Qin Cao hastily nodded, rallying a group to accompany him as they headed for the outskirts.

Meanwhile, Mu Qingya entrusted Mu Liang with a contingent of elite disciples from the Mu Clan and dispatched them out of the capital. They scoured the periphery but found no traces of the stoic young woman.

“How is it possible that there’s nothing?” Mu Qingya queried with mounting anxiety. “Did you inform our Master?”

“I’ve already informed the Consort.”

Mu Qingya fretfully stamped her feet. “Sigh, what could have transpired? Why would someone target Qiaoqiao right outside the city?”

“Consort, it’s quite perilous here. Perhaps you should return,” Mu Liang suggested, his expression revealing his own agitation.

He, too, was deeply moved. The Consort held a genuine concern for Miss Qiao, as evidenced by her immediate response upon learning of the ambush. She had disregarded all attempts at persuasion.

In an attempt to console her, Mu Liang offered reassurance. “Miss Qiao enjoys divine protection. She should be unharmed.”

“I hope so.” Mu Qingya paced restlessly around Mu Liang. “If anything were to happen to Qiaoqiao, how could I face Xingchen and her late mother?”

“Consort, everything will turn out fine,” Mu Liang urged, his tone lacking any better solution. He turned away and directed the Mu Clan’s elite disciples to conduct a more extensive investigation in a different location.

“Don’t fret, Consort. His Majesty is already aware of the situation. He dispatched numerous search teams earlier, and they only discovered signs of a skirmish. There was little blood, though. Miss Qiao should be safe.”

Mu Liang inwardly sighed, considering the dynamics between the biological mother and daughter.

The Consort was genuinely compassionate, extending her care even to the daughter of her predecessor.

She was just an ordinary woman who had rushed to address the situation for her stepdaughter. Her profound concern and distress weighed heavily upon her.

“Mu Liang, dispatch someone to a more distant location and conduct a thorough search. Perhaps Qiaoqiao was injured during the altercation and has fled a considerable distance.”

“Yes, Consort,” Mu Liang complied, sending two Mu Clan disciples to safeguard the Consort. As he prepared to depart, his countenance suddenly turned cold, and he let out a perplexed “Eh?”

“Consort, it’s the assertive young lady!” Why had the assertive young lady suddenly appeared here?

Mu Rouxuan, who had emerged from the teleportation talisman matrix, appeared somewhat disheveled at this moment. Gone was the image of the confident and assertive young lady.

“Assertive young lady!” Mu Liang urged his horse forward by tapping its hindquarters and rushed over. He promptly dismounted and instinctively reached out to assist Mu Rouxuan.

Mu Rouxuan swung her arm, pushing away Mu Liang’s offer of support. Her face and body displayed some abrasions, while her hair and visage were stained with dirt. She looked as disheveled as a beggar in that moment.

None of her usual elegance, aloofness, or nobility remained.

Mu Qingya’s eyes narrowed slightly as she stepped forward. “Xuan’er, what happened to you? How did you end up like this? Where have you come from?”

Upon seeing her mother, Mu Rouxuan burst into tears and rushed into her mother, Mu Qingya’s, embrace.

Mu Qingya’s body tensed.