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Chapter 246: Your Admirable Beauty, Why Turn to Thievery?
Amidst great anticipation, night finally descended. Lin Beifan, the focus of everyone’s attention, did not return to his mansion but went straight to the heavenly prison, requesting to be confined to the last level of cells.
This news quickly spread throughout the court, astonishing all the officials who gave him thumbs up in admiration.
“Prefect Lin’s action is truly extraordinary!”
“That heavenly prison is where the most heinous and dangerous criminals are held, and the security is extremely tight. No one can break in!”
“Especially the last level of the heavenly prison, it’s made of several layers of refined iron. The cells are impregnable. Unless someone possesses the strength of a grandmaster, escaping is impossible. It’s both the most dangerous and safest place in the Great Wu!”
“Night Fragrance, the famous thief, wanted to steal the Seven-Colored Pearl from the heavenly prison. It’s as difficult as ascending to the heavens. One slight mistake, and he’d be trapped inside!”
“Prefect Lin spending a night in there will undoubtedly be worry-free!”
Inside the imperial palace, the Empress was also aware of this news and shook her head with a smile. “Your plan, Lin my dear, is indeed clever! But why go through so much trouble? Just demonstrate your strength, and Night Fragrance will have no chance to escape!”
At this moment, in the last level of the heavenly prison, a group of jailers was swiftly tidying up the cell. They cleared away all the clutter, laid out blankets and pillows, and even prepared a charcoal stove to keep Lin Beifan warm.
Seeing the cell cleaned up, Lin Beifan waved his hand, saying, “Alright, you can leave now! Without my orders, no one is allowed to enter, nor open this cell. Understood?”
“Yes, Prefect Lin!” The jailers retreated.
As soon as everyone was gone, Lin Beifan sat cross-legged on the bed. On a small table beside him were delicacies, peanuts, and wine. He enjoyed his time, reading a book leisurely.
Even in confinement, he knew how to indulge himself.
Time passed by second by second, and the heavenly prison remained serene. Occasionally, the crackling sound of burning charcoal echoed, casting a warm red glow in the cell.
Just then, a group of people appeared outside the cell. In the middle stood a woman dressed in dragon robes, exuding an imposing aura.
The jailers were startled to see her and quickly bowed down, saying, “Greetings, Your Majesty, long live the Empress!”
The Empress spoke with authority, “No need for excessive formalities, rise.”
“Thank you, Your Majesty!” They responded.
“I heard that Sir Lin locked himself in the heavenly prison to protect the nation’s treasure, the Seven-Colored Pearl. It’s a thoughtful gesture. However, I couldn’t bear it, so I came to see him. Open the cell!” the Empress ordered.
“Yes, Your Majesty!” Without hesitation, they complied, and the Empress led the group inside.
Crossing one barrier after another, they arrived at the deepest level of the heavenly prison and met Lin Beifan. As soon as Lin Beifan saw the Empress, he quickly jumped off the bed and bowed with respect, saying loudly, “I pay my respects to Your Majesty!”
The Empress smiled and said, “No need for formalities between us, Lin my dear. There’s no need to be so polite.”
“Thank you, Your Majesty!” Lin Beifan raised his head and asked with confusion, “Your Majesty, why have you come?”
“I heard that you locked yourself in this cold heavenly prison to protect the nation’s treasure,” the Empress looked around, her face filled with distress, “Lin my dear, I feel sorry for you!”
“Your Majesty, it is my duty, not a hardship,” Lin Beifan replied resolutely.
The Empress waved her hand and said, “Open the cell door. I want to have a detailed conversation with Advisor Lin.”
“Yes, Your Majesty!” the jailers responded.
“Wait, don’t open the cell yet!” Lin Beifan called out.
“Why, Lin my dear?” The Empress was puzzled.
“I’ve heard that Night Fragrance is skilled in disguises and can imitate anyone to perfection, making it impossible to distinguish between men and women,” Lin Beifan warned cautiously, “Tonight is the time he acts. Your Majesty’s sudden visit is suspicious. So, I’d like to ask you a few questions to confirm your identity. I hope Your Majesty understands.”
The Empress smiled and nodded, “Lin mu dear, I’m glad you’re cautious. Ask your questions.”
“Thank you for understanding, Your Majesty. First, what is the birthdate of the third Emperor of the Great Wu?”
Without hesitation, the Empress replied, “In the 24th year of the Great Wu calendar, on the ×th day of the ×th month…”
“Next, Your Majesty, during the reign of the fourth Emperor of the Great Wu, Emperor Wu Ying, what achievements did he make?”
Again, the Empress immediately responded, “During Emperor Wu Ying’s reign, he accomplished…”
Lin Beifan proceeded to ask several questions known only to the royal family. Two of them were particularly tricky, and many people didn’t know the answers, but the Empress could answer them right away.
After asking all the questions, Lin Beifan apologized, “I apologize for any offense just now, and I hope Your Majesty forgives me.”
The Empress smiled, “Lin my dear, I don’t blame you. Ignorance is not a crime.”
“Thank you for understanding. Now, can we open the cell door?” Lin Beifan asked.
“Yes, Prefect Lin!”
Subsequently, the prison door opened, and the Empress gracefully entered, observing Lin Beifan sitting near a warming stove, sipping wine, and eating peanuts. She laughed, “Sir Lin, you really know how to enjoy life!”
Lin Beifan smiled, “After all, it’s not like I’m truly in prison!”
“That’s true!” The Empress waved her hand, instructing, “Everyone, leave us. I want to have a private conversation with Sir Lin.”
“Yes, Your Majesty!” The others left.
“Your Majesty, what would you like to discuss in private with me?” Lin Beifan asked.
“Sir Lin, what I want to discuss with you is…” The Empress waved her hand, and a green smoke wafted out from her sleeve. After inhaling it, Lin Beifan fell unconscious.
The voice that followed was not the Empress’s voice but that of an unfamiliar man. Clearly, he was the imposter, Night Fragrance, who came to steal the Seven-Colored Pearl.
With the mission accomplished, the “Empress” ignored the unconscious Lin Beifan and casually walked out. However, at that moment, a massive steel gate came crashing down in the corridor.
“Empress” inwardly exclaimed that things were not going well. He tried to use his top-notch lightness skill to escape before the iron gate fell, but he was ultimately a step too late.
The iron gate came crashing down, sealing off the way out. Subsequently, the door to the cell behind him clicked shut as well. To his surprise, Lin Beifan, who had already been unconscious, appeared quite alert now, as he was the one who locked the cell door.
In this way, the “Empress” was trapped in the corridor. There was no way out, and retreat was not an option!
Footsteps sounded from outside as the jailers rushed in. Lin Beifan stood on the other side, smiling, and said, “Night Fragrance, I’ve been waiting for you! Let’s see where you’ll escape this time?”
The “Empress” was greatly alarmed and asked, “You were affected by my Lavender Mist, why are you still so clear-headed?”
Lin Beifan smiled mysteriously and replied, “Because I was prepared for it!”
“Hmph! You, a petty official, are somewhat capable. This young master underestimated you!” the “Empress” scoffed, lifting off the yellow robe and revealing a changed appearance. It turned out to be a strange man…
With a head of black hair and handsome features, his complexion was fair, dressed in white from head to toe, even his shoes were white, spotless and unparalleled, exuding a remarkable and extraordinary aura.
Holding a folding fan even in the cold weather, he seemed to be showing off.
“Ah! It’s Night Fragrance, the thief!” Everyone was shocked.
“That’s right! I am indeed Night Fragrance!” the strange man proudly declared.
Lin Beifan looked at the handsome appearance of the man and lamented, “You, a gifted beauty, why resort to thievery?”
Night Fragrance stood arrogantly, about to say something fierce.
Lin Beifan interrupted, “Just with your appearance, you could earn a fortune as a male courtesan, so why bother resorting to theft?”
Night Fragrance trembled with rage, “Shut up! As an official appointed by the court, how dare you use such foul language and disgrace this young master?”
Lin Beifan snorted, “Still pretending to be noble! A thief is a thief. There’s no need to be polite with thieves. Even the male courtesans adhere to the law and pay taxes, which is more noble than you!”
Night Fragrance’s face turned extremely ugly. He looked at Lin Beifan’s smug expression, fanned himself, and said, “Hmph! It seems you’re quite pleased with yourself, thinking you can trap this young master?”
Lin Beifan made a gesture of invitation, “You can give it a try!”
Night Fragrance was a four-rank innate master. He gathered his innate true qi, transforming it into sword energy and slashed at the door.
The steel gate made a loud sound, but it only left a slight mark without being damaged.
Lin Beifan shook his head and smiled, “It’s useless! This steel gate is designed for people like you. It’s made of refined steel, solid and heavy! Even with innate true qi, you can’t break it! Even if you manage to break it, there are several more layers of gates outside. Let’s see how many layers you can break!”
Night Fragrance’s face became even more unpleasant.
“Oh, I forgot to tell you one thing: the Seven-Colored Pearl in your hand is fake!” Lin Beifan added.
Night Fragrance was shocked, “How could it be fake?”
Saying so, he took out the Seven-Colored Pearl in his hand. It was crystal clear, dazzling, and didn’t look like an imitation at all.
“The real one is still in my hand!” Lin Beifan also took out a Seven-Colored Pearl and said with a smile, “The one you have is made of glass by me. Does it look similar?”
Night Fragrance looked at the one in Lin Beifan’s hand and realized it was even more radiant and exuded a more spiritual aura.
It was clear at a glance which one was real and which one was fake, and which was superior and which was inferior!
“Damn it!” Night Fragrance’s face turned dark as he forcefully crushed the fake Seven-Colored Pearl in his hand.
“Alright, the matter is concluded. I’m going back to rest. Sweet dreams!” Lin Beifan patted his butt and left.
This incident quickly spread throughout the palace and the entire city!
“The great thief Night Fragrance was actually caught by Prefect Lin!”
“I heard that Prefect Lin lured him by offering himself, entered the heavenly prison, and trapped Night Fragrance inside. Now, Night Fragrance is stuck in the corridor of the prison and can’t get out!”
“Haha! Night Fragrance actually slipped up and got caught in our Great Wu!”
“This is truly an extraordinary story!”
As they say, a dog biting a man is not news, but a man biting a dog is news!
Night Fragrance, the great thief, has committed 17 crimes without a single failure, becoming a legend in the underworld! Now, he unexpectedly fell into the hands of Lin Beifan, a powerless civil official, becoming a hot topic of discussion.