Chapter 69: Visiting family (10)
Security around the imperial palace was even tighter after nightfall.
Di Lin rounded the outside of the imperial palace quite a few times without managing to find a breakthrough point.
When he was on his second round, Hydin, who had been waiting on the spot, finally couldn’t stop himself from grabbing hold of him. He asked helplessly, “What are you searching for?”
“The back door,” Di Lin replied. “The imperial palace definitely doesn’t only have a main entrance.”
“Follow me,” Hydin turned and went back the route they came.
Di Lin followed behind him doubtfully. He had just come from that area, since when was there a door?
In a familiar manner, Hydin turned into a pavement that appeared very narrow. Immediately, someone could be heard shouting. “Who’s there?”
Di Lin’s heart tensed. He quickened his pace and rushed forward, only to see Hydin standing with his back to him. Three guards lay on the floor.
“You… are you okay?” He had originally wanted to ask ‘what did you do to them’, but the words unexpectedly changed when they were on the tip of his tongue, resulting in this nonsensical question. He was inwardly annoyed. Given Hydin’s personality, it was a matter of course that he would jeer at him mercilessly.
But unexpectedly, not only did Hydin not mock him, he answered very seriously. “I’m fine.”
“That’s good,” Di Lin heaved a sigh of relief. He crouched and felt the guards’ heartbeats. After confirming that they had merely fainted, he took the chance to walk ahead.
Hydin didn’t mind him snatching the chance to go first and leisurely followed after him.
The design of Langzan’s imperial palace was very odd; a long meandering and circuitous path had actually been arranged in front of the door.
Di Lin made yet another turn and heard an angry yell from ahead. “Who exactly are you guys? Why did you sneakily burst into the imperial palace?”
Di Lin inwardly uttered an exclamation of dismay. Other than the three guards whom Hydin had knocked out, they hadn’t encountered anyone else along the way. It looked like this long path was the odd one. Since they had already been found, there was naturally no reason to be secretive. He walked out in a natural manner.
Several rays of sword light streaked across his face.
Di Lin lowered his head, his gaze meeting the edge of the blade that was practically pressed against his neck. He smiled and said, “I’m here to see Ning Ya.”
“Nonsense! If you want to see Prince Ning Ya, why do you need to come so furtively?” The person questioning them was a middle-aged man with a lanky figure. It was clear from his pimple-dotted face despite being at the age of thirty or forty that this person got angry very frequently.
Di Lin explained amiably, “I requested to see him during the day. You guys said that he would come at night, but he didn’t.”
The middle-aged man said in anger, “The prince definitely has his reasons for not coming. That isn’t a reason for you to charge into the imperial palace in the middle of the night!”
Di Lin stated, “I also have my reasons for wanting to see Ning Ya. We’ll be going to Dabei city early next morning; I must see him before we set off.”
“Do you think you can still go to Dabei city?” The middle-aged man looked icily at him. “The offence of charging into the imperial palace at night is enough to let you spend the rest of your life in prison.”
Di Lin was born into nobility and was naturally aware of the heavy offence that was entering the imperial palace at night. He felt guilty, and for a moment, didn’t know how to explain. He had acted on a moment of impulse in his desire to see Ning Ya and hadn’t expected for things to end up this way. Moreover, his identity was a sensitive one – not only was Saint Padeus’ Institution linked to him, Shamanril had even greater links to him. If a confrontation between these three powers were to result because of this incident, he wouldn’t be able to bear the consequences.
“Since that’s the case,” Hydin finally walked out from behind Di Lin. “If there is no imperial palace or prison, then your words would no longer hold true.”
The middle-aged man made out the threat in his words and his gaze turned as frigid and severe as a knife. “You dare!”
Hydin ignored him and spoke as if he was minding his own business. “The imperial palace is right in front anyway…”
“Tutor,” Di Lin thickened his skin and tugged lightly on his sleeve. He took a step forward and said calmly, “I was rude for rushing into the imperial palace in the middle of the night, but I genuinely did it for Ning Ya’s sake. You’ll know whether this is true or false as long as you let me meet him.”
There was a slight change in the middle-aged man’s expression.
The guards in front and behind him suddenly parted, forming a path.
The middle-aged man hurriedly turned back and caught sight of a middle-aged man in a king’s gown slowly walking towards them.
“Your Majesty!” The middle-aged man greeted respectfully as he made way for the king.
Langzan’s king nodded slightly, his eyes landing fixedly on Di Lin’s face. “Ning Ya went to Dabei city.”
Di Lin stared blankly. “When?” If he had gone there much earlier, why didn’t he inform him earlier on?
The king of Langzan seemed to have perceived his question and explained. “He has a secret mission to carry out. Don’t speak of it to others if you’re going there as well.”
Di Lin felt somewhat relieved. Immediately after, he asked in surprise, “Your Majesty believes me?”
“You’re Di Lin, no?” A faint trace of a smile appeared on the king’s exhausted face. “I’ve heard him mention you before.”
Di Lin was now completely at ease. He said hurriedly, “We were too lacking in manners tonight.” He wanted to say more, but the king merely gave a perfunctory nod and turned, heading back. It could be assumed that the matter regarding the East Rose Desert had already worn his heart out; he didn’t have the energy to deal with him.
Hearing that the king was not going to look into the matter, the middle-aged man hatefully spouted a string of warnings before letting it pass.
On the way back, Di Lin still felt an incessant vexation over his lack of courtesy. If not for Ning Ya mentioning him in the past and the king of Langzan not being willing to pursue it, tonight’s matter would have become a problem between countries if it wasn’t dealt with well.
“There’s something strange about that corridor,” The problem Hydin was considering was clearly entirely different from his.
Di Lin commented, “Maybe there’s an alarm there.”
“Not an alarm,” Hydin had already figured out the crux of the matter. “It’s a magic array that projects the scene in the area into a crystal ball, allowing the guards in the palace to know the movements outside just by looking into the crystal ball.”
Di Lin hadn’t thought to this level and exclaimed in admiration, “I didn’t expect Langzan’s imperial palace to be guarded so strictly.” He took a few steps forward, and then realized that Hydin wasn’t following him. He couldn’t help stopping in astonishment and turning to look at him. “What’s wrong?”
“It should be very interesting to break this sort of tight security,” Hydin’s eyes glowed with interest, so much so that it was about to overflow.
Shocked, Di Lin uttered, “We were just caught in the act!”
“So they won’t think that we’ll immediately return.”
“Ning Ya isn’t in Xiaobei city; we don’t have any reason to be there.”
Hydin stared at him, a slightly alluring look in his azure eyes. He said softly, “There is.”
Seeing his determination, Di Lin’s mind spun in an attempt to think up all sorts of methods to stop him.
Hydin added, “Relax. We won’t be caught by them this time.” They had been too careless the previous time by actually wandering in. This time, they had to use wind magic. Even if they had a hundred pairs of eyes on the crystal ball, they wouldn’t be able to catch even a glimpse of their shadows.
Di Lin took a deep breath. “If we’re discovered again, they will definitely turn hostile.” They would be deemed unrepentant and having deliberately violated the laws – at that time, the situation would become much more severe.
“I’ve already made up my mind, so,” Hydin shook a finger. “You don’t have to encourage me anymore.”
Encourage? He was clearly persuading him from doing it. Di Lin replied, “We’re here to help Langzan.”
“Yes. We’ll inspect their security at the same time.”
“But…” Di Lin hadn’t finished speaking when he was dragged into Hydin’s arms and then directly rushed into the imperial palace in a gust of wind.
In the end, Di Lin was a youth. He couldn’t be indifferent to praise or insult no matter how mature he was. Ever since he was capable of sensing the wind elements, he did feel some measure of self-satisfaction deep in his heart, though he didn’t express anything outwardly. But this time, after witnessing Hydin’s wind magic again, that bit of self-satisfaction transformed into shame.
Being able to sense wind elements and actually making use of wind magic were two different matters.
Whether it was Hydin or Vincent, they were perhaps unable to sense the wind elements, but through their control of fire and water elements, they were able to manifest wind magic that was far stronger than his.
In the end, what determined a mage’s strength was their grasp and control of magic, and not their sensitivity to the elements.
Thinking of this, he couldn’t help but secretly curb the pride that had been nurtured over this period of time and re-adjust his mentality.
“We’re here,” Hydin released him.
The wind rubbing against the sides of his cheeks vanished abruptly. The scraping of the wind against Di Lin’s ice-cold face caused heat to rise up, warming him in an instant. He glanced around their surroundings guardedly. This was already the inside of the imperial palace. From the decorations nearby, this should be a place akin to a parlor. Hydin’s guess was not wrong. The other party indeed hadn’t thought that they would return; the security on the inside was very relaxed.
“Since we’ve successfully broken through, let’s leave,” Di Lin spoke in a low voice.
“Don’t you want to see the crystal ball?” Hydin asked.
Di Lin didn’t hesitate. “No.” The only thing he wanted to do now was to sneak out of this place that invited trouble in as hush-hush a manner as possible.
Hydin raised a brow, seemingly having anticipated his answer. “It seems you don’t have any interest in anything without that friend of yours.”
Di Lin thought that there was something strange about this statement, but he had already grown used to being mocked so he didn’t think too deeply about it. “I’m a member of Shamanril’s Basco clan after all. If I’m caught by them again, it’ll definitely arouse suspicion and discontentment with Shamanril. It’s even possible that conflict may arise between them.”
“Oh. Let’s leave then,” Hydin said.
Di Lin adjusted his posture. He waited for a while without seeing any movement from Hydin and couldn’t help turning to look at him.
Hydin had spread out both arms slightly, his position entirely like that of waiting to be hugged. “Let’s go?”
“Me?” Di Lin’s expression tightened. If this were ordinary times, he would never miss such an opportunity to practice. However, he didn’t dare to take the risk now.
“As the tutor, giving my own student homework is only right,” Hydin beamed from ear to ear.
Di Lin gritted his teeth and stretched out his arms, voluntarily hugging him.
Being hugged and actively doing the hugging felt completely different. At least, Di Lin couldn’t tell at all that Hydin’s waist was so slender when he was being hugged. His arms tightened and he took in a deep breath, shutting his eyes. A while later, his eyes suddenly opened.
A gust of wind blew past. There was not a soul in sight in the parlor.
Di Lin didn’t know the slowest speed the crystal ball could pick up. But from the still-quiet imperial palace in the distance, it was certain that he had passed.
“Phew,” He heaved a sigh of relief, gradually calming his rapidly thumping heart.
Hydin tilted his body sideways and glanced at him, his gaze deep.
He was actually able to increase his speed by nearly one-fold in such a short span of time… It appeared that forcibly putting one in a dangerous situation was indeed a shortcut.
“Tutor, can we go back now?” Helplessness colored Di Lin’s tone of voice.
“Your performance just now was very good.” I hope there will be more brilliant displays in the future. Hydin smiled meaningfully and turned to walk towards the guesthouse.
Just now, was he praising him?
Di Lin fell into a daze for a moment before moving to catch up to him.