent us here as hostages to establish an alliance between the two countries. How can we betray father trust and put father in a position of dishonor?”

Jiang Xiurui knew her brother’s words were sincere; after all, in their previous lives, he had been willing to sacrifice himself for their country by jumping off a tower.

So she didn’t waste words. Instead, she nodded to Qian’er beside her, who then stepped forward and, with one swift move, knocked the endlessly persuasive Jiang Zhi unconscious.

There wasn’t much to gather, and the only people they needed to take were the sisters Bai Ying and Bai Qian. As for the guards in the residence, none were originally from Bo; they were all assigned by the Crown Prince.

Jiang Xiurui checked the sundial and calculated the time. Among the four gates of Luo’an City, only the guards at the west gate were relatively lax. Every day at noon, when the shifts changed, the afternoon shift guard had just finished lunch, making them sluggish and inattentive during inspections.

Jiang Xiurui had observed this several times when she used the excuse of buying snacks for the Crown Prince.

So she timed their departure for just before noon, avoiding the guards at the hostage residence. From the study, she took out a ladder she had prepared earlier and climbed over the wall into a courtyard adjacent to the hostage residence.

This courtyard had been secretly rented from a neighbor by Qian’er. Inside, there was a hired coachman with well-fed horses and a well-maintained carriage.

When Qian’er also carried the unconscious Jiang Zhi over the wall, the coachman had already harnessed the horses. After the four of them got into the carriage, the coachman shook the reins and drove out from the neighboring courtyard.

During the journey, Jiang Xiurui peeked out from the curtain and clearly saw familiar-looking spies monitoring the hostage residence from the alleyway.

When they reached the west gate, the guards, as expected, were sluggish and full from lunch. Using the pretense of buying items for the Crown Prince’s residence, the carriage passed through without issue.

Once they left the inner city, Jiang Xiurui gave the coachman enough gold and waved him off. Qian’er, now wearing a veiled hat, took over the reins. Using the four convincingly forged passes, they smoothly passed through the busier outer city gates.


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