Lin Xulian slumped in frustration and defeat after walking for another day. All the relief and happiness she felt when she exited the forest a few days ago already waned to nothing. To her surprise, at the end of the path she could already see the wall surrounding the whole Qiangdu country. She thought finding the entrance should be a piece of cake. But it is already her second day walking around the wall to no avail.
"AAAAAAHHH! Seriously?! Where is that damned entrance?!" Lin Xulian screamed while looking up at the imposing wall in front of her. For her calling it a wall is an understatement. It is so high that she can't leap over it even after using her qigong. And for some reason her body feels heavy whenever she is in close contact with it. She can't help but wonder what it's made of.
"Hey Fei! You were born in this country right? Can't you remember where the entrance is?" Lin Xulian asked her red bird. Fei gave a nonchalant screech and continue stuffing itself with the black berries that they found growing around the walls. Lin Xulian cannot blame Fei because he was just a little chick when he was brought to the Gonglu country. No wonder he can't remember anything about the Qiangdu.
Suddenly, while Lin Xulian is gnawing her portion of the berries, a part of the wall lit up. She grabbed Fei by its neck and hid behind the bushes. Not long later that portion of the wall formed a hallow passage and a man came out. Then the wall restored itself in a blink of an eye. Lin Xulian's eyes widened and she wasn't able to hold back a gasp.
The man who just came out from the wall paused. Seeing this, Lin Xulian's heart almost stopped and tried to hide her presence even more, if that's even possible. After checking the surroundings for the nth time, the man eventually left. Lin Xulian heaved a sigh of relief knowing that she was lucky enough to escape from danger.
After the man left, Lin Xulian didn't came out of her hiding spot right away. She waited for some time, maybe almost an hour, before deciding to approach the portion of the wall where the man came out to make sure that he won't return. "Fei, keep distance from me once we enter the wall. They probably know that the Gonglu country's empress, me, owns a bird like you. We cannot risk my identity being found out."
Lin Xulian inspected that part of the wall. But to her disappointment, she found nothing special about it. It looked just like any other part of the wall. "There is nothing here. How did he open it?!" In her frustration, Lin Xulian kicked the wall several times until she got tired. At loss on what to do, Lin Xulian crossed her arms and slumped back on the ground while leaning on the wall.
She racked her brain and thought of any other possible reason why the man was able to pass through the wall. Then she remembered Xing Guang's words. "I have never been and tried to enter the Qiangdu country but my mother told me that I should learn to condense and release my internal energy."
She also remembered how Hu Hai would pester her big brother Huang to visit the Qiangdu country after he mastered how to release internal energy. "Why have I not thought about that?! How could I be so stupid?!"
Lin Xulian immediately stood up and dust off the dirt from her red male robes. Her face became serious then she closed her eyes to properly feel the circulation of internal energy throughout her body. Then she condensed it in her palms that are touching the wall. Not long later, that portion of the wall lit up then formed a hallow path.
Bathing in her success, Lin Xulian immediately entered the passage then raised her both fists and jumped around in celebration. "Finally!"
But her celebratory mood dampened when she noticed a metal chain that unknowingly wrapped around her body. All the hair in her body also stood up when she suddenly heard a mellow and threatening voice. "Well congratulations. And thank you for entering. You gave me the right to capture you, young man."
Lin Xulian, although is having difficulty, tried to look behind to see who caught her. She is also surprised because she wasn't able to feel his presence, not to mention his attack.
The man is a handsome young man who looked like he is in his early twenties or late teens. He is also the man who came out of the wall earlier. But Lin Xulian remembered envoy Hu and told herself not to be fooled by the citizens of Qiangdu country especially their age. She also noticed the mole under his right eye and subconsciously remembered the eldest prince Xing Guang.
"Tell me who you are and why did you sneak and enter the country?" The man asked while gradually pulling her closer. Then his brows knitted when he noticed something. "You are infected with a Gu poison? It's dormant but alive."
Lin Xulian's eyes widened and her hope ignited. "You can tell?! Are you a member of the Gu clan?"
The man's eyes narrowed. "What if I am, what if I am not?"
Lin Xulian wasn't affected with his threatening gaze and smiled ear to ear at him. "I am here to ask for your clan's help to cure the Gu poison inside me. Can you take me to your clan head?"
But the man only replied her with silence. "Look, I am way weaker than you. I am not a threat." Still silence. Lin Xulian sighed in defeat and compromised. "You can keep me bounded. You can even blindfold me or even get me unconscious. Anything as long as you let me meet with your clan head."