Murderer

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Loud scream rattled the manor, I ran to Hooney's office to find out what's going on when Li He rushed me away. He grabbed my arm as I ran in the hallway and yanked me back to my quarter.

"You best not go that way." He said.

"Why? What's happening?" I asked worried and frantic.

"Nothing." He snapped and something about the way he acted told me something bad happened.

Li He made sure I was inside my room, without permitting me to leave. "Stay here, Hui. Let what's happening pass."

"There's something you're not telling me."

Li He looked at me, and his glassy eyes filled with animosity that he looked like a different person. He was not the Li He I know, and his ominous presence scared me. "Li He...?"

He ignored my plea and sat almost motionless with his blank stare on my bed.

It wasn't until later that afternoon when I found out what happened, not until Hooney came to check up on me. He was relieved to see Li He had kept me company and safe while he was gone.

"Hui!" He rasped and swallowed me into his embrace. "I'm glad you're safe."

The trembling in his voice made me fear the worse.

"What's going on out there? Why is everyone so upset?"

It took Hooney sometime to answer as if trying to pull his mind together. He was obviously distraught. "It's Niang." He said crestfallen. "Her body was found dead this morning."

I gasped and felt weak on my knees. My stomach caved, feeling my vomit climb to my chest. "What'd you mean she's dead?"

"She's dead. She was found in bed dead this morning."

"What happened?"

"That's what we're trying to investigate. That's why it took me so long to see you."

"H-how?"

The entire manor is surrounded with security, no assassin could've slipped by and killed her in her sleep - unless, unless. I gazed back at Hooney who already knew what I was thinking.

"Someone in the manor killed her and were trying to find out who. She might've been strangled to death. She had marks on her neck, her bed is a mess and her nails broke off her fingers. Niang fought and struggled while being killed."

I fell back to my bed completely dejected. There's plenty of people inside the manor who despised Niang, but I don't know anyone who would go as far...

Niang tried to kill me, and that alone would be a motive for going after her life. I shuddered in fear as the thought came to mind. "Hooney!" I rasped. "What if they try accusing me of killing her?!"

Li He who had been mute during the conversation held my hand, "we won't let anything happen to you, Hui."

Hooney took his place to my other side, "no one can touch you as long as you're with me."

I exhaled, happy that Hooney and Li He were both with me.

The entire manor remained in chaos. Niang's body was taken out of her quarter while investigators swarmed the manor searching for possible suspects. They questioned everyone, including Li He and Hooney. Hooney cooperated and guided them around the manor all day and most part of the night. I was left to Li He's care who never left my side.

Everyone was a suspect, and no one escaped the investigator's interrogation. By late in the evening, the investigators finally got to me. We were all exhausted, especially Hooney. They drilled me with questions that I had no clue how to answer. At times the questions became accusatory as though they're trying to put the blame on me and get a confession that doesn't exist.

Their aggressive questioning made Hooney upset, he barred the investigators from asking any more questions and demanded them to leave.

They left as soon as Hooney snarled at them to get lost.

I breathe terrified of what might come later. Hooney wrapped me in his embrace and told me not to worry. "How is it that Niang can freely try to kill me and kill my child and get away with it? When the same happened to her and the entire police department is on fire."

Hooney groaned and pressed his lips on my head. "It's because of status. She came from a high-class family; her father is the prime minister of defense and hell hath no fury when he makes his way here."

"Have you spoken to him yet? Niang's father? Her family?" I asked.

"No, but a telegram had been sent to let them know. I could presume he's already on his way."

It took a long time for Hooney and me to fall asleep, only falling asleep once the sun started to rise.

By the mid-morning the next day, there was a loud commotion in the courtyard that woke me up. I found that Hooney was no longer at my side having left the bed already.

I put a robe on and rushed outside to see what the whole uproar was all about - to find my Hooney stood with his sword drawn out by the entrance. His blade pointed to the ground, though ready to strike anyone who would dare cross his path.

Hooney is the governor-general of the province, and that means he's also a warlord, trained in weapons, martial arts and all forms of combat. A royal brat like him had been trained to lead ever since he's born.

He carried his perfect form and I have never seen him look so intimidating.

The police lined up in front of him, knees on the ground as they begged for Hooney to let them make their arrest.

I was clueless to whom they were arresting until Li He snatched me back inside to my quarter. "Don't go out there, Hui. Those police officers are here for you?"

"What?" Stammered stunned. "I didn't do anything!"

"I know," murmured Li He. "But, Niang's father had made demands to have you arrested for his daughter's murder."

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