Chapter 8
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The fourth prince never thought he would reunite with the girl, whom he had accidentally caught a glimpse of half a month ago, under such circumstances. When the girl rushed into his room in a panic, she, too, appeared surprised when she saw him.

Regardless, it would seem that the girl had found herself in some trouble.

The fourth prince refused to believe that the girl originated from a place like a brothel. If that was the case, there was no way she could afford to ride in that luxurious carriage and possess such outstanding appearance and temperament. Not to mention, the person following behind the girl definitely wasn't someone who came from a brothel.

Ning Qinghuan, the daughter of General Ning.

Although the fourth prince rarely interacted with Ning Qinghuan, he remembered what she looked like.

Meanwhile, when Ning Qinghuan saw the person in the room, she sighed in relief. She also couldn't help but admire her little cousin's luck. After all, the random room her cousin chose had led to them coming across someone extraordinary.

"Who are you people?"

The woman playing the zither stopped her actions, a frown forming on her face as she looked at the two young intruders.

"We are in a bit of a bind. Can you consider helping us, Big Brother?" Ning Qinghuan asked. She wasn't sure if the fourth prince had revealed his identity to the brothel, so she chose to vaguely address him to avoid accidentally exposing his cover.

"Certainly. What seems to be the problem?" the fourth prince nonchalantly asked. Then, he sent a sharp glance at the procuress standing behind the two girls.

The procuress was a quick-witted woman. She instantly understood what would happen next after seeing the fourth prince's reaction.

"Our establishment bought these two girls only recently. If you like them, feel free to take them away. It's just that, the silver we paid…"

The procuress wore a fawning smile as she spoke, her words conveying her desire to avoid making a loss.

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If the two girls in question were just ordinary girls with beautiful appearances, the fourth prince would've paid to free them from the brothel without hesitation and simply think of it as doing a good deed. However, the two girls before him were not your average peasant girl. While he didn't know the identity of one of them, the other one was… Suffice to say, the procuress should thank her lucky stars if she wasn't asked to pay for compensation, let alone ask for compensation.

"Do you know who they are? Even if they placed their money in your hands, you wouldn't dare accept it. If they didn't barge into my room tonight, the day their families find them is the day this place gets demolished," the fourth prince said, chuckling.

"A misunderstanding, a misunderstanding. This is a misunderstanding. Young ladies, please have a seat."

The procuress bowed to Ning Qinghuan and Jun Zizhu as quickly as possible. She knew that the young man occupying this room was a distinguished guest. Though, exactly what the young man's identity was, she didn't know. All she knew was that the young man was a VIP in the capital.

Since the VIP had already said that her establishment couldn't afford to offend these two young ladies, she naturally wouldn't continue seeking trouble. She still wished to continue living, after all.

At this time, the fourth prince set down his cup and looked at the procuress, saying, "That won't be necessary. I'll be leaving with these two young ladies right away lest their families get worried and start looking for them. Do you mind leading us to the rear exit, Madam?"

The procuress hurriedly nodded and started leading the way.

Ning Qinghuan and Jun Zishu followed the fourth prince and walked through the hustle and bustle without attracting any attention. Then, they quietly left the brothel through the rear courtyard.

"I will remember the favor you've done me today, Your Highness. If there comes a time where you need my help, feel free to find me. However, I must make it clear first that I will not do anything treacherous."

"Don't worry about it; I barely had to lift a finger. Anyway, it is getting very late already. I will send you two off to avoid any more unnecessary danger."

"Thank you." Ning Qinghuan accepted the offer without hesitation and pleasantries.

Meanwhile, Jun Zishu was doing her best to shrink her presence to create more opportunities for Ning Qinghuan to interact with the fourth prince.

I think I handled things beautifully this time, Little Fairy.

[I agree! Not only did you deepen your relationship with the mission target, but you even got the fourth prince and the mission target to meet!]

At this time, the fourth prince suddenly looked toward Jun Zishu and asked, "May I know who this young lady is?"

Huh? I get a scene as well? Jun Zishu was surprised by the fourth prince's question.

"She's Wan'er, my younger cousin," Ning Qinghuan curtly introduced Jun Zishu. She didn't even bother revealing Jun Zishu's surname. After all, they weren't particularly familiar with the fourth prince. If she didn't want even her close friends to know too much about Jun Zishu, there was no way she would be willing to let the fourth prince know about her cousin, either.

"So it's Little Sister Wan'er. I'm sure you know of my identity already. My name is Liang Yingcheng. You can call me Big Brother Yingcheng. Big Brother Four is also fine," the fourth prince said before winking at Jun Zishu.

Jun Zishu's heart shuddered, and a bad feeling welled up within her.

"Thank you for saving us tonight, Big Brother Four," Jun Zishu said with a smile. Inwardly, though, she was crying.

Little Fairy, why do I get the feeling that this fourth prince is interested in me? Or is it just a misconception?

[Host, based on my calm analysis, I think that the fourth prince seems more interested in you than he is interested in the mission target.]

Don't panic. Stay calm. We're still young, anyway. I'll work hard to push our relationship into the sibling route.

Meanwhile, Ning Qinghuan grew upset. She questioned the minds of the people around her. Why was everyone going Little Sister Wan'er this, Little Wan'er that? Did they not have their own little sisters?

The guy in front of them was even worse! He had the audacity to have her little cousin call him Big Brother Yingcheng or Big Brother Four! Ptui! Scoundrel! Frivolous bastard!

Neither Jun Zishu nor Ning Qinghuan wanted to continue their conversation with the fourth prince. So, after walking to a safe location, they quickly bid goodbye to the fourth prince and scurried away.

The fourth prince simply smiled at the two girls' abrupt departure. Seeing as the other party didn't wish for him to continue sending them off, he started making his way back to the brothel. While he was walking through an alley, he spotted a jade pendant on the ground.

When the fourth prince picked up the pendant, he found the word "Ning(宁)" carved on the front and the word "Wan(婉)" carved on the back.

It went without saying who the pendant's owner was. After pondering for a moment, the fourth prince pocketed the pendant and continued on his way.

While running back home with Ning Qinghuan, Jun Zishu suddenly thought of the pendant she deliberately dropped. The pendant was something Ning Qinghuan gifted her, and it even had special engravings on it.

"What's wrong?" Ning Qinghuan asked when she saw Jun Zishu suddenly stopping.

"I dropped my pendant just now as a clue for our rescuers. But now that we are saved, that pendant should still be at that place."

"Should we head back to look for it?"

Is my pendant still there, Little Fairy?

[The fourth prince picked it up already. It is currently inside his pocket.]

Mmmmm… I have a bad feeling about this.

[It's fine, Host. It doesn't matter even if the fourth prince is interested in you. The mission target doesn't have to marry him, in any case.]

I guess you're right.

The mission didn't require Ning Qinghuan to marry into the imperial family. The only problem with Ning Qinghuan not marrying into the imperial family was that the emperor would grow worried.

If Jun Zishu were to be honest, the fight for the throne was a huge annoyance. If possible, she wanted Ning Qinghuan to marry into love and live a happy life instead of becoming a bargaining chip.

"Nevermind. It's just a pendant. Once someone picks it up tomorrow, that person would probably return the pendant in exchange for a reward. Not to mention, if we head back now, what would we do if we come across another incident like before?"

"I guess you're right," Ning Qinghuan said, nodding.

Shortly afterward, the two arrived outside the Ning manor's walls. Then, after helping Jun Zishu climb up the wall, Ning Qinghuan followed after her.

However, just as they were about to enter Ning Qinghuan's courtyard, they came across Madam Ning and a group of maids at the courtyard entrance.

"Uh… Mother…"

Ning Qinghuan instantly knew that her mother had discovered her little trip outside the manor. After all, she had left for such a long period, so it was within her expectations to get caught.

"So you still remember to come home? Why can't you behave more like a proper girl? You even brought Wan'er out with you this time! Can't you be more considerate of her body? What if something happens to her?"

Madam Ning was furious. She also had a headache when she thought about her daughter's actions.

"I was wrong, I was wrong. But look, Mother, didn't I bring Wan'er back with me?"

"Auntie, I was the one who pestered Big Sister to bring me with her."

When subjected to both Ning Qinghuan's and Jun Zishu's fawning words, Madam Ning's anger quickly subsided.

"No more next time. Hurry up and go wash up. Also, Qinghuan, stay in the courtyard and copy the Lesson for Women for the next three days. Do you hear me?"

"I know, Mother. Wan'er and I will take our leave now," Ning Qinghuan said, nodding before pulling Jun Zishu back to her courtyard. Then, after returning to her room together with Jun Zishu, Ning Qinghuan said to Shaoyao, "I'll be bathing with Wan'er today."

Shaoyao heeded the command and promptly left to instruct the other maids to prepare a bath for two.

Jun Zishu didn't have any opinions about Ning Qinghuan's decision, either. After all, the fact that Ning Qinghuan was willing to share a bath with her showed that they shared a good relationship.

"You didn't have to say that to my mother just now."

While soaked in the hot bath, Ning Qinghuan scooped up a flower petal with her hands.

"I had a lot of fun with Big Sister tonight. Although an unexpected incident happened partway through, fortunately, we managed to get back safely. Looking back at it now, don't you think that the events that happened tonight were pretty interesting, Big Sister?"

Jun Zishu lifted her long hair and drenched her shoulders with hot water.

The splashing water parted the flower petals covering the surface, and Jun Zishu accidentally saw the scene in the water. Despite both of them being 13 years old, her cousin had already begun developing a small mound while she remained a flat-chested loli. Seeing this difference, Jun Zishu couldn't help but lament the difference between people.

"I was really frightened back then. I would've never forgiven myself if something happened to you."

Ning Qinghuan leaned forward into Jun Zishu's body, her hands that were underwater wrapping around Jun Zishu's back.

"Everything's fine now," Jun Zishu said in a soothing voice while gently stroking Ning Qinghuan's long hair.

Ning Qinghuan shut her eyes and embraced Jun Zishu even tighter.

Ning Qinghuan felt that she might be sick. Or maybe it was because of all the excitement she experienced before.

Even though the voice entering her ears belonged to her little cousin, it was gradually extended into a different tone. Then, the voice overlapped with one of her memories.

"Don't fall asleep here, Big Sister. You'll catch a cold."

When Jun Zishu saw that Ning Qinghuan was lying motionlessly on her body, she thought the little girl had fallen asleep.

Ning Qinghuan snapped out of her reverie and quickly splashed her face with some hot water.

"What's wrong, Big Sister? Are you feeling unwell?"

"No, I'm just a little tired.'

Ning Qinghuan felt that she must be tired and that everything would be alright after a good night's rest.

"Let's get out, then. I'm also feeling a little tired."

"How about sleeping with me tonight, Little Wan'er? You can save the effort of going back to your room."