The situation was urgent and time was running out. Thus, Gui Yuanzhang and Mo Xuemin quickly discussed countermeasures before returning to the merpeople’s palace. From the outside, the palace was shaped like a giant ‘jellyfish’. There were countless small shell-shaped buildings and these buildings were connected by transparent ribbons.
Mo Xuemin still didn’t understand what technology was used in the building of the palace. It was stably suspended in the sea without falling or floating. It seemed to be fixed there by a magical force.
The merpeople had lived in this area for generations. Initially after entering the secret room, Gui Yuanzhang and Old Mo weren’t used to the sudden growth of a tail. After several days of adaptation, they could now skillfully swim at a very fast speed of 200 km/hour in the deep sea.
In a flash, they came to the entrance of the merpeople’s palace.
Due to the existence of the invisibility cloak they were using, the guards at the entrance didn’t see them. Gui Yuanzhang dragged Old Mo into the palace and quickly moved through the long corridor.
Meanwhile, Old Mo recalled the map of the palace.
Over the past few days, in addition to following ‘Xiao Lou’ to investigate the case, he had spent the rest of the time wandering around the palace. Unfortunately, the labyrinth was too large and he had little time to act alone each day. At present, he had only explored half of the west side of the labyrinth.
The labyrinth had a feature. There was a room at the end of each forked road. From the clues that Old Mo currently had, there were 180 rooms in this half area of the west side of the labyrinth.
There were so many rooms. Where would Liu Qiao be kept?
Old Mo said, “We only have two hours and it will take too long to check all the rooms one by one.” He glanced at Gui Yuanzhang. “Should we go to Xiao Liu’s residence first? What if she was knocked out and kept in her room?”
Gui Yuanzhang nodded. “Let’s go.”
Liu Qiao was unconscious and the possibility of her remaining in her residence couldn’t be completely ruled out.
As the princess, Liu Qiao lived in the largest building on the west side of the palace. The shape was a pink shell and it was very recognizable.
Old Mo and Gui Yuanzhang often came here to find Liu Qiao so they were very familiar with the road. They soon came to Liu Qiao’s residence based on their memory.
There were also guards at the door of the princess’ residence. Gui Yuanzhang and Mo Xuemin moved around to the side window and quickly entered through it.
On the table in the living room was a plate of delicate pastries that were Liu Qiao’s favorite snack.
The merpeople’s food in the deep sea was mainly composed of algae, small fish and shrimp. This snack was seaweed-based and the crystal clear green snacks were neatly placed on the plate. Only the middle was missing a piece. It should have been eaten by her.
These snacks were likely to be tampered with. Who brought it? The clone version of Xiao Lou who came here just now?
Gui Yuanzhang’s expression changed as he quickly walked to the door of the bedroom. He pushed open the door with his left hand while holding the brush with his right hand, ready to attack if the clone version of Xiao Lou was present.
However, the room was empty. There were no traces of a struggle and even the bed was neat and tidy.
Gui Yuanzhang walked around the room and concluded, “It is possible that Liu Qiao ate the drugged food brought by Xiao Lou or the other person controlled her using a method we don’t know. Liu Qiao suddenly lost consciousness and didn’t resist at all.”
Old Mo wondered, “Is there a place for the merpeople to lock up prisoners? Will Xiao Liu be locked up?”
Gui Yuanzhang shook his head. “The merpeople’s jail is far away. I remember it was in the deepest part of the sea and is so dark that no trace of light can be seen. It is like hell. Liu Qiao has only been unconscious for a few minutes. If Xiao Lou took her to the deep sea to lock her up, there would be no time to go back and capture me. Liu Qiao should still be in the palace.”
Old Mo thought about it carefully. “The west side of the palace is full of merpeople living there. Liu Qiao is the princess after all. It is easy to be discovered if she is taken away. Isn’t it more likely that she was taken to the east side?”
“There are more members of the royal family living in the east side…” Gui Yuanzhang spoke up to here before frowning. “Will he bring Liu Qiao to his residence?”
“It is possible!” Old Mo exclaimed. “This fake Xiao Lou is the prince of the merpeople. Even if he is seen bringing his sister to his residence, it won’t arouse suspicion. Besides, it is his place and he can watch Liu Qiao at any time.”
“Quickly go and look.”
The two of them sped toward the prince’s residence.
The palace complex was complicated but Old Mo had once gone to Xiao Lou’s bedroom two days ago to discuss the case. He had a strong sense of direction and would never get lost if he had been to a place once.
There was Old Mo as the guide. Gui Yuanzhang followed him and they reached the door of a blue building in the east within 10 minutes.
The place where Xiao Lou lived was very magnificent. The blue building looked like a huge starfish and there were many guards lined up in rows at the entrance.
Gui Yuanzhang waved the brush in his hand. Wind blew and the seawater in the palace was blown violently. A whirlpool soon formed not far away.
The guards’ expressions changed and the tallest captain said, “How can there be a whirlpool here? A few of you come with me to take a look.”
Gui Yuanzhang and Mo Xuemin took the opportunity to sneak into the palace.
A few days ago, everyone had gathered here to analyze the case but they hadn’t explored the surrounding halls at all. Based on the starfish-like architectural appearance, it could be speculated that the palace had a total of five halls. Gui Yuanzhang suggested, “We will look through it one by one.”
Five halls wasn’t a lot but it caused Gui Yuanzhang and Mo Xuemin to become a bit dizzy.
It was because the layout of these five halls were exactly the same and they connected to each other. In addition, Xiao Lou’s building seemed to be able to rotate. Every time they entered a side hall and came out, the direction would change. It was easy to make them think, ‘Have we been here before?’
Gui Yuanzhang simply took out the Four-way Arrow to mark the entrance of the halls where they had been so they didn’t enter them again.
The two men moved through four side halls but no traces of Liu Qiao were found.
The moment they entered the fifth hall, the voice of the guard captain was heard from outside. “His Highness is back.”
Gui Yuanzhang and Mo Xuemin’s hearts tensed. They hurried to collect the arrow marks at the entrance of the four halls and rushed into the last hall.
The layout here was the same as the other places. The two people quickly walked into the bedroom and took a closer look.
On the wide shell bed, Liu Qiao lay quietly inside. She was as pale as paper and her eyes were closed.
Gui Yuanzhang strode to the bed, reached out his hand and tested Liu Qiao’s breathing.
Her breathing was normal. It seemed she had just lost consciousness.
Old Mo also came over. He searched through Liu Qiao’s pocket and touched a familiar thing. “Her card pack is still here.”
Gui Yuanzhang hurriedly said, “Put her on your back and let’s go!”
Outside the door, Xiao Lou’s voice was heard. “I just went out. Has anyone come to see me?”
The guard answered, “No… by the way, just now a strange whirlpool appeared! When we went to check it, the whirlpool disappeared. I don’t know what happened.”
Xiao Lou laughed. “The occasional whirlpool might be related to the crustal movement of the sea floor. Don’t care about it.”
Then he pushed open the door and entered the fifth hall.
The oversized shell bed that was nearly three meters wide was empty. Liu Qiao was gone.
Xiao Lou squinted slightly as he stared thoughtfully at the open window next to him.
Gui Yuanzhang and Mo Xuemin’s hearts were beating very fast. At almost the moment Xiao Lou pushed open the door, they jumped out the window. Mo Xuemin found the invisibility cloak from Liu Qiao’s card pack, covered Liu Qiao and placed her on his back. Senior Gui quickly drew the wind with his brush.
Inside the palace, everyone must walk on legs and there were too many forks in the corridor. There were obstacles everywhere so it wasn’t convenient to show their tails and swim quickly. Fortunately, Old Gui’s brush could control the air and water currents and current direction. Using the brush, the two of them fled the palace quickly with Liu Qiao on their backs.
The merpeople could swim freely in the vast sea outside the palace.
Mo Xuemin and Gui Yuanzhang’s legs became long tails in the sea. Every time their tails swung, they could swim hundreds of meters in an instant.
Within 10 minutes, the two people swam out to the sea.
In the distance, a broken ship was lit up with a soft light and a few shadows could be seen faintly.
The two of them immediately recognized it as the light from the Night Pearl.
Old Mo was happy as he swam toward the broken boat with Liu Qiao on his back. Gui Yuanzhang took out the Night Pearl card and lit up the nearby sea.
Xiao Lou saw the familiar light and shouted, “Is it Senior Gui?”
Gui Yuanzhang said, “Yes, we have left the palace with Liu Qiao. He will soon find that Liu Qiao is missing.”
Xiao Lou was a bit surprised. Didn’t they rescue Liu Qiao too smoothly?
Still, time was running out and he had no time to think about it. Shao Qingge carefully confirmed the authenticity of Senior Gui and nodded to Xiao Lou. Xiao Lou was relieved and asked, “Are Xiao Liu’s cards still there?”
Gui Yuanzhang nodded. “All of them are present. Are you going to dive into the deep sea now? Or should we discuss our plans first?”
They wouldn’t necessarily benefit by rushing into the sea. Xiao Lou said, “Since Xiao Liu has been rescued, let’s discuss what to do next.”
Gui Yuanzhang thought about it carefully. “I’ll take you to a deserted island far away from where the merpeople live. I accidentally found it many years ago when I went out with the elders of the merpeople. It should be safer. In addition, Liu Qiao’s card can only transform you once a day. You have to adapt to the abilities of the merpeople as soon as possible.”
Xiao Lou nodded, “Okay, please lead the way. We will first change into merpeople and adapt to the environment of the sea.”
Gui Yuanzhang took out the card ‘Daughter of the Sea’ from Liu Qiao’s card pack and used the skill Mermaid Princess to turn all teammates within range into merpeople.
The moment the card was used, all their legs became long tails.
Ye Qi touched his tail. He stood on the boat and staggered, causing him to hurriedly hold onto Shao Qingge’s arm.”I feel that I don’t have legs anymore. How do I walk?”
Shao Qingge looked at Ye Qi’s cute tail and couldn’t help laughing. “You have to be in the water.”
Then he suddenly took Ye Qi’s hand and jumped straight into the sea.
Ye Qi couldn’t swim and he had an innate fear of seawater. After entering the water, a lot of sea water poured into his lungs. He just wanted to cough only to find out that there wasn’t the full feeling of being choked. His entire body was soaked in seawater and he didn’t feel uncomfortable at all. It was as natural as breathing air.
Shao Qingge dragged him forward to swim. Ye Qi tried to wave his tail and his body did advance a few meters.
He felt it was very magical and looked over at Shao Qingge. “It seems that this is the talent of the merpeople. I don’t need to learn to swim anymore. I know how to do it without a teacher!”
The next moment, Lu Jiuchuan, Tang Ci, Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou also jumped into the sea one after another.
There were no obvious changes in their upper body but they had collectively grown a fish tail. It looked pretty good.
Ye Qi suddenly asked, “By the way, our legs have become tails. If we change back to humans later, will we still have pants?”
This guy was always thinking of strange questions.
Shao Qingge didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “Definitely. Previously when I changed to the size of a thumb and returned to my adult size, my clothes weren’t destroyed. The transformation is a change of your entire appearance. What nonsense are you thinking?”
Ye Qi’s face slightly turned red. His tail moved and he quickly followed everyone to move forward.
Gui Yuanzhang led the way and everyone else followed closely behind him. They used their tails and swam faster and faster in the sea. They swam hundreds of kilometers in less than half an hour.
Gui Yuanzhang said, “Here we go. This is it.”
Xiao Lou poked his head out of the water and found the deserted island mentioned by Gui Yuanzhang.
No traces of ships were found around them. There must be very few people here. It was indeed safer to use an isolated island on the sea as a temporary base. Xiao Lou said, “Everyone, settle down here first.”
The group of people came ashore. Old Mo put Liu Qiao down and Xiao Lou came over. He held Liu Qiao’s wrist with his fingers and found her pulse was normal. “Xiao Liu should just be stunned. She isn’t injured.”
Yu Hanjiang frowned as he watched Liu Qiao being placed on a big stone by Old Mo. Liu Qiao was the princess. After entering the sea, a tail automatically appeared. It was a silver tail that was two meters long. It spread out on the sea reef and exuded a bright luster in the moonlight. It was very beautiful.
Ye Qi sat down next to Liu Qiao. “I don’t know what the clone fed Liu Qiao. Will she be unconscious for long?”
Xiao Lou answered, “If she was knocked unconscious by drugs, the time shouldn’t be too long. She should wake up tomorrow.”
Everyone was concerned about when Liu Qiao would wake up when Yu Hanjiang suddenly asked, “Are you sure that the Liu Qiao you rescued is the actual Liu Qiao?”
Proofreader: Paranoid Kitten & Fictional Reality