When it is almost dinner time, Yin Mei went back to the garden to fetch Lin Xulian. But she found the garden empty. She encircled the garden while calling out to the empress to make sure that she is not just hiding and trying to startle her. Then she found a patch of grass with multiple stomp of footprints. She doesn't need to be an expert to know that something might have happened there and the footprints is a sign of struggle. Her mind hen went back to their conversation that afternoon about the Jianghu. In her mind she though 'She was calm and confident earlier. I thought she can handle it alone and can fight them off? Look at what had happen now! I will give her a good nagging after the emperor bring her back!'
Yin Mei immediately panicked and rushed to the Dragon Palace where the emperor resides to report about the incident. But since she is a servant and a woman at that, the imperial guards refused to let her in that easily. She had to wait for the eunuch to come back from the emperor's study who reported her request for audience. She became conflicted if she should inform the guards about the empress's abduction so that they would let her in easily. But being abducted for a woman means ruining her reputation and purity. Being a woman is too complicated.
While she is still contemplating on what to do, the eunuch returned with a pale frightened face and informed her to go in. He even said that she should hurry up or the emperor might go on a rampage. He doesn't know what happened but he found the emperor reading a letter with a frightening look. When he said that the empress's servant came to see him, he stood abruptly and roared at him to hurry and let her in. The eunuch almost tripped and stumble in a rush.
Yin Mei entered the imperial study and she found the emperor with a grim face. If her report is not that urgent, she would not choose this time to break the news. The emperor looked like he is dealing with a huge problem. She can't imagine what would happen if she told him that the empress is missing. But she had to bite the bullet and deliver the report. "Y-your majesty, t-the empress is missing. She said she wanted to be alone in the imperial garden until dinner. But when this servant went to fetch her majesty, she is already gone."
After her report, as expected the emperor's anger rose to a whole new level. But before the emperor snap, Yin Mei kotowed and asked for forgiveness and set aside the empress's instruction. "Please forgive this servant your majesty. It was the people from Jianghu who did this. The empress said I should not tell your majesty since you'll know anyway. I thought she said that because she can handle it. B-but…. It's my fault your majesty." Yin Mei can't help but cry in both worry and regret.
She thought that the emperor will get angry and punish her, but contrary to her expectation the emperor seems to calm down. "You mean the empress knew about this all along?" Feng Jun Yi said puzzled. Lin Xulian never told him that this might happen beforehand.
Hearing his calm response, Yin Mei looked at him in confusion but still replied truthfully. "Yes your majesty. She noticed them for quite some time now. But she said not to worry and let them be. Also master Rui is with her all the time."
Feng Jun Yi massaged his temples and thought. 'She's playing again. She should have told me about her plans. Now I don't know whether I should make a move or not.' Feng Jun Yi can't help but feel defeated. Sometimes he felt like he's not needed by her at all. The only thing he can offer her is his money. As an emperor he finds it convenient but as a man it is a huge attack to his ego.
Yin Mei then remembered Lin Xulian's instruction earlier. "Your majesty, the empress said that if something happens to her, you should bring as much witness as possible."
"Witness?" Feng Jun Yi thought about it then re-read the crumpled letter in his hand. The letter said that he should go to the second prince's hidden courtyard in the woods alone. The one where they found Lin Xulian the last time she was abducted. He was thinking of going alone because he doesn't want to ruin Lin Xulian's reputation by letting others know that she was abducted. But she is asking for witness herself. He's not sure whether she was aware of its effect to her reputation or not. Well, he can't ruin her game anyway so he could only follow her instruction.
Feng Jun Yi is deep in his thought while Yin Mei is still kneeling on the floor until they heard a commotion outside the imperial study. Then without a warning, the door opened and a poker faced Lin Huang entered the door with a group of eunuch and imperial guards following him, or more like trying to stop him but failed miserably.
When Lin Huang entered the study, the first thing he noticed is the kneeling Yin Mei. His eyebrows knitted and walked towards her to lift her up. Yin Mei is caught off guard with Lin Huang's gesture and blushed uncontrollably. He then faced Feng Jun Yi. "You shouldn't make a woman kneel. I don't know why Lian'er chose to marry you."
Feng Jun Yi's mouth twitched and thought. 'As if you are not one to talk.' "You are surprisingly calm."
"She's my sister and I trained her. I know her abilities better than anyone else." Lin Huang said nonchalantly. "Are you ready? Let's go. Lian'er is waiting."
Feng Jun Yi thought about it. He can bring as much imperial guards as he wants but he chose to bring his hidden guards and some of the Phoenix palace imperial guards. He will also bring Minister Xia to give him a warning. Maybe even his brothers. Then he thought about someone. "Lian'er told me to call some people over. We can't disappoint her, don't we?"
In the fifth prince's manor, Feng Jun Yun received a report that the emperor is calling for him to go to the second prince's hidden courtyard in the woods. Although the second prince thought that his courtyard is well hidden, his brothers knew about it through their own method. Feng Jun Yun is puzzled why the emperor wants him to go there. He doesn't really care about what his elder brother wants to do but he also cannot turn down the emperor's instruction. He would just come along and do nothing. Even if the emperor will kill the second prince in front of him, he won't even bat an eye. He would only see it as an advantage. At least his stupid brother can't bring him down along with him in the future.