A fair word of warning – this chapter of Lost You Forever is intense. Jawdropping calamity of the first order arriving with almost nonstop action a few paragraphs in and doesn’t let go type of intense. Next chapter is easily one of my personal favorite chapters in the entire novel, but before we get there we need to experience what is forthcoming here. The novel has hinted at Xiao Yao’s birth father the Great General Qi Yo of the Sheng Nong Kingdom, and there isn’t enough pages I can devote to what an awesome leading man he was in Once Promised. As a lover to Xiao Yao’s mom he was unparalled in his devotion, but as a man he lived true to his principles and never once betrayed those who were dear to him. The problem in Once Promised was that there was a lot of decay and dissolution in the world and Qi Yo shouldered the burden of making sure the Sheng Nong Kingdom could survive the oncoming attack from the upstart Xuan Yuan Kingdom.
To do so he needed a revolution and he had the heart and guts to lead one. But for those who benefited from the ingrained corruption and the class subjugation, Qi Yo was persona non grata to the entire world. He dared to change the world to make it egalitarian, to lead it to a better future even if the rotten weeds of today needed to be exterminated. His heart was in the right place but he was but one God against many and his passing at the end of Once Promised left the world a bit better but still fundamentally unchanged. Xiao Yao’s mother knew that Xiao Yao would be in danger if her paternity were ever revealed because there were too many people who hated her father, and this chapter shows us just how impossible it is a task to keep Xiao Yao safe. Her life falls in mortal danger and it’ll take the collective efforts of Jing, Zhuan Xu, and Xiang Liu to save her. As usual, the three men who love her save her in different ways with only one goal in mind – their beloved Xiao Yao must not die!
Chapter 21 – Embracing in Life, Following in Death:
Even though neither Xiao Yao nor Zhuan Xu cared to celebrate the lunar new year, Xiao Yao still felt Sheng Nong Mountain was too desolate and planned to go back to keep Zhuan Xu company.
Xing Yue said “Even if you go back, it’s still the two of you in the huge Zhi Jin Palace. Why not have Zhuan Xu come here and we can barbecue while viewing the snowfall.”
Xiao Yao asked “That’s okay? My Gege and your Gege have been only meeting in public settings to avoid arousing attention, and the last time it was using your birthday party as an excuse.”
Xing Yue said “Don’t worry, my Gege arranged everything already. Zhuan Xu is the Prince and he is living all alone on Sheng Nong Mountain for the palace renovations. My dad is not just a Sheng Nong royal descendant, he’s also the ruler of Zhi Yi Castle and administers to the people of the Middle Plains. No matter what identity, he ought to host a thank you gathering for Zhuan Xu. Last year my dad wasn’t at home so nothing was done, it would actually be weird if my dad didn’t do something this year for Zhuan Xu. My Gege asked our dad to invite Zhuan Xu for a short stay in the residence to celebrate the lunar new year and no one will question that.”
Xiao Yao laughed “That’s great. I didn’t want to go back to Sheng Nong Mountain, it’s more fun in the castle.”
A few days later, Zhuan Xu arrived at Little Zhu Rong’s residence.
Xing Yue took Zhuan Xu to his residence and wanted to stay a bit but the lady of the house was busiest preparing for the lunar new year celebrations so she reluctantly said to Zhuan Xu “I’ll come see you tonight, Gege won’t be home until tomorrow.”
Xiao Yao was giggling off in the corner and Xing Yue glared at her before leaving with her face all red.
Xiao Yao said to Zhuan Xu “Thank god you didn’t bring Jin Xuan and Xiao Xiao. Xing Yue knows you have those two beside you, but she’s still anxious about it. Seeing you didn’t bring your maids, she seems relieved and even her smile is extra sweet. When we first met Xing Yue she was such an arrogant girl, Gege how did you tame her so that she not only is willing to follow you anywhere, she’s even willing to let you bring along other girls.”
Zhuan Xu ignored her teasing and stared at her “You’ve been happy these past few months? If I didn’t come, you were just going to totally forget about me?”
Xiao Yao sheepishly smiled “If you didn’t come, I was going to obediently go back to Sheng Nong Mountain.”
Zhuan Xu coldly huffed and Xiao Yao pouted “If you don’t believe me, go ask Xing Yue. I even told her I was leaving, and only after hearing Feng Long’s arrangement did I continue to stay.”
Zhuan Xu’s expression softened a bit but then he harshly said “That Tu Shan Jing is everywhere! He’s already engaged with the Fang Feng family’s daughter, what right does he have to compete with Feng Long for you!”
Xiao Yao sat down beside him “Gege!”
Zhuan Xu stared at her and she sincerely said “If I say he has the right, then he has the right. Plus there is no competition, he doesn’t even need to compete with Feng Long because I never considered Feng Long.”
Zhuan Xu was silent and expressionless for a moment and then he spoke “I hear the Grand Madam of the Tu Shan clan really likes Fang Feng Yi Yang. She keeps her by her side and teaches her personally. Everyone already treats her like she’s the next lady of the house. The Grand Madam doesn’t care whether Jing likes Yi Yang, what matters is whether Yi Yang fits her requirements. She won’t allow the engagement to be broken, and the Fang Feng family also won’t allow the Tu Shan clan to break it off.”
“I know.” Xiao Yao’s eyes showed her hard to conceal anxiety.
Zhuan Xu sighed “Forget it, let’s not discuss such unhappy matters. There is a long ways to go, we can discuss it another day.”
Xiao Yao glared at him “It’s all your fault!”
“Fine, it’s all my fault!”
Xiao Yao smiled and started to chat about this and that with Zhuan Xu. She read the letters written to her by the Grand Emperor. She told her dad about learning archery so his letter was mostly concern about that, reminding Xiao Yao not to force herself and even if she’s not very good to not care too much.
Zhuan Xu nodded “I also think you’re too insistent on this. You’re not the wandering Wen Xiao Liu anymore. You have your dad, and also me. And you also have grandfather on Xuan Yuan Mountain!”
The Grand Emperor’s letter also contained worry about Xiao Yao and Ah Nian’s future marital prospects where he bemoaned that one daughter didn’t want his worry even if he wanted to worry about her while the other daughter was constantly causing him to worry.
Xiao Yao didn’t understand what her dad meant but Zhuan Xu explained “Last time after Ah Nian went back to Five Gods Mountain, she raised a fuss about wanting to get married. Master helped pick prospective grooms for her but each choice she would spend a few days with and then reject.”
Xiao Yao was laughing and rolling her eyes – that Ah Nian, thank goodness she had the best dad in the entire world. Xiao Yao said to Zhuan Xu “You even have a source on Five Gods Mountain, I’m impressed.”
Zhuan Xu rolled his eyes at her “I don’t need a source there! I grew up there and have tons of buddies. I got this from Ru So’s letter where he was complaining and worried that Master would decide on him as the groom. He felt like I was a fake poser when I was there but now that I’m gone and he’s being tormented by Ah Nian, he really misses me being there.”
Xiao Yao laughed out loud and Zhuan Xu also smiled and sighed “Actually I miss them a lot, too. I was a down on his luck prince in a foreign land. They were all Gao Xing nobles but they never made me feel low. Even when we fought it was sincere and now looking back I just remember the good times and all the bad times fade away.”
Xiao Yao smiled, back then Zhuan Xu couldn’t wait to leave Gao Xing and got back to Xuan Yuan. But no matter how much he missed Gao Xing now, with his identity he would never be able to go back. Just like the Yellow Emperor never ever stepped foot in Gao Xing, Zhuan Xu’s life on Five Gods Mountain would forever remain only in his childhood memory.
Xing Yue came to find them for dinner and after a simple meal, Xiao Yao made her excuses and left so that Xing Yue and Zhuan Xu could be alone.
The next day on lunar new year’s eve, Feng Long came home.
That night Little Zhu Rong had a meal with the four kids. After dinner he didn’t depart as usual but sat around a fire pit with them and asked about his daughter and son’s daily matters. He also asked about Zhuan Xu’s affairs but his attitude towards Zhuan Xu was a bit unusual and Zhuan Xu was also rather strange around him.
Feng Long and Xing Yue both knew their grandfather Sheng Nong Zhu Rong and the Xuan Yuan Fourth Prince died together. Xiao Yao also knew how her Fourth Uncle died. But this was so far ago for Feng Long and Xing Yue that they wouldn’t feel the rage and anger of losing a loved one. Xiao Yao knew that Zhuan Xu already let go of personal vengeance hundreds of years ago. So the three of them pretended not to notice anything was off.
Xiao Yao inwardly sighed. Little Zhu Rong also gave up on personal vengeance for the greater good. He created a peaceful life for the people of the Middle Plains and gave up on personal and national vengeance. Perhaps because Little Zhu Rong and Zhuan Xu made the same decision, there was grudging respect for each other.
As the new year counted down, Little Zhu Rong led them up to the rooftop to watch the fireworks.
There were soldiers on all four corners of the Castle releasing specially made fireworks which flew high in the air and turned into beautiful flowers. The entire sky was like a colorful garden.
The humans were on the streets releasing their own fireworks which didn’t fly as high but were amusing and everywhere there was laughter and joy.
This was the scene of world peace and the happiness of no warfare.
Xing Yue whispered in Xiao Yao’s ear “My dad is especially fond of fireworks. Every year he hand selects the fireworks and to make it beautiful enough he would even pay for it himself.”
Xiao Yao looked up at the fireworks and thought that it must be just as beautiful right now in Qing Qiu. Jing was likely with his grandmother and watching fireworks with a lot of people as fireworks exploded in the sky. Right now in the mountains outside of Qing Shui Town, it was likely pitch black and freezing cold. The soldiers would be sitting around fires drinking coarse wine and singing national anthems. Xiang Liu was likely dressed all in white and accompanying General Gong Gong as they walked through each and every encampment.
After the fireworks, Little Zhu Rong went to bed and told the kids to keep having fun.
The four chatted and then went back to the fire pit.
Xing Yue and Xiao Yao sat in the outer room pallet and nodded off while Feng Long and Zhuan Xu huddled inside to discuss their matters.
Xiao Yao fell asleep and in her sleepy daze she felt someone covered her with a blanket. She opened her eyes and saw that she was sleeping next to Xing Yue and they were actually nestled together on the same pillow.
Xing Yue also woke and drowsily asked “Are you guys done?”
Zhuan Xu covered them with a blanket and said in a soft voice “No, I heard no talking out here so came out to check. You guys keep sleeping!”
Xing Yue was so tired from all the holiday preparations that she couldn’t even get up if she wanted and fell back asleep.
Xiao Yao also closed her eyes.
Zhuan Xu stared at them sleeping side by side, their hair spread out, their sleeping faces sweet in slumber, each with her own alluring features that seemed so complementary right now. It really was like two blooming flowers arrayed side-by-side. Zhuan Xu’s heart skipped a few beats and he stared for a moment before gently stroking Xiao Yao’s forehead and then lightly walked back into the inner room.
Zhuan Xu stayed for four days in Little Zhu Rong’s residence but Feng Long only stayed for one night and the second day he rode his winged ride back to Chi Sui.
Xing Yue stuck her tongue out at Xiao Yao “It can’t be helped, he’s busy like this all the time. He spent new year’s eve with my dad and me, now he has to rush back to spend new year’s day with our grandfather and mom. Actually grandfather and mom don’t mind, but those Chi Sui clan elders will grouse about it. Gege is so sick of them already! They think the Chi Sui clan leader position is greater than the Heavens but my Gege doesn’t think too highly of it. He thinks the clan rules are too strict and hamper what he wants to do.”
When Zhuan Xu returned to Sheng Nong Mountain, Xing Yue was more upset than Xiao Yao. When his cloud carriage disappeared in the sky, she stood there in a daze until Xiao Yao laughed did she pull her gaze from the sky and sigh “Don’t laugh at me, you’ll have your turn one day.”
Xiao Yao sighed, her day was already here but she controlled it well is all. But she also knew that it wasn’t her concealing it all that well, it was Xing Yue not believing it was even possible for Xiao Yao to like Jing. Xiao Yao was like a tomboy and when she was all excited she would be chummy with Feng Long as well. So Xing Yue never even considered that possibility with Jing.
Xing Yue asked Xiao Yao “You really don’t have any feelings for my Gege?”
Xiao Yao shook her head “Actually, your Gege has no romantic feelings for me either.”
Xing Yue knew Xiao Yao was smart and insightful so conceded “My Gege’s heart isn’t on women and romance. He actually likes you well enough, or better said that as long as he doesn’t dislike you that is enough. Marriage between the Gods, how many are based on true love? As long as the two people can get along well like friends then that is a good marriage. Actually my Gege is different then your Gege, my Gege has never fallen for any woman. If you married my Gege, you never need to worry about other women coming in to annoy you.” Xing Yue let out a loud sigh.
Xiao Yao didn’t dare respond so gave a silly chuckle and changed the subject.
Little Zhu Rong went to Xuan Yuan Castle and reported to the Yellow Emperor – Feng Long was in Chi Sui, Zhuan Xu was on Sheng Nong Mountain, Jing was at Qing Qiu, and the only people left in Little Zhu Rong’s residence was Xiao Yao and Xing Yue.
The Tan family daughter extended an invitation to Xing Yue to invite her and the Princess to the countryside for a Winter cherry blossom viewing.
Xing Yue said to Xiao Yao “Cherry blossoms are nothing but an excuse to go out and play. I’m really bored so let’s go for a twirl!”
Xiao Yao was different than Xing Yue, she lived alone in the mountains for twenty years, then captured by the Nine-tailed fox for thirty years. She liked people keeping her company but she was picky about who her companions were. She would rather be alone than hang out with people she didn’t like. She lazily drawled “You go, I’ll stay home and practice archery.”
Xing Yue was insistent and grabbed her arm “Good sister, the invitation named you as well. If you don’t go, they’ll discuss it behind my back that I’m boasting about being good friends with the Gao Xing Princess but you won’t give me any face.”
Xiao Yao knew those folks put a lot of emphasis on courtesy and Xing Yue was very proud so she couldn’t lose face in front of those powerful offspring so Xiao Yao smiled “Sister-in-law gives me an order, how could I disobey. But let’s agree beforehand that I’m not in the mood to make polite talk so you’ll have to deal with them for me.”
Xing Yue blushed and pinched Xiao Yao “It’s not clear who is going to call who sister-in-law yet!”
When Xiao Yao and Xing Yue arrived at the cherry blossom forest, there were already a lot of people there.
Xiao Yao was wearing a veiled hat and followed behind Xing Yue, going wherever Xing Yue went and talking to whomever Xing Yue told her to. She was quiet but everyone knew the Gao Xing Princess was difficult so no one minded and was only envious that XIng Yue was so chummy with her.
Xiao Yao saw the Mu family son, and even though the last time she saw him looking at her through the window, it was enough for her to take note because her survival instinct was so strong so now she still remembered him.
A snowball fight started in the cherry blossom forest and Xing Yue and her cousins were pulled into it.
A girl accidentally threw a snowball on Xiao Yao and kept apologizing but Xiao Yao didn’t mind so she moved away from the snowball fight and started walking around the cherry blossom forest. The cherry blossoms were blooming beautifully and because Xiao Yao could hear all the girls laughing and shrieking in the fight, she didn’t feel like she was walking too far from them and continued heading towards the most beautiful view.
Suddenly all the sound disappeared and the cherry blossom forest was blooming in silence. Xiao Yao’s beast instinct caused her to stop in her steps and look carefully ahead before slowly turning around. She wanted to head back the way she came but the snow was fresh and there were no footprints in sight.
Xiao Yao took off her veiled hat and looked around, she was surrounded by fresh white snow as if she was dropped from the sky to here.
Xiao Yao gripped poison in her hand and looked at the sky but couldn’t find the sun. She looked at the cherry blossoms and realized none were casting a shadow so she couldn’t determine the direction. The only explanation was that she was in the middle of a spiritual power maze.
To create a maze or to break a maze, both were deep powers that required training and knowledge for hundreds of years to acquire. Xiao Yao lived in Jade Mountain when she was small and the Royal Mother hadn’t yet taught her such knowledge and skills before she ran away. Later on there was no one to teach her so Xiao Yao understood next to nothing about spiritual mazes.
Xiao Yao knew she was facing a powerful opponent and if the person didn’t appear then her poison was of no use.
Xiao Yao concentrated but wasn’t too worried. She was backed by the Grand Emperor and the Yellow Emperor and no one would risk entire clan and family extermination to kill her. But she couldn’t figure out who wanted to trap her and thought perhaps she wandered into someone else’s maze and when the owner discovered it she would be released.
But Xiao Yao quickly realized she was mistaken.
All the cherry blossom branches started to move and reached out to wrap around her. Xiao Yao used her agility from living on the mountains to duck and dodge like a monkey but her powers were low so after some time of being attacked she had fallen down many times but continued to get up and keep on running.
Suddenly a blackened charred hand reached out from under the snow and grabbed her foot. She tried to use a dagger to stab the hand but the hand turned into a long spike and impaled her foot into the ground.
The cherry blossom branch turned into a giant hammer and came down on Xiao Yao’s head but she endured the pain and pulled her foot free and dodged so the hammer struck the snow and sent the snow flurries flying.
Xiao Yao’s foot was bleeding profusely and she screamed “Who are you? Why do you want to kill me? If you want to kill me then come out instead of hiding like a coward.” Xiao Yao wasn’t trying to threaten the person since whomever did it clearly understood the consequences. She just wanted to know why the person hated her and was willing to incur the wrath of two Emperors to kill her.
No one answered her.
This maze was even more powerful and intricate than the maze used by Chi Sui Xian when she battled Yu Jiang at the Autumn Tournament. Only a truly powerful fighter like Chi Sui Xian or Yu Jiang or someone of their level could create such a maze with one person’s power. But Xiao Yao really couldn’t figure out when she incurred such deadly wrath. But then she thought of something scarier, this maze wasn’t the creation of one person but the combined efforts of many. There was actually a group of people with not low powers who wanted her dead!
A beast’s growl reached her and two violent vicious beasts appeared in the cherry blossom forest. No such beast could ever exist in such a forest so this must be someone who had the ability to control God beast who sent them here to kill her.
The beasts smelled blood and walked towards Xiao Yao. Her foot was bleeding and she was almost out of strength so she couldn’t escape their attack. She sat down on the snow and quietly watched the beasts.
The beasts looked at the weak Xiao Yao and instinctively realized there was danger and started to back away. They were indicating defeat and no intention of attacking her, but suddenly there was a cry from above and the beasts owner was forcing them to attack. The beasts raised its head and had no choice but to attack.
One beast rushed Xiao Yao and opened its mouth wide but she put her hand into his mouth, all it needed to do was bite down and her arm would be ripped clean off.
The beast closed its mouth but the teeth were blocked by a sharp dagger. Xiao Yao grabbed the dagger out of the beast’s mouth and ducked below its body just in time to avoid the attack of the other beast.
The beast raised up to strike with its claws and Xiao Yao stared at it coldly. When the beast’s claw came down, it sensed its life was at an end and whined pitifully before falling on the ground.
The other beast stared at its companion and Xiao Yao used the chance to stab it in the eye with her dagger before ducking away behind the dead other beast as a barrier to avoid attack.
The beasts had thick skin which made it hard to poison it, but its weak spots were the mouth and eyes. So when Xiao Yao risked her life to stick her hand in to poison it, she then took advantage of the other beast’s shock at seeing its companion die suddenly to strike it in the eye with more poison. It didn’t seem like a lot of work but required precision otherwise she would have lost an arm and would likely be in the beast’s belly right now.
Both beasts were dead.
Xiao Yao was still alive but she used up the final bits of her strength in the battle. She screamed “If you guys have the ability then keep on going! I want to see what else you have up your sleeve.”
Xiao Yao sensed they hated her immensely otherwise they could use many faster ways to kill her but sent the beasts clearly to make sure she suffered and didn’t die a quick death. Xiao Yao wanted them to use more tricks to torment her because Xing Yue was not an idiot and she would sense something was wrong, and if she sensed it then Xiao Yao had a chance to survive today.
A man walked out from the cherry blossom forest and it was the Mu family son.
Xiao Yao’s heart fell, if they weren’t concealing themselves anymore, it meant she had run out of time to stall.
The Mu family son said “We would rejoice at seeing you die in the most painful way possible, but we can’t risk you surviving.”
The cherry blossom trees started to wildly dance and branches reached out from all sides to twist around Xiao Yao’s limbs. She was too weak to run anymore so the branches tightly gripped her and then pulled her into the air to dangle above the ground.
Xiao Yao asked “Why? We’ve never met before, what did I do to make you hate me this much?”
The Mu family son yelled in rage “What did you do? My entire tribe’s three hundred and forty-seven lives!”
“It was Qi Yo who exterminated your entire tribe, what does that have to do with me?” Xiao Yao’s body was shaking uncontrollably.
The Mu family son yelled “What does Qi Yo have to do with you? Stop pretending! He killed all my relatives and now I’m going to kill his only relative! To use your blood to avenge the deaths of our families, all one thousand twenty two lives!”
Xiao Yao shook her head “No! No! I have no relationship with Qi Yo! My dad is the Grand Emperor!”
All the snow on the ground turned into the sharpest blades and pierced Xiao Yao’s palms and feet. The blood started to splash on the snow in a sight that was shocking to behold.
The pain started to spread as if all her insides was being ripped to shreds but Xiao Yao didn’t utter any sound and instead calmly said said “I have no relationship with Qi Yo, my dad is the Grand Emperor!”
The Mu family son howled “This blood is for the Zhan family!”
Six sharp blades cut into Xiao Yao’s legs and her blood continued to fall. She was in such pain but she still refused to scream or beg and instead just said “My dad….is the Grand Emperor.”
The Mu family son raged “It doesn’t matter if you refuse to admit it! This is for the Zin family!”
Three sharp blades pierced Xiao Yao’s torso and her blood flowed like a waterfall as the Mu family son said “This is for the Shen family!”
Xiao Yao’s face was stark white and she kept trying to talk “You…..you…..you are killing…..the wrong person.”
The Mu family son had tears in his eyes as he looked up to the sky “Mom, Dad, may you rest in peace now!”
He waved his hand and the cherry blossoms danced in the sky and became sharp cherry blossom knives. The Mu family son said “And this is for the Mu family!”
An entire sky filled with cherry blossom knives flew towards Xiao Yao and embedded into her entire body and blood blanketed the cherry blossom forest like rain falling.
The deep mountains outside Qing Shui Town.
Inside a room, Xiang Liu was discussing with his adopted father about the Spring rations for the army when suddenly he bolted upright and his face changed.
Gong Gong stared at him oddly “What is it?”
“I need to leave for something.”
Xiang Liu left with just one word and whistled as he sprinted outside. Before a white and gold condor had even landed Xiang Liu had vaulted on its back and directed it Northwest.
Gong Gong and another general in the room stared at each other and then looked out the door.
Sheng Nong Mountain, Zhi Jin Summit.
Inside a room, Zhuan Xu was sitting on the pallet with his back against the wall as Xiao Xiao was sprawled on his knee while he stroked her hair and listened with a lazy demeanor about the latest palace renovation update.
Suddenly Zhuan Xu felt his heart was jumbled and he almost couldn’t breath. He pushed Xiao Xiao aside and stood up. The subordinates could tell something was off and quickly scurried out.
Xiao Xiao waited for Zhuan Xu thinking he was about to give her an important assignment.
Zhuan Xu’s face was confused as he tried to remember, and then he remembered that when his father died tens of thousands of miles away, he had the same worry and confusion. Zhuan Xu’s entire demeanor changed and he said to Xiao Xiao “You immediately bring people to Zhi Yi to find Xiao Yao and bring her to see me. No matter what happens you have to keep her safe.”
“Yes!” Xiao Xiao turned and left.
Zhuan Xu paced the room until he suddenly burst out the door and hollered “Servants! I need to go to Zhi Yi!”
He got on his winged ride and looked out at the sky as he prayed over and over in his mind “Mom, Dad, Auntie, Grandmother, Eldest Uncle, Second Uncle, I beg you, I beg all of you!”
No matter how difficult his life was he always assured them in his mind “You guys don’t worry, I will continue on well!” But this time he begged of them, he begged them to help protect the last loved one in his life!
Qing Qiu, the Tu Shan clan residence.
The Grand Madam was in a room with Jing, Yi Yang, Hou, Hou’s wife Lan Mu. She was lecturing them “I don’t have many more years to live. My first wish is for Jing to quickly become the clan leader. The second is for you brothers to get along well to protect the clan together. And the third is for a grand child. If all three wishes are fulfilled, I will die happy.”
All four said nothing and the Grand Madam coughed so Jing and Hou quickly got her water and patted her on the back. Jing said “Grandmother, don’t worry and rest up. If you get better, everything will be fine.”
The Grand Madam glared at him “You’re my biggest worry! I want you to get married and you refuse. I ask you to hold the clan leader initiation ceremony and you also refuse. How long are you going to delay all this?”
At that moment the satchel on Jing’s waist suddenly snapped and fell on the ground. Jing stared and then picked it up and felt a ominous feeling. Xiao Yao gave him this satchel! Jing’s face changed and he rushed out the door with nothing on his mind but one thought: Xiao Yao, he had to find Xiao Yao immediately.
Yi Yang and Lan Mu were both stunned and Yi Yang called out “Jing, Jing, where are you going?”
The Grand Madam said “Something must’ve happened. Jing can sense it but doesn’t know exactly what it is.”
Yi Yang and Lan Mu looked at the Grand Madam and she explained “The true descendants of the Tu Shan clan bloodline possess this power. It cannot be described or explained but is a sensation of something big about to happen. From the ancient times until now, the Tu Shan clan leader may not have the strongest powers but we have become one of the most powerful clans because of this special ability which helps the clan avoid calamity” The Grand Madam glanced at Hou and then at the Nine-tailed fox drawing on the wall before saying “Jing is destined to be the next clan leader!”
Lan Mu lowered her head and didn’t dare look at Hou while Yi Yang glanced at him with a worried look. Hou coldly smiled.
Jing furiously urged his winged ride faster to get to Little Zhu Rong’s residence and learned Xiao Yao was not there. Shan Hu quizzically said “Princess went to the cherry blossom forest in the countryside.”
Jing rushed there and the cherry blossoms were in full bloom. Men and women were playing under the trees and the sound of happy feminine laughter rang out and there was no hint of danger.
Jing tensed up and brought out little fox and asked it to track Xiao Yao. The Nine-tailed fox was a born tracker and good at concealment, plus Jing kept Xiao Yao on his heart and mind all the time so even if her scent was mixed with many, he could still differentiate if there was even the slightest smell of her.
Jing was born with the spiritual eye that could see through any enchantments and mazes, plus with the help of little fox, he tracked her to another canyon. He saw a maze formed using water, wood, and fire, it was a kill maze. The ground covered in snow was to his advantage and he grabbed the snow in hand and created a fog to envelope him and he disappeared from sight.
Jing entered the maze and heard a man’s sorrowful wailing and followed the sound. He didn’t see the man but before him was a snowy ground that was dyed red with blood. A bloodied person was hanging in mid air, the body so cut up it was impossible to tell if it was a man or a woman, but her face was pristine as if carved from a crystal jade and her eyes were still opened wide.
Jing let out a scream from deep within his soul, it was a scream that didn’t even sound like it was made by a person, and he flew up and used his hands to slash the branches and grabbed Xiao Yao in his arms.
Jing went to feel for her pulse but felt nothing. His entire body was shaking and he tightly embraced Xiao Yao and tried to use his body warmth to warm her icy cold body.
He put his hand on her back and continued to push spiritual power into her “Xiao Yao, Xiao Yao, Xiao Yao……”
Jing called to Xiao Yao and leaned in to kiss her.
He kissed her cheek, but her face was still as white as fresh snow. She didn’t blush for him.
He kissed her eyes, but her eyelashes didn’t flutter like a butterfly’s wing.
He kissed her lips and sucked but her lips were tightly shut and cold and hard. She would no longer open like a flower for him so he could taste the world’s sweetest nectar.
Jing continued to kiss Xiao Yao but there was no response.
Jing’s entire body was convulsing and his tears came down like falling rain. Xiao Yao, Xiao Yao, I beg of you!
No matter how much power he transferred to her, her pulse never started again.
Jing let out a gutwrenching scream as his tears soaked her robe.
Xiao Yao! If you’re not in this world, how do you expect me to continue living? I was wrong! I was really wrong! I should have never left you! No matter what reason, I should have never left your side!
The final stage of the maze started and every single cherry blossom turned into a flickering flame and a burning inferno lit up to destroy everything so that even if the Grand Emperor and the Yellow Emperor wanted to destroy all there would be no proof left.
The flames rushed forward and burned Jing’s clothes and his skin was in pain but he continued to hold Xiao Yao tightly in his arms and allowed the flames to engulf them together.
Xiao Yao, I only want to be your Ye Shi Qi. I said I would listen to you for life so you can’t leave me! If you leave then I’ll go with you. No matter where you run to, I’ll always chase after you!
By the time Zhuan Xu and Xiao Xiao arrived at the canyon it was already ablaze in towering flames.
Zhuan Xu wanted to rush in “Xiao Yao is inside, Xiao Yao must be inside!”
Xiao Xiao stopped him “Your highness, this is a kill maze and the maze has started. You can’t risk going in. We’ll go save the Princess.”
Zhuan Xu paid her no need and rushed forward while screaming “Xiao Yao, Xiao Yao……”
Xiao Xiao summoned all her power and hit Zhuan Xu hard on the back of neck and he fainted.
Xiao Xiao ordered the two guards “Protect His highness!”
She led four more guards into the fiery inferno with one final order “If we’re not back in half an hour that means we’re all dead. You two take his highness back to Sheng Nong Mountain immediately. After he calms down, he will forgive you.”
The flames licked them from all sides and they could only use all their power to hold off the flames and at most they could withstand only half an hour inside. Other than the red flames they could only see other so they searched and called “Princess, Princess….”
As the time passed the guards with lower power already had charred skin but they didn’t stop and continued searching and calling. Suddenly Xiao Xiao called “Halt!”
The five all paused and Xiao Xiao turned her head before pointing left “Over there!”
The five rushed over and saw a man holding a woman tightly in the center of the flames, he was transferring power to her and her body was not scorched by the flames but he was completely burned to the point of passing out.
They surrounded the man and extinguished the flames and Xiao Xiao recognized him as Tu Shan Jing. She ordered “I’ll take the Princess, you guys help Master Jing.”
They wanted to carry Jing but his arms were in a death grip around Xiao Yao and they couldn’t separate them. Xiao Xiao had no time to lose “Take them together and we can deal with it later.”
A wood power guard created a stretcher and they placed Xiao Yao and Jing on it before carrying them out of the inferno.
They were all highly trained powerful warriors so they easily found their way out of the maze and escaped in no time. Zhuan Xu was still passed out and Xiao Xiao inspected Jing and Xiao Yao’s pulses and her face fell “Master Jing is still alive but the Princess…..she has no pulse.”
Xiao Xiao put her hand on Xiao Yao’s back and said to the guards “Back to Sheng Nong Mountain immediately. Even if its useless, from now on we have to keep transferring power to the Princess. Tell Miss Xing Yue that the Princess is gravely injured and to bring us the best doctors in the Middle Plains but seal all the information.”
Back at Sheng Nong Mountain, Zhuan Xu bolted upright the moment he woke up “Xiao Yao!”
Xiao Xiao reported “We brought the Princess back from the inferno.” She didn’t dare say save, she could only say bring back.
Zhuan Xu was elated “Where is Xiao Yao?”
Jin Xuan cautiously led Zhuan Xu to see Xiao Yao. After the efforts of the guards, they finally separated Jing from Xiao Yao and she was placed on a special water jade pallet which was used by the Flame Emperor to heal because the water jade could collect all the spiritual power to protect the body. The guards took turns sitting at the head of the pallet and placing their hands on the water jade to transfer power to Xiao Yao.
Xiao Yao’s body was wrapped tightly like a wrapped rice dumpling but her face was uncovered. Zhuan Xu’s doctor sat at the end of the pallet and stood up when she saw Zhuan Xu.
Zhuan Xu asked “How is she?”
Doctor Yin was a mute and studied medicine from childhood so wasn’t very adept at social conversing so he signed directly “She’s dead.”
Zhuan Xu glared at Doctor Yin as if he was a thundering beast about to attack and Yin never felt such fear before and quickly kneeled down.
After a moment, Zhuan Xu spit out “Leave.”
Yin quickly left and Zhuan Xu sat down beside Xiao Yao and touched her from her head down to her toes. His face was dark but he was eerily calm and said “Explain!”
Xiao Xiao immediately reported “The Princess’s hands and feet were cut by sharp blades, her left leg pierced three times, her right leg pierced three times. Her left arm cut twice, her right arm cut twice. Her abdomen was sliced three times. And her entire body was embedded with countless sharp daggers. This was the vengeance of using blood to avenge blood. The final maze attack was a fire inferno. Based on all the injuries on her body, there was also a wood and a fire power expert involved. Preliminary evidence suggests three people created the maze together but it was one elaborate plan intended to kill her. It could not have been planned in a short time, and one of the involved persons must know the Tan family daughter so as to know beforehand that she invited Miss Xing Yue and the Princess out to play.”
Zhuan Xu’s breathing was labored and he finally said “Investigate! And after it’s been revealed, don’t let them die!”
“Yes!” Xiao Xiao turned and walked out the door.
Jin Xuan asked “Shall we send word to the Grand Emperor and the Yellow Emperor?”
Zhuan Xu said “How can they not be told? Have the best doctors from Xuan Yuan and Gao Xing brought here!”
Xiao Yao had no life but with the power being continuously transferred to her, her body remained soft and warm rather than cold and stiff. Even though no pulse could be detected, but Zhuan Xu felt that her heart was still beating slightly.
Zhuan Xu gently touched Xiao Yao’s forehead “I know you’re very brave and you’ll make it through this. You’ve endured being left behind and I know you won’t leave me behind. I’ve planted the phoenix tree on Zhi Jin Summit and in tens of years it’ll grow tall. You promised me that you’ll be with me to watch the phoenix flowers bloom all over Sheng Nong Mountain.”
Xing Yue brought the best doctors in the Middle Plains and rushed to Sheng Nong Mountain. When she saw the dead Xiao Yao, she collapsed on the ground and couldn’t even say a word.
The doctors examined Xiao Yao while Zhuan Xu walked over to help Xing Yue up “It’s not because of you. They planned so well, if they didn’t use you they would use someone else. No need to put the fault of others on you.”
Xing Yue’s tears pooled in her eyes and she felt her heart warm over, but that just made her feel worse and she was even angrier at those who would use her. She forced the words out “I will start investigating from my Tan family cousin onward and give Xiao Yao back the truth.”
Zhuan Xu and Xing Yue looked towards the two doctors who carefully examined Xiao Yao before looking at each other and kneeling down “Your highness, we are worthless.” Their words were not direct but it was the same as Doctor Yin, there was no hope for Xiao Yao.
The master of these two doctors learned directly from the Flame Emperor and could be considered the true disciples who learned all the teachings of the Flame Emperor. If they said there was no way to save her, then were was no other doctor in the vast wilderness who could save Xiao Yao. Xing Yue’s tears fell but she forced herself not to cry out and cause Zhuan Xu more agony.
Zhuan Xu was very calm and waved his hand for the two doctors to leave before turning to Xing Yue “Xiao Yao won’t leave me behind, she’ll make it.”
Xing Yue wanted to say something but Jin Xuan shook her head towards her so Xing Yue said nothing and just handed a box of all the magical and rare medicines she brought.
Zhuan Xu said “Thank you. You can’t help even if you stayed but there is something I need you to do that you are best suited for.”
Xing Yue said “I know. I’ll go back now and start investigating from my cousin Tan. Don’t worry, I’ll find out something to start with.”
Zhuan Xu said “I’ll walk you out.”
“No need, you take care of Xiao Yao!”
Zhuan Xu said to Jin Xuan “Walk Xing Yue out for me.”
Jin Xuan walked Xing Yue out and Xing Yue said “Thank you back there.”
Jin Xuan bowed “Miss you are too polite.”
These two women had no connection with each other but because they liked the same man, their connection became rather odd.
Xing Yue asked the two doctors “Is the Princess really…..dead?”
The doctors replied “She’s dead. There is still life coursing through her because of the unending transfer of power into her body, but the moment that ends her body will be completely dead.”
Xing Yue hesitated and then said to Jin Xuan “Xiao Yao is dead and Zhuan Xu hasn’t yet accepted the truth. Please do your best to comfort him.”
Xing Yue vaulted on her winged ring and left with the doctors.
Jin Xuan returned to court and found Zhuan Xu still sitting next to the pallet. The guard transferring power was ashen white and another guard took his place.
Zhuan Xu asked “How is Jing’s injury?”
“Master Jing is just burned. Doctor Yin said his injuries are not severe but he’s inconsolable and his spirit is actively seeking death which is why he remains unconscious.”
Zhuan Xu was silent and then said “At least he’s worthy of Xiao Yao’s consideration for him. Use the spiritual medicines to preserve his life. If Xiao Yao can make it, then he’ll wake up as well.”
Zhuan Xu stayed beside Xiao Yao all night. When Xiao Xiao came back, Jin Xuan murmured “From yesterday afternoon until now he’s been inside, should we do something about it?”
Xiao Xiao shook her head “His highness understands what he is doing. He cannot rage, he doesn’t have the luxury of sorrow, and he cannot collapse. He only has this avenue to let it all out. We need to do our jobs at this time.”
Suddenly the guards on Sheng Nong Mountain broadcast a sharp warning alert, indicating someone was forcibly breaching the mountain.
The guards tasked with the sky defense were on their winged rides and rushed in a certain direction and in mere minutes the unusually desolate Sheng Nong Mountain was swarming with guards on the ground and in the air.
Xiao Xuao gripped her weapon and hollered “Everyone to your positions, do not get distracted.”
Jin Xuan retreated into court to protect Zhuan Xu.
Zhuan Xu laughed “If anyone dares to try an attempt on my life right now, I will make him regret that decision.”
The powers collided and the sound of thunderous battle reached them. Zhuan Xu smiled at Jin Xuan “Looks like the power is strong and is not a run of the mill assassin. Since it’s not a nobody, let’s go for a meet.”
Jin Xuan wanted to talk him out of it but held back “Yes.” Before this man, everything was within his control and all she could do was obey.
Zhuan Xu said to the guards “No matter what happens, your job is to protect the Princess at all costs.”
Zhuan Xu walked out with Jin Xuan and saw the sky blanketed with soldiers. Suddenly a person broke through the defenses and stormed Zhi Jin Summit. White hair, white robe, standing tall and proud on the back of a white condor, completely untouched like the first snow, he was even more extraordinarily eye-catching with the dawn sun behind him.
Zhuan Xu laughed “Who knew it was an old friend.”
The soldiers wanted to stop Xiang Liu but he used his power to transmit his voice directly to Zhuan Xu’s ears only “Zhuan Xu, do you want Xiao Yao to live, or to die?”
Zhuan Xu’s face changed, the information was sealed so unless Xiang Liu was the person who killed Xiao Yao, there would be no way for him to get the news this fast.
Zhuan Xu was so enraged but he laughed “Let him down.”
Xiang Liu landed and walked up to Zhuan Xu but a row of guards kept them apart. Xiang Liu asked “Where is Xiao Yao?”
“What do you want?” Zhuan Xu couldn’t figure out Xiang Liu’s motive. If he wanted anything, he would need to keep Xiao Yao alive rather than kill her. But the people who set up the cherry blossom maze wanted Xiao Yao dead.
Xiang Liu was an exceptionally smart person and immediately realized Zhuan Xu reached the wrong assumption “It wasn’t me. Until yesterday afternoon I was in the mountains in Qing Shui Town and I just reached Sheng Nong Mountain just now.”
Zhuan Xu believed him. If Xiang Liu wanted to lie he wouldn’t do it so directly. Zhuan Xu was even more perplexed “Then how do you know what happened to Xiao Yao?”
Xiang Liu said “In Qing Shui Town, Wen Xiao Liu planted a voodoo bug on Xuan. To remove the bug, Xiao Liu transferred it into another person.”
Zhuan Xu stared at Xiang Liu and raised his hand “Everyone leave.”
All the guards left and Xiang Liu walked up to Zhuan Xu. He turned towards the court “Follow me.”
Xiang Liu saw Xiao Yao and walked over and sat down beside the water jade pallet, staring down at the silent and unmoving Xiao Yao.
Zhuan Xu glanced at Xiao Xiao and she walked over to take over for the guard transferring power to Xiao Yao and that guard left the chamber.
Zhuan Xu asked “Is the voodoo bug in you?”
“Why?” Zhuan Xu could understand Xiao Yao wanting to remove the bug from him and moving it to another. What he couldn’t understand was why Xiang Liu agreed to let Xiao Yao move it into him.
Xiang Liu coolly replied “That is between Xiao Yao and me.”
Zhuan Xu asked “What are you here for? Why did you ask me if I wanted Xiao Yao alive or dead?”
“If you give her to me, I can save her.”
“What do you mean give her to you? Can’t you save her here?”
Zhuan Xu smiled wanly “You are the infamous Nine-lives Xiang Liu who has killed countless. If my brain hasn’t addled, we’re political enemies. Yet you want me to hand my little sister to you. How can I trust you?
“If you don’t give her to me, she’ll die.”
Zhuan Xu’s personal Doctor Yin was taught by the best court doctors in Xuan Yuan and Gao Xing and he concluded Xiao Yao was dead. Xing Yue brought the best doctors in the Middle Plains and they concluded Xiao Yao could not be saved. Zhuan Xu believed that even when the best court doctors from Xuan Yuan and Gao Xing arrived, they would say the same as the first three doctors. Xiang Liu was the only one who was certain that Xiao Yao wasn’t dead yet. Zhuan Xu didn’t trust Xiang Liu, but he wouldn’t miss the sole chance to save Xiao Yao. Zhuan Xu said “You let me consider it.”
Xiang Liu calmly said “She’s almost out of time.” If it wasn’t for so many powerful people transferring power to Xiao Yao, even by the time Xiang Liu rushed here it would have been too late. It was by Zhuan Xu’s seemingly pointless effort that he managed to secure a lone shred of chance for Xiao Yao.
“How much time do you need? When can I see Xiao Yao again?”
“I don’t know. Maybe a year or two, maybe tens of years.”
Zhuan Xu paced in the chamber and his expression kept changing but finally he decided “You can take her!” Zhuan Xu stared at Xiang Liu and coldly said “If you dare harm her, I will destroy the Sheng Nong resistance army and cut you into a million pieces!”
Xiang Liu calmly and coolly replied “Even if I don’t harm her, you’re still planning to destroy the Sheng Nong resistance army, and you’re still planning to cut me into pieces.” Once he was dead, what mattered how many pieces he was diced into.
Zhuan Xu stared at Xiang Liu with an exasperated expression. He understood now why Xiao Yao was friends with him, that guy may be a bastard but he was an interesting bastard at that.
Zhuan Xu sighed and calmly countered “As long as you know what I mean.”
Xiang Liu said “Give me all your best medicines.”
Zhuan Xu had Jin Xuan bring all the medicines on Zhi Jin Summit, and along with the medicines Xing Yue brought, handed it all over “Is this enough? If not then I can get more from the Yellow Emperor, the Grand Emperor, or even the Royal Mother.”
Xiang Liu glanced at the huge box and scoffed “It’s enough. So this is why everyone wants power.”
Xiang Liu turned and tenderly picked up Xiao Yao in his arms.
Zhuan Xu made the decision but when he saw Xiang Liu taking Xiao Yao away his hands clenched into fists. He said to Xiao Xiao “Lead him out through the secret passageway. I don’t want my little sister’s name to be associated with this big demon. I still want her to marry into a good family one day!”
Xiang Liu didn’t appear to mind at all and merely smiled and followed Xiao Xiao into the secret passageway with Xiao Yao in his arms.
Zhuan Xu took out two magical wooden dolls and used his own blood to form two persons, one was Xiao Yao and the other was Xiang Liu. He said to Jin Xuan “You walk Xiang Liu out!”
Jin Xuan walked that Xiang Liu out of the court chamber. Xiao Xiao returned moments later “Xiang Liu has been escorted off Sheng Nong Mountain but I put a few guards on his tail.”
Zhuan Xu said “No use, he’ll be able to shake them.”
Jin Xuan returned “Your highness, Master Jing is still in Zhi Jin Court. We have to tell Qing Qiu but with his current condition…..this might affect your connections with the Tu Shan clan.”
Zhuan Xu said “Xing Yue must have told Feng Long already and he should be here soon. When he gets here, he can take Jing back to Qing Qiu.”
Feng Long arrived on Sheng Nong Mountain in the middle of the night.
Zhuan Xu knew the wooden doll version of Xiao Yao laying on the pallet couldn’t fool Feng Long and he didn’t intend to keep it from him. He told Feng Long everything, except for the part where the voodoo bug was in Xiang Liu. Feng Long of course couldn’t and didn’t know that Xiao Yao knew Xiang Liu from before, but because Xiang Liu’s actions were always unpredictable and he could do what most anyone in the world couldn’t, Feng Long didn’t try to dig into why Xiang Liu showed up and instead just analyzed what he might want out of helping Xiao Yao.
When it came to Xiao Yao, Feng Long was more calm and collected than Zhuan Xu “No matter if Xiang Liu was telling the truth or not, if I were you I would have chosen to trust him. His way is the only sliver of hope left. I actually think he can save Xiao Yao, because only by saving Xiao Yao can he have a chance to negotiate a bargain with the Yellow Emperor or you.”
Zhuan Xu smiled for the first time since yesterday “I trust your judgment.”
Feng Long said “You didn’t have to tell me all this.”
Zhuan Xu said “Some matters are personal so I don’t need to tell you. But some matters may have huge consequences, and since you are placing your life wagering on me, how can I not be truthful about matters like that.”
Feng Long countered “You’ve wagered your life on me as well. If you stayed in Xuan Yuan Castle, you might still have succeeded. But you chose to come to the Middle Plains.”
Zhuan Xu said “Because what I want isn’t just power. What good is one kingdom?”
Feng Long added “What good is one clan leader?”
Zhuan Xu and Feng Long smiled at each other. Zhuan Xu said “Come with me, I need you to see someone else.”
Feng Long saw the unconscious Jing and was stunned “What happened?”
Zhuan Xu said “I don’t know, when I arrived in the canyon it was engulfed in flames. I wanted to rush in but Xiao Xiao knocked me out. When I woke up, she had rescued Xiao Yao. Let her explain!”
Xiao Xiao said “We rushed into the maze to save the Princess. When we found her, Master Jing was protecting her. If it wasn’t for Master Jing using his spiritual power to protect her body then her body would have been incinerated into ashes already. Because he kept transferring power into her, it kept a sliver of hope alive. You can say Master Jing was the real person who rescued her. But when we got there he was already unconscious and we brought them both back to Zhi Jin Summit. Master Jing’s injuries are actually not severe but he’s the one who doesn’t want to live so that is why he’s not waking up.”
Feng Long was thoroughly confused “Isn’t Jing in Qing Qiu? how did he end up in the cherry blossom canyon? I guess its not important since his arrival saved Xiao Yao. But why does he not want to live now? What happened?”
“You handle your task, as for the culprit….” Zhuan Xu coldly huffed “Even if I have to dig three feet into the ground I would unearth them all.”
Feng Long escorted Jing through the night to reach Qing Qiu. Feng Long lived in Qing Qiu when he was young for many years, growing up alongside Jing, and he was very familiar with the Grand Madam as well. Despite showing up in the middle of the night, he was warmly received and the Grand Madam was summoned.
The Grand Madam was old so didn’t sleep much and was up already but still laying in bed trying to figure out what happened yesterday to make Jing rush out. She was planning to send someone to find him if he wasn’t back by sunrise.
When she heard Feng Long was here, she asked the maid to bring him in.
The maid awkwardly replied “Master Feng Long asked that you go see him.”
The Grand Madam got dressed “Feng Long isn’t a rude young man, there must be a reason he asked this. We have to hurry.”
When she walked into Feng Long’s room, she saw her grandson laying on the pallet and her body shook. Feng Leng quickly said “His injury isn’t severe.”
The Grand Madam calmed down and sat “What happened?”
Feng Long explained about what happened to the Gao Xing Princess exactly as he heard from Xiao Xiao and left off only the part involving Xiang Liu. Feng Long said “The Princess is currently hovering near death and the culprit hasn’t been found yet. All we know is that Jing saved the Princess but why Jing is choosing death and refuses to wake up is unclear. Prince Zhuan Xu asked me to bring Jing back and I also hope Jing will wake up now that he’s home.”
The Grand Madam had the doctor summoned and when the doctor checked Jing, he explaied “Master’s injury is not dire. He’s despondent and all his nerves have frozen up and his insides have suspended animation. This is a situation without any medicine to cure. We can only use spiritual medicines to keep his body alive and then slowly try to coax his spirit back to life.”
Feng Long comforted the Grand Madam “Don’t worry, I know Jing very well. He may seem soft and gentle but his heart is very strong. He will be fine.”
The Grand Madam said nothing and just stared at her grandson.
Jing was missing for ten years and when he came back he refused to say what happened. He insisted on ending the engagement but the Grand Madam wouldn’t agree and used a delay tactic to try and create situations to bring Jing and Yi Yang together. She thought if they spent time together, Yi Yang being so beautiful that Jing would slowly fall for her. Who knew that Jing directly told Yi Yang he wanted to end the engagement and neither she nor Yi Yang could talk him out of it. They even agreed Jing could take a concubine and even if Jing only loved that concubine and refused to sleep with Yi Yang, that was still fine. But Jing still insisted on ending the engagement. The Grand Madam could never understand why, but now she did. If the woman Jing loved was the Princess, then everything made sense.
The Grand Madam was furious and anxious and wanted to smack Jing but the most important thing right now was to keep him alive. She thought and then said to the maid “Jing’s illness must not be leaked.”
The maid confirmed the information has been sealed. Feng Long said “I was very careful coming here, no one knew I brought Jing along with me.”
The Grand Madam said “I have something to ask of you.”
Feng Long replied “If grandmother wants anything, Feng Long will do it, otherwise even my grandfather would beat me up.”
“Take Jing to Little Zhu Rong’s residence and let him recuperate there. I will order Jing Ye and Hu Ya and the family doctor to go along as well to take care of him.”
Feng Long realized that the Grand Madam knew she was old and worried that someone within the Tu Shan residence would try to kill Jing and she couldn’t protect him “Grandmother need not worry. Little Zhu Rong residence is heavily guarded and after what happened, my sister will only tighten the security. I will also assign special guards to protect Jing.”
The Grand Madam patted his hand “Good, good!” Her tears were about to fall, cousins were more like real brothers while real brothers wielded swords against each other.
She added “To keep quiet, hurry up and leave with Jing before sunrise!”
Feng Long concurred “I will. Grandmother please take care, I will have my sister send updates regularly.”
Feng Long brought Jing back to Zhi Yi and after Xing Yue heard what happened, she arranged for Jing to stay in his usual Evergreen Residence.
Other than Jing Ye, Hu Ya, and the doctor, Xing Yue assigned some powerful guards to secretly guard the residence. Feng Long also left some Chi Sui clan guards behind as well to protect Jing.
Back in the Evergreen Residence, Jing Ye felt her master seemed calmer and perhaps the Grand Madam’s decision to send him here ended up really saving his life.
Except every time she remembered what the doctor said she grew frightened. What could have happened to lead to her master becoming so despondent and heartbroken that he wished for death?
Jing Ye slowly figured out the reason and nightly prayed that the Gao Xing Princess who made her master start playing the zither again would not die. If the Princess died, then Jing Ye worried that her master would never wake up again.