I’m sorry for the readers on such a long gap in publishing another translated chapter of Lost You Forever. But I’m not sorry for myself because I desperately needed a breather from the breakneck pace as well as a bit of regrouping on my energy and conviction for this project. It’s sooooo long and once I hit volume three with the last chapter it felt like a giant boulder came crashing down from seeing how far I’ve finished and how much more I need to do to bring this amazing Chinese novel to the English-speaking audience. The sabbatical gave me back my sanity, and time to deal with real life conundrums as convoluted as any K-drama, and now I’m back to hopefully keep on going and stick to my earlier pace. Chapter 34 was actually a good break point if any since it ended as happy as can be for Xiao Yao. She got back together with Jing! The nicest sweetest feller in the vast wilderness and the loverboy she had to pine over for years on end when they broke up.
Xiang Liu shippers might be annoyed Xiao Yao keeps sticking with the reliable and altogether too soft-hearted Jing, but honestly she can’t do any better than him. No girl would marry Zhuan Xu and join his harem, however much Zhuan Xu himself doesn’t even want said harem. The reality is his harem is there and he’s got to do right by them otherwise his empire starts wobbling. And my boy Xiang Liu is about as suitable for a girl to hitch a ride to as a wild stallion with a death wish. I am happy Xiao Yao and Jing managed to destroy Hou and Yi Yang and get back together in one fell swoop. I was tired of Jing constantly being targeted and moping around like a walking dead person, and I need Xiao Yao to start figuring her life out and she can’t do that unless she gets some emotional closure or happiness. Too bad that happiness isn’t going to last long and this chapter brings Xiao Yao’s real identity out in the open in a way big along with a past she can no longer refuse to acknowledge. Luckily her three men are all around to help her deal with it in their own way.
Chapter 35 – Where Did Such Person Come From:
Xiao Yao opened a little medical clinic in a rundown alley in Zhi Yi Castle. It wasn’t her first time opening a clinic but this time wasn’t like in Qing Shui Town when she used the Sheng Nong Herb Manual tricks to earn a living. It also wasn’t like on Five Gods Mountain when she was passing time, this time she was sincerely using her medical skills to save lives.
Xiao Yao practiced medicine at the same time she kept learning, she didn’t go to the class anymore since the medical teaching there wasn’t enough for her needs anymore. She had Zhuan Xu order the best doctor in the Xuan Yuan Palace to personally teach her.
Zhuan Xu smiled: My best doctor is Yin but he’s a mute and hard to communicate with.
Xiao Yao replied: No problem, I can learn sign language.
Yin was a medical savant and thought it a waste of his time to teach Xiao Yao but couldn’t disobey Zhuan Xu’s command. He reluctantly came but after interacting with Xiao Yao he was truly happy that he did come.
Xiao Yao’s medical knowledge could not compare to Yin who learned since childhood, but she wandered the world, lived in the wilderness, and spent hundreds of years delving into poisons. Her personal knowledge of herbs was far greater than Yin’s understanding and she could rattle off anything so Yin felt like he wasn’t teaching Xiao Yao as much as she was teaching him.
In two more months was year end and another new year was arriving.
Jing was alone now but he was still the clan leader and all matters big and small still rested with him. He needed to be in Qing Qiu for the new year so Xiao Yao wanted to wait until after the festivities was over before taking Jing back to Five Gods Mountain for a short stay.
Jing was willing and joked: As long as your dad doesn’t object, I’m at your beck and call.
Xiao Yao took a jade cannister from Jing’s desk and wrote a letter to her dad with a laugh: Dad…..will of course do whatever I want.
Jing waited until Xiao Yao finished the letter before saying: Recently, there is a rumor spreading in the major clans and families. I’m not sure if anyone has told you?
“What is it?”
“Years ago in the Plum Blossom Canyon, it wasn’t just one person who intended to kill you, it was actually four people.”
Xiao Yao casually replied “I know, other than the Mu Fei that my Grandfather executed, there are three more people. Xing Yue said my Gege secretly had them all killed. Because of this, the Gong and the Cheng families were furious with my Gege.”
Jing’s expression was dark “This matter coming up has led to talk about why these four people would disregard their good future ahead and risk getting diced into thousands of pieces by the Yellow Emperor and the Grand Emperor in order to harm you.”
Xiao Yao’s body stiffened, she remembered every word Mu Fei said in the kill maze. She tried to forget it but never really did.
Jing said “These four people only have one thing in common – they are orphans from families exterminated by Qi Yo. So once the rumor has emerged it will only spread like wildfire. The source that wants to spread this rumor will point the finger at……..” Jing paused as if unable to finish the thought.
Xiao Yao laughed “Me being Qi Yo’s bastard daughter, right?”
Since she was small this remained her scariest nightmare. She was frightened to have it confirmed which led her to not return to Five Gods Mountain to reunite with her dad. She had thought it was all over but who knew the nightmare would catch up to her.
“Xiao Yao, don’t call yourself that.”
Xiao Yao looked out the window and her eyes reflected her fear. She knew how to face any danger but right now she really didn’t know how to face this.
Jing said “Very few people knew the truth about what happened back then, if the Gong or Cheng families knew then they would have spread it already and not wait until today. That leaves only Feng Long and Xing Yue………”
Xiao Yao said “If not Feng Long then it’s Xing Tue. I shamed the Chi Sui clan so if they wanted to destroy me that would be understandable.”
Jing said “It’s likelier that it’s Xing Yue.”
Xiao Yao was frazzled and sighed “Forget it! I don’t want to think about it. We can’t stop the rumor and it’s not like I get to decide whose daughter I am. Only my mom can confirm it but she’s not here anymore. Let them say whatever they want!”
Jing Ye reported from outside the room “Master, Shan Hu is here to pick up the Princess.”
Xiao Yao got up and put the letter container in her sleeve “I’m headed back to Xiao Yue Summit.”
Jing accompanied Xiao Yao out the back door where a cloud carriage was waiting with a boy-dressed Shan Hu. Xiao Yao paused and stared at the vines growing on the wall without getting on.
Jing softly asked “What are you worried about?”
Xiao Yao didn’t look at Jing and said in a low voice “If….I’m saying if, everyone believes I’m Qi Yo’s……and everyone hates me, you……”
Jing pulled Xiao Yao into his arms “Don’t ask such silly questions, when you saved me you were just you. Not anyone’s daughter, and I decided then I would be with you until I die.”
Xiao Yao couldn’t help but lightly rest her head on Jing’s shoulder as Jing patted her back “Don’t worry, this will pass soon.”
“Yes!” Xiao Yao smiled at Jing and hurried onto the cloud carriage.
As the cloud carriage rose into the air, a carrier bird arrive and landed on Shan Hu’s shoulder as she asked “Princess, didn’t you have a letter to send to His majesty? The carrier bird is here.”
Xiao Yao tightly clenched the letter container and Shan Hu saw Xiao Yao wasn’t responding “Princess?”
Xiao Yao said “I haven’t written the letter yet.”
Shan Hu was perplexed but didn’t press further and waved for the bird to leave.
That night Zhuan Xu came to Xiao Yue Summit and Xiao Yao wanted to tell him about what Jing told her. Then she realized if Jing knew then there was no way Zhuan Xu didn’t know. If he didn’t say anything to her then it was for her not to worry about it. If Zhuan Xu can stop the rumor and make it go away, then there was no need to worry her over it. If Zhuan Xu couldn’t stop it, then telling her now made no difference.
Xiao Yao decided not to confer with Zhuan Xu about this. Since she couldn’t do anything, let Zhuan Xu take care of it!
Due to her childhood experiences, Xiao Yao was naturally pessimistic and always expected the worst. This time, perhaps due to the people helping her being Zhuan Xu and Jing, the Black Emperor and the Tu Shan clan leader, even the normally pessimistic Xiao Yao couldn’t help but feel hopeful – the rumors would be quashed and everything would return to normal.
But in less than a month, the rumor that Xiao Yao was Qi Yo’s bastard daughter exploded wide open in the vast wilderness.
When everyone heard this rumor, naturally two sides formed. One side believed it and one side didn’t. Those who didn’t believe it scoffed at how absurd the rumor was. The best evidence was the Xuan Yuan Princess killed Qi Yo herself. Those who believed it had their own evidence, the ones who saw Qi Yo before tried to remember what he looked like and created a portrait of him and his picture convinced them that Xiao Yao looked more like Qi Yo.
Gradually more and more details added to the uncontrollable rumor, with some unable to accept how the Xuan Yuan Princess who killed Qi Yo could have bore him a child so some speculated that the vicious Qi Yo raped the Xuan Yuan Princess.
In Gao Xing, the Grand Emperor’s esteem led to people there choosing to believe his determination that Xiao Yao was his daughter. But privately they couldn’t help being angry at the Princess who was bringing speculative shame to Gao Xing and wished that she was never found.
In Xuan Yuan, the hatred of Qi Yo was so overwhelming that more and more people started leaning towards believing that Xiao Yao was Qi Yo’s bastard.
Qi Yo led the Sheng Nong army and laid siege to Xuan Yuan Castle. He killed and plundered and his soldiers stacked dead Xuan Yuan bodies as high as a mountain. Almost every Xuan Yuan family had someone die under Qi Yo’s hands and the Xuan Yuan elders hated him to the bone.
The Middle Plains families also hated Qi Yo. He was brutal and relentless and also killed countless in the Middle Plains. Many entire families were wiped out by him and even the Six Big Families had to beg before him. This shame and rage lasted through the centuries and the hatred for Qi Yo never abated.
There were very few common elements between the Xuan Yuan and the Middle Plains families, but on the hatred of Qi Yo, both sides were in complete alignment. The entire Xuan Yuan kingdom hated Qi Yo from top to bottom but his death left no one for them to release the rage towards. All they could do was spit on his memory. Now that Qi Yo’s daughter appeared, people had a concrete target for their rage and all the long simmering pain was awakened and they all transferred their hatred of Qi Yo onto Xiao Yao.
Of course those in high places remained rational about this while those without power had no ability to harm Xiao Yao. Ultimately it didn’t matter who her dad was, she was still the Yellow Emperor’s granddaughter and this was an unassailable fact. They transformed their rage into curses and from restaurants to docks there was the relentless cursing of Xiao Yao. Some brazen Middle Plains families even gathered at the base of Sheng Nong Mountain and yelled “Qi Yo’s bastard get out of Sheng Nong Mountain!”
All sorts of pleadings reached Zhuan Xu, some tactful and other boldly, all aiming for the same goal of having Zhuan Xu send the Gao Xing Eldest Princess back to Gao Xing.
Xiao Yao bitterly smiled, they hated her because they believed she wasn’t the Grand Emperor’s daughter, then why ask to send her back to Gao Xing? Were they hoping the Grand Emperor would believe the rumor and have her killed?
The year end was arriving but Xiao Yao never mentioned to Jing again to go back to Five Gods Mountain.
The Grand Emperor sent Xiao Yao four letters, none of them were long but contained unbridled love. The Grand Emperor didn’t pretend he didn’t know about the rumors and brought it up himself, comforting Xiao Yao not to worry about it.
Xiao Yao placed his letters under her pillow and slept every night curled against them as it formed a protective barrier to keep the hurtful gossip at bay.
On the last day of the year, Jing had to return to Qing Qiu to leave a clan prayer ceremony while Zhuan Xu held a banquet on Zhi Jin Peak for his hundreds of officials.
Xiao Yao spent it on Xiao Yue Summit with the Yellow Emperor, one young one old the two of them enjoyed a table of food and happily chatted as they waited for the new year to arrive.
At midnight, the skies on Zhi Jin Peak lit up with thousands of fireworks that brightened the entire night. Xiao Yao ran to the window to watch the fireworks and the Yellow Emperor also got off the pallet and stood behind Xiao Yao to watch the pink and purple lights explode and then disappear like the world’s most elusive dream.
Xiao Yao’s voice floated over in the sound of the thunderous explosions “Grandfather, whose daughter am I?”
The Yellow Emperor placed his hand on Xiao Yao’s shoulder and said nothing for the longest time. Xiao Yao lowered her head waiting for his answer. After some time, the Yellow Emperor said “You are the granddaughter of the founding Emperor of the Xuan Yuan Kingdom and his Empress Lei Zhu. This will never change. As long as I am there, Xuan Yuan will forever be your home!”
Xiao Yao sighed “So Grandfather doesn’t know either.”
The Yellow Emperor shook Xiao Yao “Don’t care about what others say, you are still you!”
Xiao Yao raised her head and smiled at the exploding fireworks “This is fine. Since Mom is dead, no one will ever know the truth. I believe I’m my Dad’s daughter and that’s enough!”
In the middle of the night, Xiao Yao was long in bed when she heard the sound of her room door opening and Zhuan Xu sitting down on her pallet.
Xiao Yao didn’t want him to know she was worried and couldn’t sleep so pretended to be asleep and kept her back towards Zhuan Xu. In the darkness the thick smell of alcohol emanated from Zhuan Xu, likely his officials and courtiers plied him with god knows how much to drink.
After some time he laid down and lightly embraced Xiao Yao through her blanket and said in a low voice “Don’t be scared. I won’t let them harm you. They don’t understand that everything that I have is also yours. Sheng Nong Mountain, Zhe Province, Zhi Yi….it’s all yours. No one can make you leave.”
Xiao Yao bit her lip, likely the Middle Plains folks said more to Zhuan Xu and he was controlling his anger.
Zhuan Xu was drunk so likely couldn’t figure out past and present and he murmured “Don’t be scared, I’m all grown up now and no one can harm you. I won’t let you go to Jade Mountain……you’ll be with me forever!”
“Auntie, I can protect Xiao Yao, don’t send Xiao Yao to Jade Mountain….”
“Auntie, I already told Xiao Yao that we would be together forever…..Xiao Yao, don’t leave! Auntie, I’m scared……”
Zhuan Xu fell asleep drunk while Xiao Yao’s tears silently fell but she didn’t know what she was crying for. The young boy of the past or the her of today.
The first full moon night of the new year, Xiao Yao proactively suggested going to Zhi Yi Castle to view the lanterns. Jing and Zhuan Xu naturally agreed.
Zhuan Xu came to Xiao Yue Summit in the afternoon dressed in a cotton attire while Xiao Yao dressed as a boy and wore a hat. Jing also changed into burlap and the three left Sheng Nong Mountain on an ox-drawn carriage. They arrived and mingled with the crowds in Zhi Yi Castle, ambling to look at the lanterns.
Xiao Yao looked at Jing, and then at Zhuan Xu, and started laughing “What do we remind you guys of today?”
Zhuan Xu and Jing exchanged a glance and Jing smiled while Zhuan Xu said “A bit like our time in Qing Shui Town.”
Xiao Yao beamed “Exactly!”
A little boy rode on his father’s shoulder and said “Daddy, you have to buy me candy when we get into the castle!” The father responded “Of course!”
A flicker of concern flickered across Xiao Yao’s face.
They entered the castle and it was nearly dark. Zhuan Xu said “The lanterns haven’t been lit yet. How about let’s get something to eat. Xiao Yao, what do you want to eat?”
Sitting for so long, her body was chilled so she laughed “Grilled meat of course, washed down with bowls of hard liquor.”
Zhuan Xu laughed and said to Jing “Last time you were going to treat but you took off midway. This is the perfect chance to make it up.” The last time the three of them made plans to have grilled meat was in Qing Shui Town but due to the sudden appearance of Fang Feng Yi Yang, it ended up being just Xiao Yao and Zhuan Xu going.
Jing smiled “You still remember? Sure!”
After deciding what to eat, the two men were at wits end. One was the Emperor and the other Clan Leader, they were no longer Xuan and Shi Qi. They didn’t know where the good places to eat in town were anymore.
Xiao Yao smiled and shook her head “Come with me!”
Xiao Yao led them into an alley and entered a grilled meat restaurant “This is the best one I’ve ever eaten in terms of taste and cleanliness, but I haven’t been in a long time so not sure if the taste is the same.”
All the restaurants in the alleys and corners were places that Fang Feng Bei took her to. Faced with the two people closest to her, Xiao Yao didn’t try to hide it but her voice revealed a bit of anxiousness. Both Zhuan Xu and Jing were brilliant minds and immediately figured out that Xiao Yao came in the past with Fang Feng Bei. Zhuan Xu patted Xiao Yao on the shoulder indicating for her not to over think it while Jing merely silently sighed.
The store had a partition that closed off the inside area and since they arrived early, they took the secluded seat and later customers wouldn’t even be able to see them inside. The three ordered lamb and beef and jugs of wine. The fire was burning hot and the stiff drinks flowed into their stomachs. Zhuan Xu was especially enjoying himself and sighed “It’s been so many years since I’ve enjoyed myself like this. Later I should come back often.”
Xiao Yao turned the meat and muttered “Someone wants too much, there is no way that everything good in this world will be all enjoyed by you.”
Zhuan Xu was taken aback and then stared long and hard at Xiao Yao with a smile “Who says so? I purposely want it all!”
Xiao Yao placed a grilled meat in his plate “If you want it all then take it! The people you’re tormenting is Xiao Xiao and them, not me!”
Zhuan Xu flicked her on the forehead “So sassy! You always get the last word!”
Xiao Yao glared at Zhuan Xu while Jing pointed to his own empty plate and playfully said in woe to Zhuan Xu “She’s only mouthy with you but you get all the good, while she’s all sweet smiles and joking to others but doesn’t give any good.”
Zhuan Xu smiled and picked up his meat but Xiao Yao moved it over to Jing’s plate. Jing smiled “Thanks!”
Zhuan Xu paused and then smiled wanly to Xiao Yao “Grill me another plate.”
Xiao Yao was busy seasoning and retorted “You grill your own because I need to feed my sassy mouth otherwise where would the sass come from.”
Zhuan Xu pleaded in a soft voice “Grilling my own meat doesn’t taste as good as when you grill it.”
Xiao Yao said nothing but when the meat was done, she placed it all on Zhuan Xu’s plate.
Three large men walked into the store and was seated next to them. Zhuan Xu and Jing said nothing more and just listened to them order. In addition to meat, they also ordered vegetables and in this season vegetables were way more expensive than meat. Xiao Yao only ordered meat so as to not attract attention, so the group that just arrived were either wealthy or nobility.
Their accent was clearly Xuan Yuan and Xiao Yao whispered to Zhuan Xu “Do you know them?”
Zhuan Xu nodded and then wrote two words on the table “General.”
Xiao Yao stuck her tongue out at Zhuan Xu, who told you to summon them to Sheng Nong Mountain?
After they ordered suddenly all noise stopped from their side. Likely it was a spell so that others couldn’t hear what they were talking about.
Xiao Yao muttered “Must be something secret.”
She scooted closer to Jing “Not fair, I was afraid of getting attention so didn’t place a spell and they ended up placing the spell. If they are discussing Gege, that’ll be interesting.” Xiao Yao pulled Jing’s sleeve “I want to hear what they are saying, do you have a way?”
Jing smiled “There’s a way!” He held a cup of wine and it became a white mist that traveled over to the other side and disappeared.
The voices traveled over and it wasn’t anything secretive or important, just comparing the new capital Zhi Yi Castle with the old capital Xuan Yuan Castle. All three were rational folks who may love their hometown but all agreed the new capital was better suited as the capital for the growing Kingdom. From their address of each other, Xiao Yao deduced that the oldest was the Great General Li Yuan, the other two, one was his brother-in-law and the other his nephew.
They chatted some more about the capital and then talk turned to the Yellow Emperor. One sighed “Who knows if we’ll be able to see the Yellow Emperor.”
The other replied “We won’t but maybe uncle can see His majesty.”
Xiao Yao smiled at Zhuan Xu who wrote “Li Yuan, the guarding general of Zhe Province. He followed Grandfather in conquering the Middle Plains…..” his hand paused before continuing “In the Yi Province big battle, he fought under Auntie.”
Xiao Yao’s smile evaporated.
The three started drinking and one asked “Brother-in-law, you fought with the Princess General in winning the Yi Province battle. You must’ve had some close ties with her?”
Princess General was the special way the Xuan Yuan forces who fought with her Mom called her. Xiao Yao tried to act nonchalant but her ears perked up to try and catch what Li Yuan said. But Yi Yuan said nothing for a long time before saying “That battle, it’s hard to say we won.” His words seem to bring back the pain from hundreds of years ago and everyone with him silently drank.
After a period of silence, another voice asked “Uncle, not sure if you heard the recent rumors? The stuff about the Gao Xing Eldest Princess.”
LI Yuan’s voice was calm and Xiao Yao’s body leaned closer.
“Uncle was friends with the Princess General. Then…” The man’s voice paused awkwardly before saying “Whose daughter is the Gao Xing Eldest Princess?”
Li Yuan said nothing while Xiao Yao’s body was tense and stiff. Jing held her hand, she didn’t notice it but subconsciously grabbed it back.
Another older male voice asked “Brother-in-law, it’s just us three close family here, what can’t you say?”
Li Yuan finally spoke “I’m not good friends with the Princess General, it’s General Ying Long who was deeply close to her as friends. Years ago I reported to her but never spoke with her privately. I don’t know whose daughter the Gao Xing Eldest Princess really is.”
Xiao Yao’s body relaxed and she felt weak.
Suddenly Li Yuan’s voice spoke again: One morning, General Ying Long took me to check on the army base camp and there was loud noise from outside the camp. We rushed there to see the Princess and Qi Yo being surrounded in the middle by Qi Yo’s troops….
Xiao Yao’s body shook as if not wanting to hear more and Jing tried to pull back the spell but she grabbed his hand with her eyes wide open like a beast staring at the distance with all her senses engaged.
“Qi Yo’s troops were loudly raging and it took me awhile to understand what they were upset about. Turns out the Princess and Qi Yo didn’t come back last night and they saw them returning together this morning. They even saw them embracing in farewell. They were interrogating Qi Yo who said nothing. General Ying Long yelled back at the other side and soon the crowd was about to disperse when suddenly the Princess yelled out to everyone “I am in love with Qi Yo.” We were all stunned and though she forgot to add the word “not” in there. But the Princess loudly added “I’ve loved Qi Yo for hundreds of years!” Her voice was so loud as if she wanted the entire world to hear it.”
Like she was in the grips of a nightmare, Xiao Yao was so frightened she couldn’t move and the voices appeared to be coming from far away.
“W…..wh…..Why? Qi Yo….Qi Yo is a big demon devil!” The young man’s voice stuttered and was filled with woe, unable to accept that the idol Princess General who died for her country and people could have liked Qi Yo. He would have rather that she was raped by him.
Li Yuan’s normally calm voice grew harsh “I know you both are asking not because of the rumors, but also because folks are pressuring you to join in harming the Gao Xing Eldest Princess. I’m warning you now – NO! As long as General Ying Long and I are alive, no one in my army can ever harm the daughter of the Princess General!”
“No buts!” Li Yuan’s voice carried ten tons of weight as befitting a seasoned soldier of the battlefield.
Both men immediately responded like soldiers “Yes!”
Li Yuan’s voice returned to calm “There is much hardship and difficult choices in life that you guys haven’t experienced before so you don’t understand. The Princess gave up everything so you guys will never need to experience it. Qi Yo….he was our enemy but he was worthy of the Princess to love!” After saying that Li Yuan got up and left.
The other two sat for a moment before running out after him.
“Xiao Yao, Xiao Yao…..”
Xiao Yao raised her head and saw Zhuan Xu and Jing worriedly looking at her. Xiao Yao’s lips moved but her throat was dry and no words came out. Jing handed water to her but she shook her head but accepted the bowl of wine from Zhuan Xu. She gulped down the wine and when the burning went through her tongue she felt like she was alive again.
It was dark already and the lanterns lit up the street. Xiao Yao was sitting straight and didn’t look at Jing or Zhuan Xu, only looking out the window.
After a long time, she was unusually calm but also very certain “I am Qi Yo’s daughter!”
Zhuan Xu hurriedly said “Xiao Yao, it doesn’t matter whose daughter you are, you are the dearest person to me.”
Jing slowly said “Xiao Yao, when we first me, you were just you, not anyone’s daughter. In the future, it doesn’t matter whose daughter you are, you’re still just you.”
Xiao Yao stood up and walked outside. Zhuan Xu and Jing followed but she said “I want to be alone, you guys don’t follow me!”
Both Jing and Zhuan Xu stopped in their tracks and watched her leave.
After Xiao Yao walked far, a little astral white fox jumped out of Jing’s sleeve and disappeared into the night. Zhuan Xu walked out of the restaurant and said to his personal guards “Send a few to protect the Princess.”
Zhuan Xu coolly said to Jing “The guards will take Xiao Yao back to Xiao Yue Summit, you head back to rest!”
Zhuan Xu was leaving when Jing asked “Your majesty, why did you do that?”
Zhuan Xu slowly turned back around. The crowds were rushing past below the steps but on the steps, either the guards were keeping a barrier or there simply was no one else headed that way, it was oddly silent with only Jing and Zhuan Xu staring at each other under the lamp light.
Zhuan Xu had a mocking smile on the corner of his lips “How did you find out?”
Jing said “I initially thought it was the Empress since she wants to hurt Xiao Yao and has the power to spread the rumors. I thought Your majesty would be working to staunch the rumors but as much as I tried, even using the power of the three clans of Xi Ling, Gui Fang, and Tu Shan, it could not stop the rumors. I realized it didn’t appear to be the Empress since the power behind the rumors was too great. Tonight it appears Xiao Yao made all the choices but if Your majesty wanted Xiao Yao to be undisturbed, then General Li Yuan and his group would not have been able to enter the restaurant. The only explanation is that Your majesty wanted Xiao Yao to accidentally meet General Li Yuan’s group.”
Zhuan Xu calmly said “Feng Long told me once that you are smarter than anyone he knows. I didn’t really believe him then but today it appears you deserve Feng Long’s praise.”
Jing said “Your majesty, it’s not Xiao Yao being not smart enough to figure it out, it’s that she will never ever believe that you would hurt her.”
Zhuan Xu’s smile vanished and he coldly said “I did it because I want to protect her.”
Jing already knew Zhuan Xu’s intentions but to have it confirmed still shook him to the core. He silently stepped off the steps and bid farewell “Your humble citizen I shall be going.”
Xiao Yao wandered with the lantern viewing crowds and didn’t have a destination in mind. She didn’t know how many streets she walked or how many lanterns she saw. She wandered down a decrepit alley until she was standing in front of a ramshackle door and she realized that this was where she wanted to go all along.
Xiao Yao pushed open the door but instead of the fragrant donkey meat cooking in the yard it was cold and empty inside. That old one-armed man who cooked delicious donkey meat, he wasn’t cooking it anymore?
Xiao Yao walked into the courtyard where it was pitch black with no sign of life. The moon reflected down on the tables stacked in the corner which was covered in dust.
Xiao Yao knocked on the door “Is anyone here? Old uncle, old uncle….”
No one answered and Xiao Yao walked into the residence where an altar was set up on the table and three burning incense sticks was lit before it. This tableau told her exactly where the old man had gone.
Xiao Yao stood there for awhile before walking inside and sitting down on the pallet.
The residence was already old but having no one live in it gave it a musty scent but Xiao Yao didn’t want to leave. Perhaps this was the only place that welcomed her.
Xiao Yao stared at the altar and silently sat there for awhile before suddenly asking “Old uncle, they said you were once a general for Qi Yo, you must be very familiar with him! Did you ever meet my mom before? Actually I’ve wanted to come talk to you for a long time but I never had the guts to do it! I avoided anything related to Qi Yo but now I can’t avoid it any longer. I finally have the courage to come ask you – what kind of person was Qi Yo? Is he really a demon devil bastard like everyone says he is? Did he ever talk about my mom with you? Did he know of my existence? I have so many questions to ask you, but you’re already gone……..”
Xiao Yao leaned against the wall and closed her eyes, her tears broke through the sea wall and flooded her face.
The donkey meat cooking old general was the only person left in the world who knew Qi Yo. She had thousands of opportunities to come ask him but she didn’t come, and now she was here it was already too late.
Xiao Yao opened her mouth to scream in pain but no sound came out. The utmost pain mixed with her suppression caused her entire body to quake “Old uncle, everyone hates him, everyone hates him! I also hate him…..but I just want to hear one person who didn’t hate him tell me about him. Tell me that I shouldn’t hate him. I want to know what kind of person he was….. Old uncle, no matter where I go everyone curses him and you’re likely the only person in the world who doesn’t curse him. But now you’re gone as well…… I hate him! I hate him……..”
Xiao Yao kept repeating “I hate him” – she hated Qi Yo for bringing such shame to her mom and her, she hated that he never once gave her a father’s care and love, she hated even more that they abandoned her. If they didn’t want her, why give birth to her?
But coming here tonight, she didn’t want to say “I hate him”, she desperately wanted someone to give her a reason not to hate, a reason so she could candidly face the world cursing and spitting upon her.
But, the last person was also gone! All she knew about her dad was the world’s curses!
In her teary eyes, Xiao Yao saw a shape appear from the corner of the dark room. Xiao Yao immediately used her arms to cover her face and wipe away her tears.
“Who are you? Why are you hiding there?” Xiao Yao’s voice was scratchy but she was already calm.
The shadow didn’t speak but also didn’t leave, instead it walked over to the pallet.
Xiao Yao didn’t raise her head but clearly felt it, the other heart was walking towards her and beating with her heart “Xiang Liu!”
Xiao Yao lifted her head and saw Xiang Liu dressed all in black with a black cloak covered him, wrapping his entire form snugly in pure black. He seemed like an imposing but ordinary person, until the slight gap in his hat showed a few white hairs.
Xiao Yao suddenly realized he saw her earlier crying and loss of composure and felt very awkward so she coldly asked “Why are you hiding here? To see something you can mock?”
Xiang Liu said “Be reasonable, okay? I came to pay my respects to a departed old friend and you suddenly barged in. It’s you who interrupted me! Furthermore, what is there about you that is worth mocking?”
“Didn’t General Xiang Liu hear that I’m the bastard daughter of Qi Yo?”
Xiang Liu laughed and his cold expression softened a bit “So it’s that business! What’s so mockworthy about that? Tell me.”
Xiao Yao angrily glared at Xiang Liu but with her cheeks still streaked with tears this glare was totally weak.
Xiang Liu sat down beside her and laughed “Looks like the rumors are true, you really are the dear daughter of the Great General Qi Yo.”
“Shut up!” Xiao Yao lowered her head to ignore him.
“Suddenly changing a dad, and into one that is reviled by the entire world, that would indeed be hard to accept.”
“You might not know anything about Qi Yo but you know your mom. Since she chose him, you ought to trust her taste!”
“I said to shut up!”
“No matter what, you know who your parents are and that’s better off than me! I’m a demon that came out of an egg, I have zero clue who my parents are.”
Xiao Yao raised her head to look at Xiang Liu trying to ascertain whether he was telling the truth. Xiang Liu earnestly said “You know I have nine heads and at most I eat more than others. Since I was small I scrounged around for food and my days were absolutely the pits. I’d get beaten and chased and almost killed. My nine heads would sometimes fight with each other. One time I was so hungry one head almost ate another head……..”
Xiao Yao’s eyes widened into saucers “Really?”
“Of course not!”
“You——–” Xiao Yao was so exasperated she almost expired on the spot.
Xiang Liu kept on talking earnestly “I remember someone said to me once “people are so weird, whether lucky or unlucky, happy or unhappy, it’s all based on comparing with others.” I’m just telling you about my even more horrible past so that you can see your life is pretty good in comparison!”
Xiao Yao remembered that the person was her and she grumbled “I didn’t make stuff up though!”
“Coming out of an egg was true, having nine heads is true, the rest…..” Xiang Liu rapped himself on the head and muttered “I was making it up so well…what else did I say?”
Xiao Yao didn’t know if she ought to cry to laugh but the pain in her heart really had lessened a lot.
Xiang Liu asked “Do you want me to tell you more about my pitiful past so that you can feel like having a big demon devil for a dad isn’t that big of a deal?”
Xiao Yao’s eyes opened wide and she asked “Did you ever meet Qi Yo?” Maybe because Xiang Liu was also a world renowned demon devil it was easier for her to talk about Qi Yo with him.
“No, when I started to follow my adoptive father, Qi Yo was already dead.”
“How was the relationship between Gong Gong and Qi Yo?”
“Really bad back then, almost hated foes. But after Qi Yo died and my adoptive father would pay respects to Zhu Rong, he would always also pay respects to Qi Yo.” Xiang Liu laughed in mockery “You can’t have expected those guys to have been on good terms back then. If they got along then Sheng Nong would have never been destroyed.”
Xiao Yao was silent before suddenly asking “Xiang Liu, why did you pick Gong Gong? Because he’s your adoptive father?” Xiao Yao didn’t know how she had the guts to ask him this question, probably because Xiang Liu didn’t seem like Xiang Liu tonight!
“Not just because he’s my adoptive father, there are also all those soldiers I fought along with and watched them die. We drank together, we went to battle together, we picked up our fallen brethren’s bodies…..” Xiang Liu looked over at the altar “For hundreds of years, do you know how many of my fellow soldiers I’ve have to personally cremate?”
Xiao Yao couldn’t imagine but she understood what Xiang Liu felt. Her Fourth Uncle could have survived that day, and he did love Fourth Aunt and Zhuan Xu, but he chose to die alongside his soldiers. In this world there was camaraderie so strong that one would die rather than abandon it.
Xiang Liu laughed and pointed at his head “I’ve lost count but they are all here.”
Xiao Yao buried her head in her lap and grew silent. She felt her heart all jumbled and she didn’t know if it was for Xiang Liu or for herself.
“What are you thinking about?”
“As Qi Yo’s daughter, there is no place in the world for me.”
Xiang Liu lifted Xiao Yao’s head “If you have nowhere then you can always go out to sea. The ocean is so vast that there will be a place for you.”
Xiao Yao remembered that she had the ability of a sea demon now and the endless ocean might be a nightmare for others but was paradise for her. If Xuan Yuan and Gao Xing didn’t have a place for her, she could always go to the sea. Having discovered a secret passage that no one else knew that could save her life, Xiao Yao suddenly felt a sliver of calm.
She stared at Xiang Liu and the man before her was that dissolute wastrel but the moment she was about to become torn again a strand of white hair fell that reminded her exactly who he was. Xiao Yao softly stroked his hair and said “This place is not safe to stay, pay your respects and hurry off!”
Because she just cried, Xiao Yao’s eyes were extraordinarily clear and bright. Xiang Liu could clearly see himself reflected in her eyes so he covered her eyes with his hand “I’m off!”
Xiao Yao felt a soft coolness brush over her forehead, a brief touch that immediately vanished. Xiao Yao clasped her forehead in shock and opened her eyes to see the room was already empty before her.
Mistaken illusion! It was a mistaken illusion!
Xiang Liu vaulted out of of the room and onto the courtyard wall to see that it was dense fog all outside and nowhere he could go.
Xiang Liu turned around with a smile to see Jing standing there dressed in blue. He asked with a chuckle “Tu Shan clan leader, was it interesting to eavesdrop? I didn’t tell her you were listening in back there so why are you using a mystical fog to make it difficult for me?”
Jing calmly said “If you don’t want to run into Zhuan Xu’s personal guards, head North because I left a path open there.”
“Looks like I misunderstood clan leader’s intentions, thank you!” Xiang Liu fixed his hat and changed his face before vaulting North.
Jing said “Thank you.”
Xiang Liu abruptly stopped in his tracks and turned back “What is the Tu Shan clan leader’s thanks for? I ought to listen carefully in case I miss something of value in the future.”
Jing smiled “Thank you for comforting her. I’ll definitely offer something of value but the question is whether you’ll want it?”
Xiang Liu said in half serious half joking tone “Of course I want it, but ——— not from you!”
Jing’s expression changed while Xiang Liu laughed out loud and disappeared into the fog.
In the cold dark room, Xiao Yao sat there in a daze.
A person walked in from outside and as he walked, all the lamps lit up in the room like he was bringing light to Xiao Yao. She was surprised and called out “Jing!”
Jing placed a fox fur cape on Xiao Yao which was when she realized she was actually cold and she pulled the cape around her tightly.
Jing lit the three remaining incense sticks and said “Let’s pay our respects together to Uncle Li Jie!”
Xiao Yao and Jing bowed together.
After paying their respects Jing said “There are many things we can decide but we can’t decide on our parents. Don’t torment yourself for something you can’t decide.”
Before Xiao Yao could respond, Xiao Xiao walked in with a bow “Princess, it’s very late so let your servant I escort you back to Xiao Yue Summit so the two Majesties don’t start worrying.”
Xiao Yao looked at Jing who said gently “I’ll come see you tomorrow.”
Xiao Yao forced a smile “Okay.”
When Xiao Yao returned to Xiao Yue Summit, she saw the Yellow Emperor and Zhuan Xu sitting by her lamplight.
The Yellow Emperor let out of sigh of relief to see Xiao Yao and his exhaustion showed on his face. He took his servants arm “I’m going to rest.”
Zhuan Xu walked up to Xiao Yao and saw her face red with the cold and placed his hand on her shoulder to use his power to warm her. After her body was warm, Zhuan Xu took off her cloak and hat.
Miao Pu rushed in with a steaming bowl of soup “Princess, please use….”
Xiao Yao overturned the bowl and she was always easygoing and never got angry so Miao Pu immediately kneeled down “Your servant deserves death!”
Xiao Yao wearily said “Not you but me! Never call me Princess from now on!”
Miao Pu was so frightened she could only nod her head while Zhuan Xu sent her out and she quickly scurried out.
Zhuan Xu dragged Xiao Yao to the pallet and sat her down “Princess, after being out all night, sit down and rest.”
Xiao Yao glared at Zhuan Xu and wanted to shake his hand off but he refused to let go and smiled back at her.
Xiao Yao was furious “You know I’m not…..you still……are you trying to gang up with everyone else on me!”
Zhuan Xu said “How are you not? I can announce tomorrow to the entire world that you are the Xuan Yuan Princess. If you want to be a regional king that is fine as well. Pick any region under my control and I’ll assign it to you.”
Xiao Yao was exasperated “Stop making more problems for me! I’m so frustrated right now!”
Zhuan Xu asked “Do you really care that you’re not a Princess anymore?”
“You know I don’t care about that at all…..aish I’m so tired!” Xiao Yao felt her body and soul was tired and she laid her head on Zhuan Xu’s shoulder without moving for the longest time like she was sleeping. Zhuan Xu also didn’t move and let her rest on him.
After a long time Xiao Yao’s low voice spoke “Do you still hate your mom? You own it all now and no one can ever be mean to you. Do you hate her less than when you were small?”
“I still dream about her committing suicide in front of me. No matter how much power I have, I still can’t stop her from plunging the dagger into her chest, I still can only watch the blood soak her gown, I still can do nothing when she jumped into my dad’s grave.”
Xiao Yao yelled “I hate her!” but the her she was referring to wasn’t Zhuan Xu’s mom but her own mom.
Zhuan Xu didn’t know how to unknot Xiao Yao’s anger because he couldn’t do it for himself. They were the people closest and dearest to them and neither Xiao Yao nor he wanted to hate them. They wanted to forgive them but who could give them a reason to do so?
Xiao Yao said “I was small then but I still remember every time my mom met Qi Yo. I think….I’ve always known the truth deep down. That’s why I was willing to wander the world rather than return to Five Gods Mountain. Hearing what Li Yuan said tonight, it made me sad but also like a heavy burden was lifted and I feel a sense of relief. I don’t need to hide it anymore. Even though I’m loath to give up my Emperor dad’s love, but I don’t want to keep lying to him anymore!”
Zhuan Xu lightly stroked Xiao Yao’s back “Xiao Yao, it’s not your fault.”
Xiao Yao smiled bitterly “I always wondered why put the Face Forming Flower in my body to turn me faceless and now I know it had to be my mom! She wanted to conceal my true face. It’s so ridiculous! Since I was born everything was a lie. The two of them died so dramatically, one reviled by all and one idolized by all, and all they left me are lies! Gege, do you think they thought about me before they died together? Do you think they were even a little bit loath to leave me behind?”
“Xiao Yao, I can’t answer for them but I know that I can never bear to leave you.”
Xiao Yao softly said “I know.”
The two of them leaned against each other like they did when they were kids. Back then Xiao Yao was Zhuan Xu’s support so he knew she was always there for him when his parents were gone, but now it was Zhuan Xu as Xiao Yao’s support so that she knew even if the entire world reviled her he would still be by her side.
In the middle of the Spring month, the Grand Emperor proclaimed to the world that Gao Xing Jiu Yao would be stricken from the Gao Xing family ledger. The entire world was stunned.
Even though the rumor was spread far and wide, it was still a matter that happened hundreds of years ago. Other than the Xuan Yuan Princess coming back to life to tell the truth, there was no way to confirm it either way. What the Grand Emperor did appeared to be punishing Xiao Yao, but in truth he was taking all the shame of being cuckholded on himself.
Since Xiao Yao was born she had one of the most illustrious and powerful last names in the vast wilderness: Gao Xing. Even when she was wandering the world and had no face, she knew she was Gao Xing Jiu Yao. But in an instant she lost her last name and became someone as low as a slave who had no last name.
Xiao Yao took out the letters her dad wrote to her during the rumor period and smiled bitterly at how he changed in a few months from not believing the rumors to believing it and taking everything away from her. No! She can’t call him dad anymore! He had no relationship to her anymore, she needed to call him Your majesty.
Xiao Yao handed the letters to Jing “Destroy these for me!”
Jing didn’t do that and instead put it in his sleeve.
Xiao Yao didn’t care and said “This is fine, I wanted to take you to Five Gods Mountain but now you don’t need to win over that Emperor and don’t need to worry about the officials and citizens objecting.”
Shan Hu quietly came in with tea before leaving silently. Xiao Yao sipped her tea and sighed while Jing asked “Are you worried about Shan Hu?”
“I want to send her back but she’s served me for tens of years and everyone knows she’s my maid. The Gao Xing people see me as a shame to them and after she goes back her days will be tough. I want to keep her but I can’t find a good reason.”
Jing said “If she was an orphan then it would be fine but she has siblings in Gao Xing so keeping her in Xuan Yuan wasn’t good for her family.”
Xiao Yao was surprised Jing already dug up such detailed background on Shan Hu “What do you propose?”
“Tu Shan clan has many businesses in Gao Xing and some cater specifically to women and need a female proprietor. Shan Hu worked in the palace for many years and knows her jewelry and would be suitable to work at a jewelry store. Working for the Tu Shan clan, most people wouldn’t dare be difficult with her. I’ll tell Ru So as well and he’ll keep an eye on taking care of her.”
“That sounds like a plan.”
Xiao Yao called Shan Hu in and told her about the idea. Shan Hu heard the store was close to where her parents live and burst into tears. It was also difficult for her during this period and she didn’t know what to do either. Having Xiao Yao and Jing understand and take care of her made her eternally grateful to them.
Shan Hu agreed to the plan and Xiao Yao her off to pack so she could leave the mountain with Jing later.
Xiao Yao grabbed Jing’s hand when they were alone and said “You keep helping me like this, I’ll grow lazy.”
Jing laughed “You were going to make me some pills for external wounds for You and them to use. Is it done yet?”
“Ai ya! I totally forgot!”
Jing said “Do you have time to make it now? I can help you.”
Xiao Yao said “I’ve been sequestered here by my grandfather and Zhuan Xu, the only thing I have plenty of is time.”
She rushed out to gather her things and her furrowed brow relaxed which was when Jing also inwardly let out a sigh of relief.
When Zhuan Xu arrived at Xiao Yue Summit, he saw Xiao Yao and Jing making pills together.
Zhuan Xu greeted them with a smile before going to see the Yellow Emperor. Soon the sound of arguing reached them and Xiao Yao was stunned as she whispered to Jing “This is the first time ever!”
Xiao Yao listened in and the argument was over her. The Yellow Emperor wanted to give her the Xuan Yuan last name to make her officially the Xuan Yuan Princess and have the most powerful last name in the world. But Zhuan Xu wanted to give her the Xi Ling last name because the world would know she was the Xuan Yuan family blood anyways. The Xuan Yuan people would not dare touch Xiao Yao since she was the bloodline of the Yellow Emperor and Empress Lei Zhu. But the Middle Plains folks didn’t necessary fear and idolize the Xuan Yuan last name as much whereas the Xi Ling clan was one of the Four Great Clans and had greater influence over the Middle Plains. Only with the Xi Ling last name could Xiao Yao be safe from the ire of the Middle Plains.
The pair of grandfather-grandson was actually getting into a raging argument over whether she should be called Xuan Yuan Jiu Yao or Xi Ling Jiu Yao and finally Xiao Yao had enough and ran to their room “Did you guys ask me what I want?”
Both looked over at Xiao Yao and realized they hadn’t asked her opinion yet. Zhaun Xu said “Grandfather, I can’t convince you so let Xiao Yao decide.”
Xiao Yao was about to talk when the Yellow Emperor warmly asked “Aren’t you going to discuss this with Jing first?”
Zhuan Xu immediately piped up “Grandfather, what does Jing have to do with this?”
The Yellow Emperor chuckled like a sly fox and stared at Zhuan Xu “What do you think he has to do with this?”
Zhuan Xu’s eyes flashed a bit of embarrassed guilt as he grumbled like a kid “I’ve never seen a grandfather like you who won’t help your own grandson! Are you still my grandfather or not?”
Seeing they were about to argue again, Xiao Yao quickly spoke up “When did I ever say I wanted a last name? Can’t I just have a first name and no last name?”
The Yellow Emperor and Zhuan Xu spoke in unison “NO!” Their tone of voice was firm, the authority of Emperors making a stand.
Xiao Yao burst out laughing and said to Zhuan Xu “See, Grandfather is still helping you!”
Xiao Yao thought about it, with no intention of asking Jing’s opinion. Zhuan Xu and the Yellow Emperor were her family and she could upset them all she wanted but to Jing they were Emperors and she didn’t want to risk him getting on one of their bad sides.
Xiao Yao said after much thought “I pick the Xi Ling last name.” The Xi Ling and Tu Shan clans were exactly the same level with each other, the Xuan Yuan last name was too illustrious and came with too much baggage.
A few days later, the Xi Ling clan leader announced to the world that Xiao Yao would be added to their clan ledger and she officially became the eldest daughter of the Xi Ling clan.
The Xuan Yuan Emperor congratulated the Xi Ling clan by showering them with priceless treasures and also gifted the Jang Yi Pavilion on Xiao Yue Summit to Xiao Yao. Jang Yi Pavilion was the residence of the former Flame Emperor’s daughter Princess Yao Ji and was famed for producing beautiful jade. The name Jang Yi also meant hiding beautiful jade so it was hinting to the world that Xiao Yao was as precious as a princess.
After the Black Emperor ascended the throne, the Yellow Emperor never once made a proclamation before. But this gift to Xiao Yao had the seal of both Emperors on the proclamation papers which was the first ever in history to have two emperor seals on the same document.
The Royal Mother gifted forty eight bottles of priceless saturn peach wine and bone essence to Xi Ling Jiu Yao. The Royal Mother was always aloof and even when the Black Emperor got married she only send half of that which signaled to the world that her disciple Xiao Yao was of utmost importance to her.
After Xiao Yao was stripped of her Gao Xing Eldest Princess identity, everyone thought it was time to get rid of her. But it was unbelievable that the Yellow and Black Emperors didn’t care that she was Qi Yo’s daughter and widely announced to the world how much they treasured her.
To the Xuan Yuan elders, the Xi Ling last name reminded her that even if they hated Qi Yo, Xiao Yao was still the bloodline of Empress Lei Zhu and Princess who died to protect them. General Ying Long and Li Yuan led the brigade to treat Xiao Yao as if she was the Xuan Yuan Princess and didn’t care about anything else. Plus with the two Emperors attitude in protecting Xiao Yao, the rest of the elders decided that they couldn’t transfer their hatred of Qi Yo to Xiao Yao no matter what.
Xiao Yao took Jing to tour Jang Yi Pavilion which was covered in beautiful flowers from the days that the flower loving Princess Yao Ji lived there. It actually resembled Qi Qing Garden in Cheng En Palace back on Five Gods Mountain.
Xiao Yao walked to the edge of the lake and picked up water in her hands “My dad told me before that he wasn’t like any other dad and all he could give me was his powerful protection. But in the end he took it back. I ought to call him Your majesty but I keep forgetting.”
Jing took Xiao Yao’s hand “The water in your hands will always slip through so it appears you don’t have any but you can’t deny having held it once.” Xiao Yao said nothing and Jing wiped her hands dry. “The Grand Emperor was once your dad and loved you dearly, that all existed and is undeniable.”
Xiao Yao felt her eyes mist up “You’re right.”
Jing pulled Xiao Yao to sit down on the grass “This rumor came fast and furious to expose your birth secret. But under the two Emperor’s arrangement, you went from the Gao Xing Eldest Princess to Miss Xi Ling. But it’s not over because they can’t stop people from deriding you and insulting you and ostracizing you. You need to learn to deal with people’s animosity as Miss Xi Ling and even if no one would dare openly hurt you, there are still those who would secretly try to assassinate you. You also need to live bravely as Qi Yo’s daughter. Xiao Yao, running away won’t solve anything and you need to face this all directly!”
Xiao Yao stared at Jing before pinching his cheek “You, when we first met what was your name? Who named you?”
Jing smiled “Ye Shi Qi, you named me.”
Xiao Yao sighed “You really are Jing! Maybe because you’re clan leader now but how come you sounded just like Zhuan Xu!”
“I’ve always been like this but…..” Jing smiled at Xiao Yao and didn’t say more.
“But I merely got clouded by love for a certain Wen Xiao Liu.”
Xiao Yao laughed and smacked Jing who tried to avoid her and the two of them rolled around on the grass until Jing raised his hands “Surrender! I surrender!”
Xiao Yao stretched out her arms and laid down on the grass to look at the blue skies “Actually I’ve known for a long time how sly you are! Just excelling at the arts isn’t enough for Feng long and Li Jie Chang and those guys to go with whatever you say. It’s merely that you’ve never shown your strong willed side in front of me and I often forget that you can be just like them.”
Jing sat down next to Xiao Yao and looked down at her “Xiao Yao, no matter if you meet wild beasts or a cliff in the future, you know that I will walk with you the rest of the way.”
Xiao Yao smiled “Do you know why I picked the Xi Ling last name?”
Jing smiled back “I know.”
Xiao Yao raised her hand and Jing clasped it, the two of them sitting in silence to let the warm sunlight envelope them.