Chapter 810: Panic
A commotion filled the entire camp when they heard that bitter scream.
They thought there was an intruder, so they grabbed their weapons and charged over right away.
Bi Linglong and Zu An woke up immediately as well.
Bi Linglong discovered that she had leaned against Zu An all night.
Her face instantly became as red as an apple.
But she was the crown princess after all, and wasn’t easily flustered like a little girl.
She quickly realized the importance of the situation, so she stood up to head toward the source of the voice.
Unfortunately, the awkward posture in which she had slept made her body a bit rigid.
As she suddenly stood up, she felt a wave of dizziness and fell.
Zu An quickly supported her.
He had to admit that this woman’s body really was soft.
But he quickly calmed himself down and said, “The voice seems to be coming from outside our camp.”
Piao Duandiao quickly rushed in to make a report.
“Reporting to the crown princess! We discovered a corpse outside.
It seems to be Bi Chang.”
His eyes moved to Zu An’s hand, which was holding Bi Linglong’s waist.
He immediately felt his scalp turn numb. What the heck is up with the crown princess Why isn’t she showing the slightest bit of resistance The crown prince is in the tent right next door! Are you two out of your minds!
Despite that, he didn’t really have a good opinion of the crown prince.
The guards all privately liked this beautiful and elegant crown princess more, feeling that the fact she was married to him was like a flower growing out of a pile of **.
But that ** is the crown prince! Don’t tell me the crown princess doesn’t know the consequences of doing this
Forget it, there are too many filthy things that happen in the royal family; what’s the big deal with this I’ll just pretend I didn’t see anything.
He had already talked it out with Jiao Sigun yesterday.
Whether it was because of their relationship with Zu An or because of their own interests, pretending they hadn’t seen anything was the best choice.
Otherwise, once this was uncovered, the crown princess and the Bi clan would easily be in danger.
Even if they were punished for that, out of consideration for the royal family, the emperor would very likely get rid of guards like them too.
In the end, they were just nobodies who didn’t have any control over their own fate.
That was why it would be best if they did their best not to get involved in things like this.
Bi Linglong quickly shifted to the side and naturally freed herself from Zu An’s hand.
However, her expression changed at once when she heard the name.
“What’s wrong” Zu An asked curiously.
The name seemed to belong to someone from the Bi clan. Don’t tell me it’s one of her relatives
Bi Linglong’s expression darkened as she replied, “The one I sent yesterday to report the situation to the entrance was Bi Chang!”
Zu An’s expression became grave as well.
The messenger they’d sent was actually dead
Bi Linglong clearly realized the implications as well.
A chill ran down her back.
Their group quickly arrived at the scene of the crime.
Zhao Xi and the others were already there.
They quickly greeted Bi Linglong when they saw the two arrive.
“We greet the crown princess.” As for Zu An, they ignored him.
Zu An calmly looked at the corpse, which was high up in the air.
It looked a bit familiar.
Sure enough, it was the messenger who had been sent previously to report back to the gate.
His body was impaled on a tree branch.
His face was warped, his eyeballs bulging outward.
Tears of blood slid down his face, and his corpse was deathly pale.
He looked like a ghost from a horror movie.
No wonder the one who had seen his body screamed so loudly.
“Who killed him!” Liu Xian exclaimed, his voice trembling.
He subconsciously moved closer to his cousin Gao Ying.
Meng Pan tapped his toes.
He leaped onto the branch, lithe as a swallow.
He examined the corpse and said gravely, “Judging from the color of the blood on his chest, this isn’t where the murder happened.
He was killed, and then placed here.”
Zu An was amazed when he saw the other person examine the corpse with a calm expression.
It seemed these young masters weren’t all good-for-nothing idiots.
No wonder they had been chosen to participate in this important mission.
They still had skill in their fields of specialty.
“What I’m more concerned about is why his corpse is here.
He went in the opposite direction yesterday, so he shouldn’t have appeared in front of us.” Zhao Xi immediately voiced what Zu An and the others were wondering.
“Could it be that he got lost Maybe he thought he was going back to the entrance, but he ended up going the wrong way” Pei You voiced his analysis.
“That’s impossible,” The Gu clan brothers both blurted out.
“These are scouts that were chosen carefully.
Their cultivation levels might not be the best, but they have a lot of experience in scouting and are individuals who survived countless battlefields.
How could he have possibly gotten lost”
Zhao Xi nodded and said, “Indeed, we didn’t see any maze-like terrain on our way here.”
“Then could it be a beast I heard there’s a type of Butcher Bird that loves to hang their prey on branches like this,” Liu Xian said.
Even though his cultivation was ordinary, he had read all sorts of random books.
Meng Pan shook his head.
“That’s not possible.
If it were a Butcher Bird, then his body would have signs of being punctured by sharp claws or a beak.
However, even though his body is quite heavily wounded, there aren’t any wounds like that.
Furthermore, I don’t see any mortal wounds on his body.”
“If there are no mortal wounds, then how did he die”
“Was it a ghost”
The place became filled with noise.
Those gathered all felt chills run down their backs.
Zu An spoke up.
“It’s not that there are no mortal wounds; it’s that his mortal wound was hidden.
I believe he had his meridians blasted apart.
The reason he’s impaled on the branch is to hide the wounds on his heart’s vessels.
The other wounds are merely a diversionary tactic.”
As someone who had served as an Embroidered Envoy, he at least had this amount of deduction ability.
Meng Pan was shocked.
He quickly examined the body again, saying, “Indeed, his heart vessels suffered severe damage.
It seems his life was taken by a single blow.”
The others were actually a bit amazed that Zu An wasn’t as incompetent as they thought.
They were all shocked when they heard those words.
“A single blow”
Bi Linglong said in a dismal tone, “Bi Chang was at the fifth rank, and he’s always been a sharp person.
Furthermore, he excelled at stealth and self-preservation.
Someone who could take his life in a single blow would have to be at least a rank higher than him.”
She had chosen Bi Chang because sending back a message was extremely important.
She hadn’t expected this to happen.
“Hm” The others’ expressions became extremely strange when they heard the crown princess’ analysis.
They were the only ones who were at the sixth rank in this mission.
Didn’t that mean the murderer was one of them
Bi Linglong keenly sensed the change in mood.
She continued, “Please don’t think random thoughts.
The murderer might be an outsider, or one of the indigenous people of this dungeon.”
“But according to our sources, there are no natives in this dungeon.
Furthermore, with Sir Bi and the others watching, there should be no way anyone from outside could have come in.” Zhao Xi showed a surprisingly meticulous side as he spoke.
Bi Linglong said, “Let’s not become overly suspicious when we don’t have any proof, to avoid sinking into internal strife.”
Pei You asked, “Then should we send someone else to report back on the situation I just feel as if something isn’t quite right.”
Bi Linglong gave him a deep look, and then she looked at Zu An.
“Sir Zu, what do you think”
Zu An knew that she was implying something.
She had always suspected the Pei clan’s motives, and she had mentioned her suspicion towards Pei You several times the previous night.
As such, he replied, “The other party deliberately left the victim’s corpse in such a horrifying state precisely to establish panic among us.
In the current situation, we have two choices.
We can either withdraw with most of our people, which would signify failure, or we can continue to send people back to make a report.
The latter will only further the enemy’s schemes, as the one hiding in the shadows can whittle down our strength bit by bit.”
“But if we don’t send the news back and something does end up happening to us here, then those outside will never know about what happened here.” Pei You frowned.
Zu An said, “You don’t need to worry about that.
Since the enemy chose this type of fear tactic to divide us, that means they aren’t strong to face us head-on.
That’s why they did something like this.
We just need to be more careful from here on out.”
The disturbance gradually calmed down when the others heard Zu An’s analysis.
Afterward, their group continued to advance, but their spirits were no longer as high as before.
All of them had grave expressions.
Thankfully, nothing else happened in the next few days, and the group gradually sighed in relief.
However, Zu An became more and more serious, because they had already entered the mountain’s depths.
They were getting closer and closer to the red-marked danger zone on the map Jiang Luofu had shown him.
As such, he began to change their itinerary to avoid those red areas as much as possible.
Since they made detours, they had to spend two to three days to reach places that normally would have taken half a day if they went in a straight line.
When had these young masters ever experienced such bitterness They all voiced their complaints along the way.
Quite a few of them went to the crown prince and princess to tell on Zu An.
The straightforward Zhao Xi asked in dissatisfaction, “Crown princess, isn’t Zu An making too much of a fuss”
“Exactly! He keeps saying that this place is dangerous, but have we encountered any danger along the way” Gu Xing added fuel to the flame.
“When will we find the Jade Moon Serpent if we keep making detours like this When will we be able to complete this mission” Meng Pan grumbled.
“Sigh, I miss the soft beds of the capital already… My back is starting to get stiff from sleeping in tents day after day,” Liu Xian said while massaging his shoulder.
“That’s enough; everyone needs to trust Sir Zu.
It's because he’s been leading us that we haven’t encountered any danger.” Bi Linglong did her best to appease everyone.
However, a change suddenly occurred in the situation.
The scouts they had sent out vanished!