184 Chapter 184 I’m Back!
When Lin Xulian arrived in the palace, she immediately went to the main hall where the King usually stays. But the moment she opened the door, she found it empty. The palace doesn't have a stand by guards unlike other countries' palaces. The guards are mostly from the Hu clan and their task is to protect the King alone. Hence, she has no one to ask about the King's whereabouts.Seeing that the main hall is empty, Lin Xulian decided to try and search on the living quarters. It is situated behind the palace. The courtyards have the same decorations and layouts as the manors in other countries. They are made with red woods and clay bricks. The only difference is the high stone wall enclosing the courtyards.From the palace's main hall, Lin Xulian needed to pass an arching bridge to cross a man-made lotus pond with colorful and large koi fish. Then cross a beautiful garden filled with different colors of chrysanthemums. Her great granduncle said that it was his late wife's favorite flower.In the center of the garden, there is a large pavilion where the King usually have his afternoon tea or his late night wine drinking either alone or with Clan Head Hu Min. And right at this moment, Lin Xulian found the King in the pavilion. Only this time he is not alone. There are four other men in the pavilion. Three of them is sitting together with king while clan head Hu stood guard behind the king.Lin Xulian recognized the two as her father Lin Xu and brother Lin Huang. As for the other one, she had no idea. But she can't help but appreciate his handsome and gentle looking face. However, she can also tell that the man is stronger that he appears to be. Especially because he was able to notice her despite all her effort to conceal her presence to surprise her father.Luckily for her, aside from the unknown man who appears to notice her intention, the others are too engrossed with their conversation so they failed to detect her presence. Another reason is because she has no ill intention to begin with. So Lin Xulian stealthily moved towards her father's back then she pounced and wrapped her arms around his shoulders. "Father, I'm back!"Pleasantly surprised by Lin Xulian's sudden arrival, her father, brother and great granduncle rose from their seat. Her father immediately hugged his only and beloved daughter. "Lian'er! You're finally back! I heard from your great granduncle that you went ahead and endangered yourself without our consent! I know you are capable but it won't hurt you to inform your family first, would it? What am I to you, ah?!" Lin Xu scolded and blamed his daughter. But Lin Xulian felt her heart warmed up."You would allow me anyway. I don't have much time to spare father. You know how impatient I can be. And as you said, I am capable." Lin Xulian defended herself like a spoiled child while looking up to her father with a cute and haughty expression.The king Lin Ziuzhong also stepped forward. Lin Xulian then left her father's arms and faced her great granduncle with a warm smile. If not for his guidance, she won't be able to succeed and grow from the ritual so she is thankful to him. He then lovingly pats her head and gave her the best smile he could muster with his deadpan face. "You exceeded my expectation. I am proud of you.""I still have a lot to learn from great granduncle." Lin Xulian humbly smiled towards her great granduncle. Her eyes also brimmed with determination."*cough *cough" Right at that moment, the ignored big brother Lin Huang interrupted to get his beloved sister's attention. Lin Xulian raised her eyebrows at him seeing him childishly pouting with his arms crossed. Only Lin Xulian can bring out this childish side of his overprotective brother. Even his own wife can only make him smile and show a gentle gaze at most.Lin Xulian braced herself for a series of scolding and nagging from her brother. For outsiders, they would never guess that her seemingly cold and unfazed big brother Huang is actually a huge nagger. Even worse than her mother. But contrary to her expectation, he only flicked her forehead lightly in a doting way."I want to chew you out but that can wait. Mother misses you so much so you better see her first then wait for my scolding later." Lin Huang said sternly. Then his gaze shifted into a relieved and proud one. "I'm glad you made it back, Lian'er. And you became much stronger.""Not as strong as you though. How unfair was that? I can see you didn't wait idly in the past year." Observing her brother, Lin Xulian tried to estimate his strength. But she realized that she can't figure it out. This proves that he is much stronger than her still."I'm your elder brother. It would be unreasonable if your elder brother doesn't have enough strength to protect you." Lin Huang stated in a matter of fact.Out in the corner of Lin Xulian sight, she noticed the unknown man approaching them with a warm smile. "Lian'er, I hope you don't mind me calling you that. Your father, brother and great granduncle kept calling you that and it rubbed on me. I'm Lin Yihan, your father's cousin." Lin Yihan introduced himself with a genuine gentle smile.Lin Xulian observed the man who introduced himself as her uncle. Then she looked at her father and great granduncle's tall and bulky stature. Then back at his tall yet lean one. The contrast is really astounding. Her eyes sparkled in appreciation. "I never knew I have a handsome uncle. Lian'er can see that uncle must look more like his mother." Lin Xulian openly stated in a carefree manner.Lin Yihan can't help but smile with Lin Xulian's dandy attitude. He can tell that she is the type of woman who always bring sunshine to anyone. No wonder his disciple, Feng Jun Yi, became fond of her. But the problem is how to figure out what had happened between her and his disciple without divulging his relationship with Feng Jun Yi.Not long later, everyone in the palace learned the good news of Lin Xulian's return. Her mother Yang Hua hugged her and cried for a very long time. Even Yin Mei teared up seeing Lin Xulian after several years of not seeing each other. After all, she took care of her from the first day of her marriage. She already considered her as her younger sister even before she got together with Lin Huang.In celebration, the palace abruptly held a banquet. Lin Xulian then discovered that not only her brother and father, even her mother, sister-in-law and the members of Lin Mercenary Clan became powerful after a year of staying in the Qiangdu country. She also finally met her now two-year-old nephew Lin Haoyi who became attached to her at first sight and kept calling her wife.On the other hand, Lin Xulian was constantly nervous and uneasy ever since she faced her family. Her heart is on her throat every time they ask her anything. But unexpectedly, they never asked her about the reason why she run away from the palace.Lin Xulian then thought that maybe Hu Hai already told them about the Gu poison in her body and her quest to find the cure. She also noticed that her parents and clan head Gu Lingdao are already acquainted. It is safe to assume that he already gave them an explanation, that included her conflict with the Xing siblings and her revenge.Coincidentally, Lin Xulian really doesn't want to tell them anything. She knows her mother can tell if she's lying or hiding something. And she doesn't want to tell them about the misunderstanding and conflict between her and Feng Jun Yi before she left. In fact, she doesn't want to think about it anymore. She already decided to move forward after her revenge is done.