10 Chapter 10: A coin encumbers the hero
Previously, the stout man had said that Lei Min would be eagerly expecting her. But now looking at it, Ji Fengyan didn't feel that optimistic.
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The two maids stared with sharp gazes–almost sharp enough to pare away Ji Fengyan's skin.
On one side, the stout man was still quarreling with the two sentries. On the other side, the two maids had finished surveying Ji Fengyan. The two turned and left without a word.
"Miss, why don't we wait a little longer?" the stout man said. "Lei Xu is occupied and can't come. Maybe young master Lei Min-"
"Hahahaha." His words were cut short by Ji Fengyan's laughter, and she said with a radiant smile, "There's no need to go to all that trouble."
Then she respectfully addressed the sentries, "We'll have to trouble you two to lead us into the city."
She reckoned, she could wait out here till her body withered to ash. And that guy still wouldn't come.
The stout man was slightly taken aback, and wanted to say something. But upon seeing Ji Fengyan's face all smiles, he didn't manage to say anything in the end.
The two sentries saw Ji Fengyan's "accommodating" attitude and promptly nodded their heads in satisfaction. They then led her group into the city.
Ji City wasn't large. It didn't take a great deal of effort for the sentries to lead them to the gates of a courtyard manor. But once the group stood directly outside the decrepit doors, the bodyguards' hearts plummeted into the abyss.
"The governor's palace is currently lodging the esteemed guests," the two sentries said respectfully. "The governor said that because of Ji City's size and it's lack of financial resources, we'll have to inconvenience you and have you temporarily reside here."
Then before Ji Fengyang could even respond, the sentries left without notice.
The travel-worn bodyguards stood stiff in place. The only evidence of their choked back tears were their swollen red eyes.
"What are you all standing there for? Go into your rooms," Ji Fengyan said, still beaming.
Seeing Ji Fengyan's smile, the bodyguards all lowered their heads. Their hearts panged, as if soaked in acrid medicine.
The supposed joy of moving away from the wretched Ji family was engagingly absent. There wasn't the least bit excitement. The bodyguards entered the decrepit courtyard with a heavy feeling, and didn't peep a sound. The aged doors to the main entrance creaked when they pushed them open, and every step brought a whirling swell of dust from beneath their feet. Inside the courtyard manor, they saw a ramshackle landscape—paint-chipped pillars, verdant weeds sprouting through flagstone crevices, and the courtyard veiled in interlaced cobwebs.
"Miss, please rest first," the stout man said with a deep breath. "We'll clean up."
Ji Fengyan casually took a seat on the nearby stone steps. She waved her hand and said, "No rush… Oh right, I still don't know your name."
The stout man was slightly taken aback, and awkwardly scratched his head. He said, "Your liege is Ling Hè."
"Then what about I just call you Brother Hè," Ji Fengyan said smiling. Hè, as in crane? She liked this name!
Ling He's face flushed and could only nod his head in response.
"Brother He, do we have money?" Ji Fengyan suddenly said.
Ling He stiffened and his flush immediately dissipated, replaced by a nasty expression. After Ji Fengyan's father's death, His Imperial Highness had once decreed that men and armor be delivered, alongside a sizable trove of gold coins. But Ji Fengyan never saw a single cent of that money. Her family had plundered it all.
During the journey, Ling He and the other bodyguards had mustered all the coin they could to pay down the expenditures, and had just barely skirted by. That money was long gone. And now …they didn't even have a copper penny.
Ling He's ashen face turned pig liver's crimson.