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86 Three people go in, two come ou

    A chill crept down her spine and she immediately rounds up everyone, demanding to know who had entered before.

    But there was no definitive answer. It was as though it had appeared out of nowhere on its own.

    In the end, madam Lu was unable to get her answer.

    ~

    Walking down the streets and past dark alleyways, everything was going on as per usual, a frown appeared on Xue'er's face. It was the most important day of the year, yet these people could not even decide to take a break from what they were doing.

    Truly, even a town in the middle of nowhere like this, there was still those working in this trade, was there even a place that is deemed safe in the entirety of the kingdoms?

    As she walked down the path, the footsteps of strangers could be heard closely behind her. The very unorganized sounds, but she could tell that there were people after her. The original group of five people separated into a group of two and three, the group of two followed her while the group of three went off in another direction.

    The sense of danger in the air was feeling restless.

    She narrowed her eyes and continued at her normal pace, a smirk appeared as she went down a dark and obsolete path, away from the sounds of grander celebration.

    [I wasn't ready then, but I am now.]

    The two people following were aware of the sudden change in direction but decided that a place with fewer people the better, no one would be able to hear the girl's shrieks as they knocked her out.

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    Xue'er walked on a while before she disappeared into the darkness. The footsteps that were far behind hurriedly ran up, only to meet a dead end in the narrow alleyway.

    "Where did she go?" A man asked in the shadows.

    "I don't know, she was here a few moments ago." The other person muttered as he tried to figure out how a person dressed completely in red could disappear from under their sight, one had to know, this wasn't their first or second time tailing a person. They could be considered experts when it came to this trade.

    Xue'er from above the roof tiles could see their befuddled expressions as they looked at the cracked and poorly maintained wall, looking for any possible place for a girl of eight or nine years of age to hide.

    Within her sleeves, she carefully takes out her little red worm that had returned a while back, she couldn't explain it, but there was an unspoken connection between them now, and she felt that it would listen to her every command.

    Her lips moved closer whispering something to it, and it blinked as though it had understood her wish, and flew off into the night towards the two people who were searching for her.

    They saw nothing coming as they felt a sharp pain on their necks before everything blacked out for them.

    Seeing the two people unconscious, Xue'er came out from her hiding spot and checked each person's pulse. She discovered that there was nothing unusual with the pulse except for a slightly unsteady beat that pulsated every now and then, a normal physician would not have noticed such a thing, but she knew that this would make all the difference in assuring that what was in their bodies remained undetected.

    As Xue'er prepared to leave this alleyway, she could hear the sound of a person sighing with heavy breath behind her, purposefully wanting her to detect him. Without even needing to turn around towards the roof tiles, she already knew who it was.

    "Gan Tian Chi..." Xue'er also gave a loud sigh. After disappearing for a few months at a time, he finally reappears as though nothing happened.

    "Xue'er." He answers as he comes down next to her. Not in a way of gliding elegance, but like a flash of lightning appearing out of nowhere.

    She saw that he was dressed in a crimson red robe, with his face as usual such that no one would be able to tell his age. His hair was also similarly tied up with a crimson hair tie, with its ends dangling at the base of his neck, seemingly flowing with the wind. It was the new year after all.

    "So you decided to come after all." She questions him, "Or are you doing something and happened to pass by?" Her tone was not filled with the respect she had given him when she believed him to be her guardian, nevertheless, it was still as respectful as she would treat anyone else.

    "You didn't want me to come? But it's the new year." Gan Tian Chi asks, seeming hurt by the fact that she did not want to come. He sees the two men who were rendered unconscious, and out of curiosity bends over to check on them.

    "You know, it is unlucky to cause bloodshed during the new year." Gan Tian Chi gives her a smile as his hand reaches for the pulse.

    "There was no blood, and they did not die." Xue'er looks at him with an innocent look. To which she was met by his gaze that could seemingly draw out the truth from all living creatures.

    "Yet." She added and looked down onto the ground.

    "Who angered our little Xue'er?" He asks as lifted out a coarse cloth sleeve and took a look at the person's skin, which had started to become pale with a slightly darkened hue. It seemed as though their demise was looming over them.

    Xue'er did not answer, as she knew he had already drawn his conclusion. He did not seem angry at all as he pulled the sleeve back down back to its original place such that no one would ever know that it had been touched.

    The two left the dark alleyway, not caring the slightest for the people who were unconscious within. As Xue'er followed Gan Tian Chi, she carefully observed his face that was wearing a smile. He did not overreact with righteousness as he saw the people laying there, knowing that it was her great work that led them there in the first place.

    Did this mean he was okay with it or was it that he did not care about it at all? Both answers were very plausible. In the end, she could not conclude which it was, but she knew that there was a huge gap between the two.

    Okay with it meant that he would mean that he could tolerate her actions, assuming that she would not cross the unknown territory of his bottom line. While not caring meant that she could do whatever she wants without caring how he thought of her.

    [Just which was it?] Xue'er looked at Gan Tian Chi's side profile, to see his calm face, that never gave away what he was truly feeling.

    Little did he know that as she was having this crisis in thought, he was having the same.
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