Dongfang Castle was quiet, and the only sounds one could be able to hear were the crickets chirping and the occasional shuffling of feet as the guards moved about. The moon was barely visible in the sky, the faintest of a crescent looming above their heads to showcase the beginning of a new lunar cycle. That was why the patrolling guards barely blinked when Panlong jumped the wall into one of the yards of the Castle - he simply blended into the darkness that the lack of the moon provided.
The garden was exquisitely beautiful, even in the dark. The sound of running water reached his ears, and the serene rhythm of the shishi-odoshi, a bamboo water fountain imported from the Land of the Rising Sun. From what the man could see, it was decorated with fine taste. But that was not what the man was here for. He had memorised a map of the castle prior to coming in, so he knew which way he had to go. Ducking into the smaller paths and alleyways of the Castle, he made his way downward towards the living quarters until he found the house of his client.
Hiding behind a stone wall, he inched his face forward to look around the corner. There was a lantern providing light for the owner inside, which he could see from the window. However, he could also sense that there were other people roaming about nearby. They seemed calm and not on alert, so Panlong assumed that they were the many maids that walked around these residences awaiting their master's orders.
With a hop he scaled the wall and onto the roof of the building he was hiding behind. Deftly he hopped onto the roof of his client and dislodged one of the panels he stood on, wriggling his way down into the attic of the house. After removing the loose panel of wood in the attic, he could now see the columns and pillars that held up the majority of the building's weight. And under the criss-cross of wood was a seated man writing a letter. Slipping through that as well, he dropped down into the room with grace - his footsteps were as soundless as a cat.
"You must be Mr. Panlong," said the man. He did not even spare the intruder a glance, keeping his concentration on his paper. "Thank you for answering my call, I half expected you not to even show up."
Panlong said nothing. There was no reason for him not to answer the call, not with the subject at hand. War was imminent soon, and the Emperor was dying. Soon they would have to name a new heir, and many of them had been sent here to Dongfang Castle to keep them safe. However, the knowledge of their presence here had been leaked, and surely many of their enemies would make their way here soon.
The man set down his brush and swivelled to meet the eye of the black-clad figure. "I don't mean to insult your honour, Mr. Panlong. Now, shall we get to the debrief...?"
---As the sun rose and the maids busied themselves with their duties, two men were roaming the gardens. One appeared to be giving the other a tour. They were dressed plainly, one would say they were dressed quite casually, and the two men had their folded fans with them - a symbol of their social position.
A maid from the head palace had been sent down with documents for a certain somebody, and upon meeting him in the yard, she stopped and stared at his companion with unconcealed curiosity. "Good morning, General Wang. Pardon my nosiness, but who is this mister?"
The man she had spoken to had sharp features with long black hair. His eyes seemed to look into one's very soul. This was General Wang Zhiming, one of the vassals of 'the Lady'. He was the head strategist, and was the Lady's right-hand man when it came to dealing with things.
He greeted the maid in return and pointed to his companion. "This is my little brother, the staff had been told that he would be arriving from my residence, no?" Zhiming said.
"Oh! Mister Wang Tengfei, was it? It is an honour for me to meet you, I will serve you diligently. On behalf of all the maids, I welcome you to Dongfang Castle."
"The honour is mine," the man's companion responded with a charming smile. He looked very similar to the general, it was easy to see that they were related by blood. Long black hair with sharp features and sharp eyes, he had the same scholarly but warrior-esque look that the general had as well. Perhaps the only difference they really had was that Tengfei's hair appeared to be more on the 'wild' side.
After the maid excused herself to drop off the documents in the general's office, the two men were left alone to explore the castle once more. As they departed from the residences, they headed towards the main hall - the home of the Lady.