The young man held back by Chen Er soon reappeared in their sight. Liu Changqing leaned out of the carriage window, looked for a while, and then turned to his only remaining henchman in the car. “Just that kid alone. If we join forces, do we have a chance to take him down?”
“No certainty,” Han Jiao replied on his behalf. “Master Liu, I’ll warn you one last time, don’t escalate this situation any further. Park the carriage now, and I’ll explain it for you. Go back and reassure your boss. I won’t investigate his affairs, and in the future, don’t provoke me.”
Liu Changqing turned to look at Han Jiao. “Are you still willing to help me explain?”
“If you die, your boss will be even more suspicious and will undoubtedly send others to deal with me. I hope for reconciliation in this matter. After all, it’s just a misunderstanding. Why make things worse? I’m saving your life, which is also proof of my sincerity. So, will you trust me now?”
“Master Han is benevolent.”
“Then stop the carriage immediately.”
Liu Changqing didn’t respond. Instead, he leaned out of the window and looked around for a long time. Only when the young man riding a horse approached within a mile did he instruct the coachman to stop the carriage.
Seeing the carriage not far away finally come to a halt, Xie Duo slowed down and prepared for the impending confrontation.
The Ninth Prince had no problem accomodating all his opponents inside the single carriage.
However, the middle-aged man in the carriage emerged, holding the little child prodigy hostage, and lifted the curtain.
Han Jiao, with a dagger at his throat, looked desperate and asked Liu Changqing behind him in a low voice, “With all this commotion, how can I help you cover up?”
Liu Changqing smirked coldly, “Don’t try to deceive me, Master Han. Chen Er just fought with that kid a moment ago. How could he have let us go? Aren’t you just trying to escape and trick me?”
Han Jiao wanted to respond but heard Liu Changqing suddenly shout, “Don’t come any closer!”
From a short distance away, Xie Duo dismounted and remained motionless, the arrogance and playfulness that were usually on his face were nowhere to be seen. He displayed a hint of unexpected confusion.
Xie Duo’s questioning tone was almost polite as he asked, “Why are you holding Master Han?” He hadn’t anticipated this group of people to threaten the life of the little child prodigy.
The big boss’ somewhat immature behavior was quite different from the boss who usually had everything under control in the novel.
Moreover, ever since the successive accidents, Han Jiao hadn’t heard Xie Duo call him “Master Han” for a long time. It seemed the boss was genuinely anxious.
“This is a personal dispute between me and Master Han,” Liu Changqing shouted, “Young Master, you have no grievances with us. Why are you chasing us so persistently?”
Xie Duo, being a youth of his age, didn’t act with a clear purpose like Han Jiao. Driven by hormones, he was chasing prey instinctively. He answered with an expressionless voice, “Because you’re running.”
To be honest, the faster the carriage fled, the more Xie Duo wanted to chase it, with saving the person being a secondary concern.
“What do you want, exactly?” Liu Changqing asked the young man across from him.
Xie Duo fell silent for a moment, seemingly regaining his composure. The look of confusion and helplessness vanished from his face as he casually asked, “Why did you capture Master Han?”
“He owes us a large sum of money!” Liu Changqing shouted.
Han Jiao hesitated for a moment, slightly turning his head to catch a glimpse of Liu Changqing’s expression, but he was promptly warned, “Don’t move if you don’t want to die.”
“How much does he owe you?” Xie Duo asked.
“Two hundred taels!” Liu Changqing replied firmly.
Xie Duo tilted his head. “You’re willing to go to great lengths for such a small amount of money? You’re planning to go down with him just because he’s in debt?”
“It’s not your money he owes, so, of course, you’re being magnanimous. If he refuses to pay his debt, his life should be the price!”
Xie Duo nodded and suddenly spoke with a relaxed tone, “Well then, go ahead and make your move. I’m in a hurry, and my food is getting cold.”
Liu Changqing was taken aback. “When did I say I would make a move against you?”
Xie Duo raised his hand and pointed at each of the three strangers in front of him, who were still alive. He said, “Kill him, and I’ll see to it that each and every one of you faces justice right here. It won’t be in vain that I chased you for miles.”
Liu Changqing: “……”
Han Jiao: “……”
There it was, the naturally dark side revealed. He had thought that the boss, who seemed not to have turned dark in his early stages, would kindly offer to pay the debt to save his life. But now, he was urging the others to kill him!
“Why aren’t you attacking yet?” Xie Duo casually took a step closer, approaching Liu Changqing step by step. Suddenly, he shouted, “Come on, make your move!”
Unprepared, the three people on the other side trembled with fear. Liu Changqing almost dropped his dagger.
Xie Duo thought Han Jiao might seize this opportunity to reclaim the blade and counterattack, but nothing happened.
Han Jiao was also taken aback. When he regained his composure, he found the boss looking at him with a disdainful expression. He couldn’t fathom what was on the boss’ mind.
“Don’t come any closer!” Liu Changqing exerted force on his hand, and a trickle of blood appeared on Han Jiao’s neck.
Xie Duo halted once again.
When Liu Changqing mentioned the debt, he hoped to make the young man have a change of heart.
As long as the young man offered to pay Han Jiao’s debt, they would have a reason to negotiate and find a resolution.
He didn’t expect the youngster to act against common sense. He actually urged him to take action.
Liu Changqing had to speak up, “I don’t want his life either. If you’re his friend and pay off his debt, I can let him go.”
Xie Duo: “I’m not his friend.”
Han Jiao: “……”
“Then why did you chase us all the way here?”
“I told you, because you’re running.”
Liu Changqing found it nearly impossible to communicate with this young man, so he tried to find a way out for himself. “You don’t seem to be short of this money, right? Don’t you want to save his life?”
“I don’t have cash on me,” Xie Duo said truthfully. “I only have a silver note.”
Liu Changqing was ready to accept any amount and asked eagerly, “How many taels is the silver note?”
“Five hundred taels.”
“But you just said you didn’t have any money!”
“He only owes you two hundred taels. Do you have cash to pay me?”
Liu Changqing: “……” Indeed, he didn’t have it. If he had known, he would have said five hundred taels earlier.
Han Jiao had nothing more to say. The boss was truly a boss. Even in a life-or-death situation, he was thinking so carefully not to let the bad guys gain an inch.
“Are you really willing to let him die after chasing all this way?” Liu Changqing was desperate. Making further concessions would surely raise suspicions. He could only hope for the conscience of the little devil across from him.
Xie Duo fell silent for a moment, lowered his head, unclasped the jade pendant from his waist, and held it in his hand, swinging it. “This jade pendant is worth a hundred and twenty taels. If you…”
“Deal!” Liu Changqing finally found a way out and hurriedly said, “One hand pays the money, the other hands over the person. We can’t beat you, so be cautious. Hang the jade pendant on that tree branch first!”
Xie Duo was impatient. “Do you doubt my word?”
“No, I’m just being cautious. You hang the jade pendant, and we’ll hand over this person.”
“Fine, I’ll go.” Xie Duo didn’t expect them to really act. He raised his hand to signal for peace, then obediently walked to the tree he had pointed to.
As he reached out to hang the jade pendant on the tree branch, he suddenly heard a rattling sound around him. Thinking the other side might be tricking him, he turned to face the potential threat. But then he heard a metallic clink under his feet. He was surprised to find that his left ankle was caught in a chain.
Seeing the young man falling into their ambush, Liu Changqing finally breathed a sigh of relief. He turned to command his subordinates, “Quick, get up!”
Han Jiao, who had just regained his composure, shouted loudly, “Are you insane? He already let you go! What more do you want to do?”
Liu Changqing sneered but didn’t respond.
He had already figured out that this exceptional martial artist might be a prince of Great Chu. Offending one meant he would never have a peaceful life again.
When he ordered the coachman to stop the carriage, he had already made up his mind to kill this young man. He led the young prince into the trap set by the Ministry of Justice all along the way. His goal was to silence this little prince. After working in the Ministry of Justice for so many years, he knew how to stage a crime scene, and putting all the blame on Han Jiao wouldn’t be difficult.
At this moment, no more words were needed. His henchman drew his waist knives and aimed directly for the prince’s vital points!
Both Han Jiao and Liu Changqing couldn’t see clearly how the two sides clashed. They only heard the heavy thud as the henchman fell, while Xie Duo remained unscathed, still standing by the tree.
Han Jiao breathed a sigh of relief.
The boss was merely trapped, not incapacitated. This surnamed Liu was incredibly foolish to think that trapping Xie Duo with a chain would lead to a reversal.
Liu Changqing had completely lost his composure. He shouted at Han Jiao in fury, “I’ll slaughter you!”
“What!” Han Jiao hurriedly shouted, “It was his men who attacked you, why would you kill me?”
Xie Duo shot an icy glare at the ungrateful child prodigy.
This shout brought Liu Changqing to his senses. He turned and shouted to the remaining coachman behind them, “Quick, unhitch one of the horses and go buy a bow and arrows from the street!”
The coachman obeyed the order and rushed off.
Han Jiao panicked. He couldn’t win a close combat with this guy. Was he trying to play dirty?
Xie Duo wasn’t carrying any weapons. How would he block the arrows?
Han Jiao looked at the boss with concern. Xie Duo was observing the chain on his ankle, shaking his foot to see if he could break free.
Liu Changqing sneered, “Don’t waste your effort. This chain is a special design from the Ministry of Justice. See how it fits your size perfectly!”
Xie Duo raised his head to glare at him but noticed that Han Jiao was frantically blinking at him, silently forming words with his mouth.
Xie Duo remained composed and asked Liu Changqing, “Do you know who I am?”
Liu Changqing coldly snorted, “You’re just another dragon and phoenix offspring of Great Chu.”
“But I don’t know who you are.” Xie Duo’s words surprised him. “If you leave now, maybe I won’t bother investigating your identity. If you dare shoot an arrow at me, I can use the arrow to pry open this chain.”
Liu Changqing hesitated, seemingly intimidated by the young man’s sly and resolute gaze. He started to doubt whether the bow and arrow could really harm him.
After a moment of hesitation, he gathered his courage and scolded, “Facing death, you brat…”
Before he could finish his sentence, the hand holding the dagger was suddenly twisted by someone!
Han Jiao seized the perfect moment when Liu Changqing was distracted and went all-in!
He forcefully twisted Liu Changqing’s wrist, reversing the blade towards Liu Changqing’s neck!
The dagger barely broke the skin, and the instinct for survival made Liu Changqing roar and yank his hand back, forcefully pushing Han Jiao away!
Han Jiao retreated a few steps before regaining his footing.
The two of them stood three paces apart, silently locked in a standoff, ready to strike.
Han Mo, lying in the carriage, had lost the strength to cry, but now, seeing his brother’s bleeding hand, he struggled and whimpered.
Han Jiao clenched his fist in response to his brother’s sounds.
Liu Changqing, with the dagger in hand, closed in step by step.
Han Jiao took a deep breath and gently called out, “A’Mo, close your eyes. Big Brother will take you home in a moment!”