Xiao Lou also wanted to leave the palace. If he stayed in the palace, he would be easily monitored by the emperor. There were also assassins of unknown origin staring at him and restrictions on the use of cards in the palace. It was difficult for him and Yu Hanjiang to find clues in the palace and it was absolutely impossible for the emperor to keep clues related to the clone in the palace.
Judging from the clues obtained by his teammates, the current focus was Lin Yan’s mother, Zhang Shaohua. She was a participant of the Noah’s Ark project and a well-known dean at the Academy of Sciences. She would definitely know many secrets. There was also the cash left by Shao Qingge’s father and the lost memories of Lu Jiuchuan and Tang Ci.
These things could only be properly investigated after leaving the palace. However, with the identity of the crown prince, it wasn’t so easy for Xiao Lou to leave.
Yu Hanjiang told him, “The emperor definitely won’t let you go out. If you directly tell him you want to leave, he won’t agree. So there is only one way: escape the palace.”
Xiao Lou walked to the window and looked down at the guards patrolling the palace. He couldn’t help frowning. “I’ve sneaked out with you a few times but it was controlled to within two hours. This is why the emperor didn’t discover it. If we run away directly, the emperor will send someone to chase after us. Won’t that be inviting trouble?”
Xiao Lou might not necessarily die if he stayed in the palace but once he ran away, it was indeed possible for the emperor to kill him.
If he and Yu Hanjiang stayed in the palace to act, Brother Jiu and the others would be outside investigating. Xiao Lou wouldn’t be at ease and would always be afraid of his teammates encountering danger. Besides, four people were missing and this was a knot in Xiao Lou’s heart. Xiao Lou couldn’t sleep peacefully if he didn’t know their whereabouts.
After thinking about it, Xiao Lou made a straightforward decision. “We can’t run away rashly. We must make a complete plan. First, gather all the team members in the peach blossom spring and discuss countermeasures.”
Yu Hanjiang also agreed and got up. “Come on, I’ll take you out of the palace.”
In order to prevent Spirit Fox from filming them while monitoring the Twin Palaces, Yu Hanjiang simply shut down the smart mecha. Xiao Lou put on the uniform of the royal guards and left the palace with Yu Hanjiang. They went and found a place where no one was present to open the peach blossom spring.
Soon, the team members gathered under the peach blossom trees and Ye Qi also carried in a silver safe.
Tang Ci was now able to stand. Everyone was very surprised seeing him walking slowly rather than being in a wheelchair. Ye Qi excitedly looked him up and down and blurted out, “Mr Tang is so tall…”
Previously, Tang Ci had been sitting in a wheelchair so it wasn’t known how tall he was. Now that he could stand, they discovered that his height was around 1.8 meters, which was half a head taller than Ye Qi. He wore black military pants that were appropriately tailored and a pair of matching military boots that lined his straight and slender legs. He was very beautiful.
Shao Qingge saw Ye Qi looking up at Tang Ci and couldn’t help chuckling. “Don’t look. You are the shortest.”
Ye Qi expressed his dissatisfaction. “I am young. I can still grow taller, okay?”
Shao Qingge gently patted him on the head. “You have to recognize reality. It’s fine to be shorter. It is more suitable with your baby face. Imagine if you are 1.88 meters tall and have a baby face. Wouldn’t it be scary?”
Ye Qi, “……”
Shao Qingge always teased Ye Qi who was absolutely unable to say anything in return. Xiao Lou smiled as he glanced at Ye Qi’s baby face before walking in front of Shao Qingge and speaking sternly, “This is the safe your father left for you?”
Tang Ci also looked down at the silver cabinet. “What is inside?”
Shao Qingge opened the cabinet and pointed to the cash inside. “He left a box of banknotes. The banknotes are arranged strangely and the missing banknotes in each row happen to form exactly eight digits, 29750715. It is very similar to the date of your birth.”
Xiao Lou’s birthday was indeed this day. It couldn’t be a coincidence.
Lu Jiuchuan touched his chin. “Is this the date when the Noah’s Ark project started?”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “I think so too. Still, leaving a date doesn’t mean anything. We have to dig for more clues.” He glanced at Ye Qi. “You haven’t moved these banknotes?”
Ye Qi hurriedly shook his head. “In order to not destroy the clue in the safe, I used the teleportation card to bring it directly. Nothing inside was moved.”
Xiao Lou took a step back and examined the safe.
There were eight rows and the bundles of banknotes were arranged neatly. The vacant places indeed formed 29750715. He tried to take out the first bundle, untying the white straps and carefully counting it.
There were 100 banknotes in one stack. The face value of each banknote was 1000 star coins so it added up to 100,000 star coins.
There were 9 stacks in each row for a total of 900,000 star coins. The cabinet had eight rows so the total value of banknotes in this safe was 8 x 9 = 7.2 million star coins.
Xiao Lou was thoughtful. “If I remember correctly, Chief Shao’s father was a well-known wealthy businessman in the empire. He left a safe for his son, only putting in 7.2 million in cash inside and leaving vacant spots to indicate a date… this is too unreasonable.”
He spent a lot of time arranging a box of banknotes, only to leave a date? Why didn’t he simply send a short message to Shao Qingge that said, ‘Remember the crown prince’s birthday?’
The crown prince’s birthday was known by anyone in the empire. Why use so many banknotes to form a birthday? Shao Qingge’s father must not be so simple. The cash must have other clues.
Yu Hanjiang wondered, “What does 7.2 million mean?”
Xiao Lou shook his head. “I don’t know. Well, we can think about this matter later in the future. First, let’s discuss how to escape.” He turned to Lu Jiuchuan. “Brother Jiu, has the military assigned you a new task?”
Lu Jiuchuan answered, “After returning to the Capital Star, I went to see my immediate superior, General Lin. He said that we were attacked in the Hilt No Man’s Land and suffered heavy casualties, so we should rest on the Capital Star. In particular, Tang Ci lost his legs in this accident so he told me to take good care of Tang Ci. He gave us a week of vacation.”
Tang Ci added, “Brother Jiu and I have been staying at home these days and haven’t gone to the military headquarters. We are indeed on vacation.”
Yu Hanjiang frowned with displeasure. “On the surface, General Lin gave you a holiday and let you stay on Capital Star but in fact, he doesn’t want you to leave and investigate this matter, right?”
Lu Jiuchuan looked serious. “Right. Therefore, Tang Ci and I can’t enter the warship of the Arrow Corps or leave Capital Star without permission from our superiors in the military. We will be blocked at the space station.”
Xiao Lou naturally couldn’t leave either. The space station of Capital Star was similar to the international airport during the Earth age. It had the most stringent security inspections. All spacecrafts, warships and suspension vehicles that came or went needed an ‘Entry and Exit Permit’. Xiao Lou was the crown prince, Yu Hanjiang was the captain of the royal guards and Lu Jiuchuan and Tang Ci were forced to take a holiday by the military. None of them could leave.
Xiao Lou suggested, “There is a way to deal with the security inspection. We can hide collectively and avoid the security inspection of the space station. Or we can let one or two people leave the space station through the security check first. Then they will collectively pull us over with the peach blossom spring.”
Lu Jiuchuan’s eyes lit up. “It makes sense!”
Tang Ci spoke calmly, “I am more inclined to use the peach blossom spring for teleportation. The cloak just hides the body and doesn’t turn us into air. The security inspection might have high-tech things like electromagnetic induction or thermal sensing. The body would be invisible but human metabolism can’t be blocked. If there is a high-tech scanning device, we will be detected and intercepted.”
Xiao Lou agreed. “Then use the peach blossom spring for teleportation. We can have someone pass the security check and leave the space station first before using the peach blossom spring to pull us over…” He glanced at Shao Qingge. “At present, only Chief Shao and Xiao Ye can enter and leave the space station at will, right?”
For the others, their identity as a guard, prince or member of the military was the focus of attention. If stopped at the space station, it would be over. Qu Wanyue would also find it hard to apply for a pass when going out. Meanwhile, Shao Qingge was the boss of a company and could go to other planets without restrictions in the name of a business trip or tourism.
Everyone’s eyes turned to Chief Shao.
Shao Qingge simply answered, “Yes, leave this matter to me. I have just been to Southern Cross to pick up Ye Qi. The expiration date of my permit has passed but it isn’t difficult to apply for a new one. My son is on summer vacation and I want to take him on a trip. This is enough for a reason.”
Xiao Lou wondered, “Do you need to take an interstellar spacecraft to leave Capital Star?”
Shao Qingge nodded. “Of course, private suspension vehicles can only fly on a planet and don’t have the ability to sail across the stars. Brother Jiu’s warship can’t be used so we can only take the interstellar passenger spacecraft. Tickets for the spacecraft should be easy to buy but I need to know the destination. Where should we go first?”
Xiao Lou opened the interstellar navigation map and looked at the blue planets that had human inhabitants in front of him.
Suddenly, a memory flashed in his mind…
There was a beautiful, young woman dressed in a luxurious white wedding dress while walking across the palace’s long, red carpet. His memory of this woman’s appearance was vague but he clearly remembered her gentle voice that spoke in his ear, “Xiao Lou, your sister is getting married and going to a far away place. You have to take care of yourself and grow up quickly. If there’s an opportunity in the future, be sure to visit me sometime.”
This seemed to be the last thing she said to Xiao Lou.
Xiao Lou frowned slightly. “The Azure Empire in the Aquarius star field. My sister is over there.”
Lu Jiuchuan and Tang Ci exchanged looks and the other said, “Princess Xiao Rou? I have no impression of this person. I only heard that she is married to a prince of the Azure Empire and the wedding was a grand affair.”
Yu Hanjiang carefully recalled it. “I don’t have any memory of her in my mind. Maybe it is because she is older than us. We were all children when she got married. Xiao Lou, what do you remember?”
Xiao Lou shook his head. “I don’t remember what she looks like. I only remember her walking through the palace in her wedding dress and saying in my ear that she was getting married and going far away. If there is a chance in the future, I should go see her.” Xiao Lou paused for a moment. “Since the keeper arranged an older sister for me, she shouldn’t be useless, right? I have a hunch that she might know something.”
The team members felt the same way.
It didn’t matter if Xiao Lou’s sister had clues about the clones or not. It was necessary for them to meet her.
Shao Qingge said, “Then we will go to the Azure Empire. I’ll go back and book the tickets.”
Xiao Lou handed the Tao Yuanming card to Shao Qingge. “I have to trouble Chief Shao to spend 5 million to copy this card. We can leave the Capital Star by teleportation. If you go back to Capital Star in the future, you might need to use this card as well.” He looked at Long Sen and Qu Wanyue. “Teacher Qu, Lin Yan’s side…”
Qu Wanyue readily answered, “I understand what Professor Xiao means. Not all of us can leave the Capital Star. I’ll follow the clues regarding Lin Yan. I’m her dance teacher and she isn’t on guard against me.”
Xiao Lou warned, “Be careful. If you are in danger then withdraw directly.”
Qu Wanyue smiled. “Rest assured. I have the Chameleon card. Escaping isn’t a problem.”
Long Sen added, “Then I will continue to stay with the emperor and watch the other clones? If something happens in the palace I’ll be able to inform you in time.”
Xiao Lou nodded. “That’s it. Remember, pretend you don’t know anything about the clones and don’t expose yourself.”
Long Sen and Qu Wanyue nodded cautiously.
Shao Qingge completed the copy of Tao Yuanming and Xiao Lou passed the card to Qu Wanyue. He told her that if they were intercepted on the way, she could open the teleportation.
The other card was temporarily handed to Shao Qingge. He would board the spacecraft before teleporting them over.
Once this was all set up, they left the peach blossom spring and returned to their respective residences.
Xiao Lou felt uneasy. Today, he suddenly remembered the scene when his sister was getting married. For some reason, he might not remember her appearance but he could clearly feel that the back of the woman wearing a wedding dress had a strange sense of loneliness and sadness.
Was it because she was leaving her home or was she aware of something?
Xiao Lou checked the information. The year that the princess got married happened to be when he was five years old.
He lost too many memories of that year so there was only a vague image of his sister getting married in his mind. There was the blue sky, the white clouds, the red carpet that went on for kilometers and the back of the woman wearing the white wedding dress.
Xiao Lou held his pained temples and whispered, “I hope everything goes well. I have to find a way to meet my sister.”
Proofreader: Fictional Reality & Paranoid Kitten