Xiao Yao often comes across as really clever, scheming and devious no less, the hardscrabble smarts of someone who’s had to survive on her own and learned all the tricks. But she selectively chooses when to apply that brain of hers, and sometimes even though the answer is clear she can be clouded by personal feeling or an unwillingness to think about that particular issue. Case in point her relationship with Xiang Liu, whatever is going on between them that neither addresses. Same with her problems with Jing that may have been avoided had she put more effort into it initially.
Up next in the world of Lost You Forever is the percolating next steps between Xuan Yuan and Gao Xing. Zhuan Xu isn’t content to just rule over 2/3rd of the world, and truth be told his ambitions may actually benefit the people more than divided rule. While Zhuan Xu can, and does make the hard decisions, Xiao Yao has always shied away from that. Moreover she places family above anything else, and definitively about kingdom and country when those things kept her parents apart and ruined her hopes for a warm loving childhood. With that said, everyone could see this cataclysmic day coming from a mile away except for the girl who just wants to live an ordinary boring life.
Chapter 38 – Armed Conflict Closer, No Hope in Sight:
Spring was late coming this year and even late into the fourth month there were still lots of snowy patches on Xiao Yue Peak.
That was good for Xiao Yao because she liked to bury fruit wine in the snow and take it out during dinner to drink. It tasted even better then using mystical power to quickly freeze the wine.
Even though Xiao Yao had her own palace, most of the time she spent in the medicine valley or with Yin seeing patients in the clinic.
Xiao Yao and Yin practiced medicine vastly differently and often butted heads over how to prescribe medicine leading to sign language fights.
One day Xiao Yao couldn’t convince Yin and was so frustrated she got the Yellow Emperor involved to judge.
“I concede Yin’s prescription isn’t wrong and has very good effect but this particular patient lives by the lake and the medicine I prescribe grows by water. If he’s lucky he can find some by the lake and if not it won’t cost much to buy it near where he lives. But Yin’s medicine grows in the deep mountain and doesn’t grow where he lives. It will cost a lot for him to buy it.”
Yin signed to to the Yellow Emperor and Xiao Yao translated “To treat a patient the first priority is finding the best medicine to cure the illness. Xiao Yao’s medicine is slow working and eating it will cause the patient to lose his appetite.”
The Yellow Emperor smiled “You are both right but at this point deciding the right medicine isn’t based on either of your medical skill but based on the patient’s family situation. If he’s rich then use Yin’s prescription for the best medicine, if he’s poor then use Xiao Yao’s prescription since the family livelihood is just as important as the patient’s illness. You can’t cure the patient and cause him to starve to death.”
Yin thought about it and agreed with the Yellow Emperor: All my patients are nobles so I have never taken into consideration whether the patient can afford the medicine.
Xiao Yao quickly added “And I put too much emphasis on the ease of getting the medicine locally.”
The Yellow Emperor sighed “Curing an illness isn’t limited to one prescription either. If the patient lived near the mountains then Yin’s prescription would be cheaper than Xiao Yao’s.”
Xiao Yao smiled “Yes, and that is why medicine isn’t limited to the wealth of the family but also where they live. Years ago in Gao Xing when I opened a clinic a lot of patients were fishermen and the prescriptions I gave based on the Sheng Nong Herb Manual were good but were Middle Plains plants that the fishermen were not familiar with nor could they afford it. Later I tried using local plants and my prescriptions were much better received.”
Yin was incredulous: People dared to find fault with the prescription gleaned from the Sheng Nong Herb Manual!
The Yellow Emperor said “In the vast wilderness all the environment and climate are different and one Sheng Nong Herb Manual is not enough, not anywhere enough! You two want to write ten more manuals to supplement it?”
Xiao Yao and Yin stared at the Yellow Emperor and Yin signed “Not possible, it’s impossible since in the last ten thousands of years there has only been one Sheng Nong Herb Manual!”
Xiao Yao said “It’s too hard, it’s not doable!”
The Yellow Emperor spent his life conquering from North to South and created countless legendary miracles in his lifetime so in his mind there was no “impossible”. He said “I asked you two if this task was worth doing, not whether it was easy to do.”
“If it’s possible to create a herb manual from all parts of the vast wilderness then it’s not just something worth doing it’s one of the most amazing things ever! It would benefit the people of the entire world and all their future generations. Every single person!”
The Yellow Emperor pushed “If you are certain of the value in doing it then why not undertake the task? One word “impossible” and you don’t dare try?”
Yin and Xiao Yao grimaced, not everyone was the Yellow Emperor daring to do things no one dared, daring to think things no one dared. Xiao Yao thought and said with certainty “As much as can be done then. Even if it’s another hundred remedies then there will be people who benefit from just another hundred more.”
Yin nodded: Even ten more herbs it will be beneficial.”
The Yellow Emperor said “Good!”
That night the Yellow Emperor told Zhuan Xu that he decided to organize the writing of a new medical text and wanted his full assistance.
Since the Yellow Emperor abdicated he never asked Zhuan Xu for anything and this was the first time so Zhuan Xu immediately agreed.
The Yellow Emperor summoned a group of doctors over from Xuan Yuan and picked twenty of the best to bring to Xiao Yue Peak.
Yin and Xiao Yao started to prepare writing another medical text.
Xiao Yao was so busy with the medical text discussion with the doctors she didn’t notice that it was particularly busy on Zhi Jin Summit and Zhuan Xu’s residential palace Qian Yang Palace was brightly lit day and night with powerful officials coming in and out. It had been two months since Zhuan Xu visited any of his consorts.
But no matter how busy or tired every single day Zhuan Xu would go to Xiao Yue Peak to greet the Yellow Emperor.
The officials and consorts chalked this up as “the Black Emperor is so filial” but in the eyes of Empress Xing Yue there was another meaning behind it and that meaning caused her to be sleepless every night and had no appetite. She sometimes thought only she saw through Zhuan Xu and knew his secret, but then she sometimes chided herself for making something out of nothing.
As summer approached the female Xuan Yuan Commander Chi Sui Xian led a night attack on a Gao Xing barracks south of Chi Sui and successfully conquered it. It was like a dagger deep into Gao Xing by ensuring that even if the Xuan Yuan forces attacked deep into Gao Xing it would never risk having its supplies cut off because this river territory was now under Xuan Yuan control.
The Black Emperor named Chi Sui Feng Long as the Great General of the Xuan Yuan army and dispatched him to lead thirty thousand troops to attack Gao Xing.
It had been tens of thousands of years since Gao Xing fought a war. The Gao Xing army was like a rusty sword sheathed too long and even the most impressive weapon was now dull after too long since being sharpened. The Xuan Yuan army was different, since the forming of the Xuan Yuan kingdom the army never stopped fighting and had spent the last thousands of years in battle. It was as ferocious as a attacking tiger, as tough as forged stone. The Xuan Yuan front line army was led by General Yu Jiang who came from Gao Xing’s Yi He tribe. He was a water power and familiar with water battles as well as Gao Xing territory and climate. Under his charge within three days Xuan Yuan had conquered two Gao Xing castles.
Faced with such a colossal event the entire vast wilderness was in stunned shock.
Only Xiao Yao on top of Xiao Yue Peak remained in the dark about what was happening. She only noticed that the doctors seemed to be chatting less and often zoning out while working.
Jing came to visit Xiao Yao on Xiao Yue Peak and Xiao Yao asked him “Did Zhuan Xu forget to pay the doctors? I feel their hearts are not really into doing their jobs!”
Jing was about to respond when the Yellow Emperor coughed. Jing said nothing but directly stared back at the Yellow Emperor and didn’t look cowed in the least.
Xiao Yao stared at the Yellow Emperor and then at Jing and noticed for the first time that Jing’s aura was not weaker than the Yellow Emperor at all. She suddenly jumped in front of the Yellow Emperor and blocked him from Jing before making a funny face “Grandfather, what’s going on?”
“Girls, when you grow up you always side with your man!” The Yellow Emperor shook his head “What’s going on? You go ask Zhuan Xu since neither Jing nor I want to be blamed for being loose lipped.”
Xiao Yao smiled and pushed the Yellow Emperor to sit down “You play a go match with Jing and I’ll brew tea for you guys.” She grabbed the tea set and went to the kitchen to work seeming like nothing was wrong.
When the sun was setting Xiao Yao said to Miao Pu “Go to Zhi Jin Palace and tell His majesty that I’m cooking dinner personally so if he has time come dine with us.”
A half hour later Zhuan Xu arrived and saw the table was still empty and Xiao Yao was plucking herbs. He smiled “Aren’t you cooking? Where’s the food?”
Xiao Yao slowly wiped her hands “Just waiting for you to arrive.”
Servants walked in with four charcoal grill platters and placed one on each dining table. They then brought out all the meat that Xiao Yao already marinated – lamb chops, venison, and rabbit.
Xiao Yao said to Zhuan Xu “Other than meat there are fresh vegetables gathered today in the valley. Grill the leaves and the stem can be used to make soup to drink afterwards to cut down the oiliness of the meat”
The Yellow Emperor, Jing, and Zhuan Xu all sat down before their own table and Xiao Yao placed the herbs she was plucking earlier on plates for them to use as dipping sauces.
Zhuan Xu sniffed and immediately placed meat on the grill “Last time we grilled our own meat was the lantern festival last year. It’s been a few years since I’ve eaten wild vegetables. Every spring it crosses my mind but then I get busy and forget.”
Xiao Yao laughed “Wild vegetables have more bitterness and most people aren’t used to it but once one gets used to it then it’s tasty. I figured you guys all tried it before so prepared it today.” When the Yellow Emperor was young he barely had enough to eat so he ate more than his share of wild vegetables. Zhuan Xu was a market hooligan and often ate wild vegetables with rice. When Jing was in Qing Shui Town every spring Lao Mu would buy wild vegetables to save money so Jing got used to it as well.
This meal took a good hour to finish and afterwards Jing and the Yellow Emperor resumed their unfinished go match.
Xiao Yao laid on the pallet with a wine cask in hand and two glass chalices. Zhuan Xu took one over and Xiao Yao poured him the purple reddish mulberry wine. It was iced cold so the glass chalice was soon frosted over.
Zhuan Xu took a sip “Sealed in snow? It’s better than frozen with ice powers.”
Xiao Yao smiled “Of course.”
Zhuan Xu said “I hear from Yin that since coming back from your trip last year you’ve been collecting books and information on voodoo.”
“I visited Jiu Li so it’s natural to be interested in voodoo.”
Zhuan Xu stared at Xiao Yao “How’s your health these days?”
“Under your orders Yin gives me an annual check up. Doesn’t he report to you?”
“He tells me you’re fine but how do you feel?”
“I feel fine.”
“Did you break the voodoo bug linking you with Xiang Liu?”
“More or less!” Having one Jing worried about it was enough, Xiao Yao didn’t want Zhuan Xu also worried.
“What do you mean more or less?”
“I raised the bug and planted it. What are you worried about? Are you worried I’ll die because of my own bug? I think you’ve been listening to too many rumors. Voodoo isn’t that scary and even if you don’t believe me you should believe in the Jiu Li tribe.”
Zhuan Xu “It’s Xiang Liu I don’t trust. You be careful and if Xiang Liu comes to see you tell me immediately.”
Xiao Yao nodded “Yessir, Your majesty!”
Zhuan Xu moved to smack her and Xiao Yao ducked and his hand was very gentle to begin with so he ended up combing his fingers through her hair in a gesture that was tender and longing.
Xiao Yao sipped her wine “Grandfather, Jing, and those doctors here, everyone is being weird. What’s going on outside?”
Zhuan Xu played with his chalice and said nothing as he stared at the wine colors reflecting in the glass.
Xiao Yao said “If I head down the mountain I’ll know everything so I just want to hear it from you.”
Zhuan Xu gulped down all the wine in his glass and sat up straight on the pallet. He stared at Xiao Yao and said “I gave the order to attack Gao Xing.”
Xiao Yao’s smile froze. She had thought Zhuan Xu did something because of her real birth identity but who knew….Xiao Yao thought she heard wrong “Zhuan Xu, repeat that again.”
Zhuan Xu said “I gave the order to attack Gao Xing.”
Xiao Yao bolted up and threw the glass chalice in her hand at Zhuan Xu’s head.
The glass chalice struck Zhuan Xu’s head hard and the purple red wine splashed all over his hair and face.
Xiao Yao turned and ran off and Zhuan Xu didn’t even bother to wipe his face before bolting after Xiao Yao.
The Yellow Emperor and Jing both heard the noise and looked over. Jing was about to get up but the Yellow Emperor grabbed him and shoved him into a room and ordered the servant to close all doors and windows.
Xiao Yao ran into her room and slammed the door hard in Zhuan Xu’s face. Zhuan Xu pounded on the door “Xiao Yao, Xiao Yao…..”
Xiao Yao used her back to keep the door closed and refused to let Zhuan Xu in.
“Xiao Yao, listen to me.”
“Listen to you what? Are you going to say that when our four uncles was trying to kill you back then you ran to Gao Xing and it was the Grand Emperor who took you in? Are you going to say that he took you as a disciple to teach you the zither, to govern, to train your secret guards?”
“Xiao Yao, you don’t understand!”
“I don’t understand what? Tell me what! Did I say anything that wasn’t true?”
“What you just said is all true but there is a lot more you don’t know. If it wasn’t for him then I wouldn’t even be an orphan in the first place, why would I need him to take me in? You also wouldn’t have needed to wander the world alone for three hundred years.”
Xiao Yao was stunned “I don’t understand.”
“When Auntie told you about the past she must have been very detailed in telling you all about your real daddy. But she must have said nothing about what happened in the past with the Grand Emperor, right? Maybe Auntie already forgave him or maybe Auntie wanted to protect you and not let you know.”
“What past things? What are you trying to say?”
“Do you know why our Eldest Uncle was mistakenly kill by your real daddy?”
“Mom said Eldest Uncle wanted to force Grandfather to abdicate so he had Mom concoct a potion for him that would cause a god to be unable to use his powers for a few months. Who knew Eldest Uncle would accidentally drink the potion himself and that is why he couldn’t protect himself against my daddy.”
“It’s not Eldest Uncle who wanted Grandfather to abdicate. It was Master who convinced Eldest Uncle to do that! He also was the one who got Auntie to make the potion and he handed it to Eldest Uncle. When Auntie was making the potion she didn’t know Eldest Uncle was going to use it. That was a potion that Auntie made for Master so that he could successfully force the former Grand Emperor to abdicate. When the former Grand Emperor was forcefully locked up in his palace and then mysteriously died, do you know why there was the Five Prince Rebellion afterwards? Or why Master used such a bloody approach to deal with his own brothers? Now there is no talk about how Master become the Grand Emperor but Xiao Yao, back then you lived on Five Gods Mountain so look deep into your own memory. You must still remember the former Grand Emperor, the one you called grandfather as well. He was murdered by Master! That is why the Five Princes revolted!”
Xiao Yao wanted to deny it that but the broken memory fragments in her mind confirmed for her that what Zhuan Xu said was true. She remember the former Grand Emperor that she used to call grandfather. She actually witnessed the moment he died and she remembered that her mom tearfully slapped her dad hard afterwards.
Zhuan Xu sorrowfully continued “If it wasn’t for Master then our Eldest Uncle would not have died. If Eldest Uncle didn’t die, then the chasm between your mom and real daddy wouldn’t have been so impossible to bridge!”
Xiao Yao leaned against the door and wearily said “It’s not all dad’s fault.”
“Then what about my dad! When Auntie discovered Zhu Rong’s nefarious plan and went first to beg Master to help her, it was Master who denied Auntie!” Xiao Yao shook her head and yelled “No! That’s impossible!” That was the dad who loved and adored her, the dad who tirelessly taught Zhuan Xu everything.
How could he have said no to Mom’s entreaty to go save her Fourth Uncle? But then he was indeed the same Grand Emperor who brutally killed his own five brothers!
Zhuan Xu said “When you were small, didn’t you ask Auntie why she was missing one finger all of a sudden? Didn’t Auntie tell you that she accidentally misplaced it? You know that Master always wears a white bone ring on his left pinky, right? Do you know what that ring is made from? That’s Auntie’s finger! When she was crying and begging on her hands and knees for Master to save my dad, she severed her own finger to made a blood oath to him. But he still…..said no!”
Zhuan Xu’s raspy voice said each word clearly “Xiao Yao, He. Said. No!”
Xiao Yao tightly clasped her hand over her mouth and sank into the ground. She remembered the day when she discovered her mom had only four fingers left on one hand, she asked why mom was missing a finger. Her mom said she accidentally lost it. She asked her mom if it hurt? Her mom said ” No, it doesn’t hurt. The persons who are hurting the most right now are your Fourth Auntie and Zhuan Xu gege. Xiao Yao be good and spend more time with your Gege.”
If her Fourth Uncle didn’t die, then her Fourth Auntie wouldn’t have committed suicide. Then her Grandmother’s illness wouldn’t have taken a turn for the worse. Then her Mom wouldn’t have needed to go to battle….. Maybe, just maybe everything would be different now….
Zhuan Xu added “And your real daddy! Even now the world continues to marvel at Qi Yo’s subordinates, the two most capable were Feng Bo (Uncle Wind) and Yu Shi (Teacher Rain). Do you know who Yu Shi’s real identity was? He had another name, his real name was Yi He Nuo Nai. Now no one knows anymore, but thousands of years ago he was a very well known handsome powerful young Gao Xing noble who was also the Great General of Gao Xing’s Yi He tribe. He was also Master’s dearest friend since childhood. So much time has passed now that no one remembers anymore and I can’t discover what Yu Shi was actually doing working for Qi Yo. But do you think that Master would send one of his best friends to your daddy’s side for no reason whatsoever? Yes, maybe you’re right and we can’t blame everything on Master. But Xiao Yao……every time I think about how my Dad didn’t need, to die, my Mom didn’t need to commit suicide in front of me. Our Grandmother could have lived a few more years. Auntie didn’t need to go to the battlefield. You didn’t need to leave my side. I……..” Zhuan Xu’s breathing was labored “I really can’t treat him as just my respected Master!”
Xiao Yao kept her eyes shut and felt her throat constricting so she couldn’t breath anymore.
Zhuan Xu said “Master always told me ‘You don’t need to feel gratitude towards me, this is what I owe Qing Yang, Ah Heng, and your dad.’ I never took what he said seriously and thought he was just being modest. Until I discovered the truth and now I know, Master was completely truthful to me!”
Xiao Yao remembered that on the Chi Sui river when she thanked her dad for saving her in the desert, he also said very clearly to her “This is what I owe Qing Yang, Chang Yi, and your mom.”
“Xiao Yao, I haven’t forgotten that he’s my Master, but I also can’t forget…..Xiao Yao, do you remember the dagger?”
“The dagger that Fourth Auntie used to commit suicide?” That dagger that gave Zhuan Xu nightmares every night, yet he insisted on wearing it daily.
“Yes.” Zhuan Xu scoffed “That dagger was hand forged by Master and given to my parents as a wedding gift. Mom chose that very dagger to commit suicide. When Mom died, she must have hated Master so much.”
“Are you invading Gao Xing because you hate him?”
“No! Towards him I feel both love and hate. But he is the Gao Xing Grand Emperor and I am the Xuan Yuan Black Emperor. My decision is based solely as a ruler.”
Xiao Yao said “But in Gao Xing there are the guys you grew up with, Ru So and Ju Mang, and the Ah Nian you watched come into this world…..Zhuan Xu, have you not thought about how they feel?”
“Ru So and Ju Mang are men and even if they oppose me they will understand my decision. Ah Nian…..likely will hate me. Xiao Yao, I didn’t think about how they would feel nor do I care. But I will accept all the consequences to come!”
“If you don’t care about how we feel then you leave. I don’t want to see you! In the future you’re not welcome at Xiao Yue Peak either!” Xiao Yao ran into the inner room and flopped on her pallet before pulling the blanket tightly over her head.
“Xiao Yao, Xiao Yao…..” Zhuan Xu pounded on the door but heard silence back from inside the room. He could have broken down the door easily with his power but he didn’t force his way inside.
Zhuan Xu’s forehead wearily leaned against the door “I care about what you think!” That’s why a war that should have began three years ago got delayed time and again until now. That’s why he was willing to alert the Grand Emperor to his war intentions and sever Xiao Yao’s connection with him as father-daughter first.
Zhuan Xu didn’t dare go in but he also didn’t bear to leave. He leaned against the door and sat down on the ground, staring in desolation into the dark night.
He had a plan and a strategy for everything but right now his mind was blank. He could think of nothing so instead he remembered a time long ago……
When he met Xiao Yao for the first time, they didn’t get along at all. He was a boy but he couldn’t beat the rough and tumble Xiao Yao in a fight. He even tried to be sly and find a way to get rid of her. But gradually the two of them played together and when his parents both died it was Xiao Yao who kept him company every night. When he had nightmares it was Xiao Yao who kissed him on the forehead and vowed “I will be with you forever.” He didn’t believe her “You’ll get married eventually and leave me.” She hurriedly said “I won’t marry anyone else, I will marry you and never leave you.”
From Five Gods Mountain to Xuan Yuan Mountain, from Xuan Yuan Mountain to Sheng Nong Mountain, Xiao Yao accompanied him each step of the way. No matter what happened, no matter what state he was in, she resolutely stood beside him. When Yu Jiang tried to assassinate him, it was Xiao Yao who used her body to shield him. When he was in the hidden chamber detoxing from the drugs, it was Xiao Yao who endured the agony with him and was willing to be injured but wouldn’t use Jin Xuan’s suggestion to tie him up. She knew that if she suggested it then he would do it…..
Late into the night, Xiao Yao figured Zhuan Xu left already and pushed open the door to look out at the moon.
Zhuan Xu didn’t know what she was thinking about. Was she thinking about her childhood on Five Gods Mountain?
The two of them, one sitting on the ground against the door, the other perched on the window, they were mere feet from each other as they stared at the moon together all night.
When a ray of light emerged from the East, Xiao Xiao appeared in the fog and knelt down in front of the door
Xiao Yao thought Xiao Xiao was kneeling towards her and gestured for her to get up but instead heard Xiao Xiao say “Your majesty, please return to Zhi Jin Summit. The officials and ministers will be arriving soon.”
Xiao Yao was stunned and she saw in the corner of her eye Zhuan Xu appear.
He sat outside the door all night long? Xiao Yao lowered her head and wouldn’t look at him.
Zhuan Xu also didn’t saw anything and was about to vault on his winged ride when Xiao Xiao stopped him “Your majesty, please wash your face first.”
Xiao Yao looked up and Zhuan Xu looked back and in that moment their eyes met and both were shocked.
Last night Xiao Yao broke a chalice of wine on Zhuan Xu’s head and he hastily wiped before running after her so he didn’t clean himself up. His face was streaked in red and white in a big mess and he actually forgot about it and was planning to return to Zhi Jin Palace like this. If the servants saw him then there would be a giant freak out.
Xiao Yao opened her door and said to Xiao Xiao “His majesty can wash up in the restroom.”
Before Xiao Xiao could answer Zhuan Xu strode inside as if afraid Xiao Yao would change her mind.
Xiao Yao took out Zhuan Xu’s old clothes from her closet and handed it to Xiao Xiao. Zhuan Xu quickly washed up and changed, putting medicine on his bruise, before walking out.
Xiao Yao was in the courtyard and heard his footstep and looked over. Zhuan Xu had a bright purple bruise on his forehead that came from the glass striking him. Earlier there was wine streaks on his face so no one saw it but after he was cleaned up the bruise was especially noticeable.
Last night Xiao Yao was so angry she used her full strength when she tossed it at Zhuan Xu. He must have bled a lot and even though the wound was patched up with spiritual powers it could only heal the wound but could not remove the bruising.
Zhuan Xu smiled “No worries, it’ll be gone in two days.”
Xiao Yao lowered her head and walked past Zhuan Xu to enter the house.
Zhuan Xu stood there for awhile longer before getting on his winged ride and flying towards Zhi Jin Palace.
Zhuan Xu’s forehead bruise naturally caused all his consorts and servants to fret over him and led to his ministers and officials mumuring about what happened.
Zhuan Xu said nothing and no one dared to ask him. Everyone tried to find out from his guards and Xiao Xiao claimed that he was napping at the desk and accidentally hit his head. Everyone knew how tirelessly Zhuan Xu worked especially lately so accepted that. Only Empress Xing Yue didn’t believe it, but if she didn’t believe then then her guess of the real reason was even more terrifying so she chose to believe it in the end.
The Yellow Emperor walked out of his chamber and saw Jing sitting on the pallet having not touched his bedding last night but the go board pieces had been moved. Clearly he didn’t sleep last night and was playing against himself.
The Yellow Emperor looked at the board and gently said “Zhuan Xu is the Emperor, he may allow Xiao Yao to toss a glass of wine at his head and beg for her forgiveness, but he would never allow an outsider to see him in such a low state. Zhuan Xu and Xiao Yao have been through much difficulty in their youth so between them most of the time everyone is an outsider, including myself.”
Jing stood up and bowed “I understand. Thank you for the concern, Your majesty.”
The Yellow Emperor said “You are a very smart young man, remember that a harder steel is easier to break.”
Jing replied “I’ll remember that.”
The Yellow Emperor smiled “Go check on Xiao Yao now! Then let’s breakfast together.”
Xiao Yao was bathed and brushing her hair by the window when she saw Jing walk towards her from the canyon. His one hand was behind his back and he strode forward until he was standing before her window.
Xiao Yao saw his clothes was still what he wore yesterday “Last night…..where did you sleep?”
“I slept in the Yellow Emperor’s chambers for the night.” Jing handed a bouquet of blue baby’s breath to Xiao Yao and the tender leaves still had morning dew on it.
Xiao Yao lowered her head to sniff and marveled “So fragrant!”
She put down the hair pin in her hand and pointed to her hair before turning around and lowering her head.
Jing picked a long strand and threaded it through her hair.
Xiao Yao picked up the mirror and saw the blue baby’s breath wound through her hair in a half braid like a crescent moon. Even the most precious and expensive bauble in the world could not have such rousing scent.
Xiao Yao put down the mirror and said “Thank you, not just for the flower but also…..for all the trouble I bring you.”
Jing lightly flicked Xiao Yao on the forehead “Who said to me that two people have to walk a lifetime together so we have to watch out for each other?”
Xiao Yao lowered her head dejectedly “Jing, whatever shall I do?”
“Do you have the confidence to get the Black Emperor to withdraw his troops?”
Xiao Yao shook her head. She knew Zhuan Xu too well, whatever he wanted no one could stop him.
“Do you want to stand with Gao Xing and fight back against Xuan Yuan?”
Xiao Yao shook her head “I only know medicine and poisons, what ability do I have? Plus I may hate what Zhuan Xu is doing but I will never help others against Zhuan Xu.”
“Xiao Yao, this is between two Emperors so there is nothing you can do.”
“But they are the dearest people in my life. Shall I just dispassionately watch from the sidelines?”
“You are not dispassionately watching, you are painfully watching.”
“Tu Shan Jing!” Xiao Yao glared at him “You have the mind to tease me? Don’t you know I spent all last night thinking about this?”
Jing pinched Xiao Yao’s cheek “Don’t think of the worst outcome when nothing is decided yet. This war will take ten or twenty years at least. Xuan Yuan is not the same as it was before and the Grand Emperor is not like Qi Yi was back then.”
The Yellow Emperor called from the door “You two want breakfast or to keep talking through the window?”
Xiao Yao was embarrassed and yelled “Breakfast!”
After breakfast Jing left the mountain leaving Xiao Yao sitting in a daze in the corridor while the Yellow Emperor paid her no heed.
Xiao Yao sat until it was noon when she suddenly got up and grabbed her arrow to go practice archery for two hours. After that she was exhausted and crawled into bed and immediately fell asleep.
When Zhuan Xu arrived later that night Xiao Yao was still asleep so he dined with the Yellow Emperor and then left.
Xiao Yao slept until dawn the next morning and told Miao Pu that she wanted to dine in her own court residence today and from now on as well.
Every day when Zhuan Xu came he didn’t see Xiao Yao but he didn’t look angry or sad and instead was just like always, chatting and dining with the Yellow Emperor before leaving.
The Xuan Yuan and Gao Xing was was like Jing expected, it was impossible to see a victor within a short span of time.
When Zhuan Xu deployed the troops, he issued a decree to the entire world that no common citizens would be harmed or hurt. Initially the Xuan Yuan army had the advantage but as they got deeper into Gao Xing territory they encountered fierce opposition from the Gao Xing people. Whether it was Feng Long, Yu Jiang, or Xian’s tens of thousands of top notch troops, everyone was under orders not to hurt the Gao Xing people so their earlier advantage was quickly gone.
Zhuan Xu was clearly prepared for a long haul war and ordered Feng Long already so Feng Long did not push his troops deeper and instead settled down in the castle already conquered and got ready to manage it.
Summer was monsoon season in Gao Xing and flooding was expected. Feng Long grew up by the water so he knew the devastation of when the flood waters broke through dams and barriers to destroy a village instantaneously. Under his grandfather’s tutelage he learned how to fortify dams and dig trenches to redirect the water so he brought his best men from Chi Sui over to help protect the castle along with the Xuan Yuan soldiers. Initially the Gao Xing citizens were resentful and angry but the Xuan Yuan soldiers never hurt or killed people or burned and looted, plus they worked hard and the only difficulty was the language barrier otherwise everyone got along well. Seeing the flood season was about to come, the Gao Xing people gradually accepted the help of the Xuan Yuan soldiers to protect their homes.
The Xuan Yuan army was able to keep getting a steady stream of supplies because of its water edge location so the Gao Xing army could not easily win back the taken territory. But venturing further South with the humid temperatures caused the Northern Xuan Yuan soldiers to be unaccustomed to the climate so Feng Long could not easily continue his battle attack. Just like that the two sides settled into a stalemate.
Xiao Yao avoided Zhuan Xu but could not avoid the war going on in the outside world. She knew there was nothing she could do by avoiding hearing about what was happening so would ask Jing “Where is Feng Long now, has there been another big battle?”
Jing teased her “If you keep asking about Feng Long then if someone heard they would think you regretted being a runaway bride and is totally worried about him.”
Xiao Yao was so frustrated and amused with his teasing and was about to shut his lips but he kept avoiding her and teasing some more “Now Feng Long is a Great General and his future is unlimited bright, way more successful then me simply being a clan leader. Tell me the honest truth, do you regret it even a little? Feng Long doesn’t have a wife yet so if you regret it then it’s still not too late.”
Xiao Yao was so exasperated and yelled “I heard that before the Young Master of Qing Qiu was so quick witted and glib, I just thought they were all being mean to you! Now I totally regret it but its not because Feng Long has unlimited potential but because you’re a super meanie!”
Jing scooted next to Xiao Yao “What would make me a nice guy then? I let you hit me?”
Xiao Yao lifted her head and huffed “I don’t feel like it anymore!”
Jing stuck his head in front of Xiao Yao “How about hit me twice?”
“Humph!” Xiao Yao turned her head again.
The Yellow Emperor’s laughter rang out and Xiao Yao and Jing quickly moved apart a few inches. The Yellow Emperor lightly coughed and said “I came to get a drink of water, you two continue on teasing each other.”
“Who’s teasing with him! He’s being mean to me!” Xiao Yao’s face was bright red as she ran to pour a cup of water to hand to the Yellow Emperor.
The Yellow Emperor stared at Xiao Yao and laughed “I think he’s being mean for good reason. When Jing’s not around you’re all zoned out but when he’s here then you get mad and perk up again.”
Xiao Yao glanced at Jing and said nothing.
As the Summer head towards the end, Gao Xing entered its rainy season which meant for the Xuan Yuan and Gao Xing armies a temporary halt to the war. For Jing it meant that the one year memorial for his “dead wife” was now over and based on custom he could remarry again.
One afternoon Jing came to Xiao Yue Peak and said to Xiao Yao “Let’s go out for a walk.”
Xiao Yao was working on her medical text notes and said “Sure!”
Xiao Yao followed Jing out of the medicine valley and he summoned his crane winged ride and they got on.
Xiao Yao laughed “I thought we would stay on Xiao Yue Peak for a walk, so where are you taking me?”
Jing smiled and said nothing as the crane took them deep into the clouds.
After some time Xiao Yao saw a peak appear and the crane descended next to a small pond. Xiao Yao got off and looked towards the hut in the distance “Sometimes I think life is fated.”
Jing took her hand and sat her down “I want to discuss something with you.”
Xiao Yao reached down to play with the water and said “Tell me!”
“There is a ballad that says “a beautiful young lady, a gentleman will pursue.” Every young man knows what this lyric means and will wonder about what their future wife will be like. When I was young I thought she would be a beauty like the moon and flowers, refined and calm, excel at all the arts, not talk too much or too little, know how to manage a household and also run a business so that she can discuss my work with me…..”
Xiao Yao compared herself to each description and her expression got progressively more and more sullen.
“When my mom was picking my bride and asked me what I wanted, I told all of that to her.”
Xiao Yao wondered “And your mom didn’t say you were asking for too much?”
Jing laughed “My mom said none of what I wanted was hard to find. Other than looks being given by birth, the rest all the ladies in the high families would be trained to be such. The only thing that is hard to gauge is whether she will really love me.”
Xiao Yao was quiet and realized he was right, he wanted a lot but for him it wasn’t hard to find. He just wanted someone who could understand and share in his life interests, not requiring that she be as talented and successful as him.
Jing continued “But who knew…..that I would meet you!”
Xiao Yao scrunched up her nose “What’s wrong with meeting me! I don’t have epic beautiful looks, I’m not refined and demure, I know zilch about the feminine arts, I do know how to poison people to death and can talk a lot. I don’t know how to dress myself up or how to manage a household or how to socialize for business…..”
Jing nodded “Yes, you are all of those things!”
Xiao Yao glared at him with her fist clenched.
Jing continued “But when I met you was when I realized that when a person fell in love then nothing mattered about requirements.” Jing tenderly smiled at Xiao Yao “You’re not quiet but I’m plenty quiet enough and can use someone as talkative as you; you’re not refined and demure and constantly want to thwack me, but when you wash my hair and feed me medicine you are exquisitely gentle; you don’t know the arts but I do and I can show them off to entertain you; you can’t embroider but I’m not marrying a seamstress and I can buy the talents of the best seamstress around; you don’t know business but I do and I can make more than enough to take care of you; with how chatty you are, even in another thousand years we won’t run out of things to discuss; you’re not needed to run the household and you hate socializing which is fine by me because I would love to hide you deep inside my residence so that no one can see you and try to snatch you from me…..”
Xiao Yao’s expression got brighter and she stared at Jing.
Jing smiled “Xiao Yao, you were right in saying you’re not an epic beauty. You are…….” Xiao Yao’s nose twitched and Jing lightly tapped her on the nose “Even if the world was extraordinary it would not hold a candle to your one smile.”
Xiao Yao’s face turned bright red and she stood up to leave “What’s gotten into you today! Talking about all these random things!”
Jing grabbed Xiao Yao’s hand and she suddenly realized a thick fog surrounded them. Within the fog a series of peach blossom trees sprung up and soon they were surrounded by thousands and thousands of peach blossoms all around them.
Xiao Yao knew this was a mystical illusion created by Jing but she couldn’t help but reach out to catch a petal.
Jing said “This place is where your daddy used to live. I brought you here today to ask you in front of your parents – Tu Shan Jing asks for Xi Ling Jiu Yao’s hand in marriage.”
Xiao Yao’s entire body froze.
Jing asked “Xiao Yao, will you marry me?”
Years ago when Xiao Yao and Feng Long were in the secret chamber and he asked, she didn’t feel shy at all. But right now she felt so shy and embarrassed and wanted to turn and run away. She murmured in a low voice “If you want my hand you need to ask my grandfather and Zhuan Xu.”
“Of course I will ask them but before I do I want to ask you first. Xiao Yao, will you marry me?”
Within the blanket of falling peach blossoms around her, Xiao Yao felt like she could see her mom and daddy standing together and smiling at her.
“I do!” Xiao Yao tossed Jing’s hand aside and ran into the hut with her face burning up and her heart pounding uncontrollably. She looked at herself in the mirror and she was as red as if she drank wine. She cupped her face and chided the her in the mirror “You’re so hopeless!”
That night when Zhuan Xu came to Xiao Yue Peak and unexpectedly saw Xiao Yao he was so happy.
He nodded at Jing before sitting down next to the Yellow Emperor.
Jing respectfully bowed to both emperors and said “I want to marry Xiao Yao, will Your majesties please grant me her hand in marriage.”
Zhuan Xu’s heart lurched and he stared at Xiao Yao. The last time when Feng Long asked to marry her she looked startled and unwilling but now she kept her head lowered but her face reflected her shy happiness and willingness.
Zhuan Xu felt like he was sitting alone on a desolate mountaintop and his body was left there while his soul had flown away and was flying through time and space to revisit all the vivid moments from the past——–
His childhood experiences left him maturing early. He could enjoy the pleasures of life but he never once felt his heart truly stir. When he was teased about what kind of woman he wanted, he would always remember when Xiao Yao was small and she hugged him while promising “I will never marry someone else. I will marry you and be with you forever!”
When he came back from Jade Mountain with Xiao Yao, that night he tossed and turned unable to sleep. All he could see was Xiao Yao, when she was small and her now, Xiao Yao as a man and Xiao Yao turned back into a woman. It didn’t matter which Xiao Yao, she always made his heart happy and his heart hurt. He wasn’t a clueless green boy, he knew what changed in the way he felt about her.
But….what could he do? A man who was sleeping in quarters that was given to him, what right did he have? One slip and he could be assassinated, what right did he have?
He remembered vividly when Auntie was taking Xiao Yao to Jade Mountain and he begged her to leave Xiao Yao with him “I will take care of Xiao Yao, I’m not worried about the hard work” but his Auntie smiled “But you don’t even have the power to take care of yourself, you have even less ability to take care of her. Simply not being worried about it isn’t enough!”
He vowed to grow up as quickly as possible so he could go to Jade Mountain and pick Xiao Yao up when he could take care of her. But a few hundred years passed and when she returned to his side, he still didn’t have the power to take care of her. So he told him: you don’t have the right because you can’t even protect her!
Back then Xiao Yao hadn’t yet fallen for Jing and she was completely unmoved by Feng Long. But because those two men, one was Tu Shan and the other Chi Sui, both had more right and ability to pursue her than he did so he took half a step back and also a half step forward to use them by allowing them to get close to Xiao Yao.
In Xuan Yuan Castle when they were in constant danger, Jing came to see Xiao Yao but she actually ended it with him and refused to see him.
On Xuan Yuan Mountain, it was he who stopped Xiao Yao and asked her to go see Jing. He had been shamed countless times before but never felt the shame deep down, but that time he felt gutwrenching anger and shame.
Xiao Yao didn’t just see Jing, she spent a night in the room with him. That night he spend in ice cold water that could not wash away the pain in his heart and could not wash away his own shame and agony. He wanted to rush inside and kick Jing out but he couldn’t because in front of Cui Liang’s residence it was Xiao Yao who used her body to shield him from danger. So he had no right!
Then he got Jing and Feng Long’s support and made the most critical decision in his life to abandon Xuan Yuan Mountain for Sheng Nong Mountain. When he was pretending to be a drug addicted dissolute, part of him knew it wasn’t just acting. He really was in such pain and agony and using the drugs to numb his torment. Because he knew that he wasn’t just giving up on Xuan Yuan Mountain, he was giving up on his Xiao Yao!
When he got to Sheng Nong Mountain he could see Xiao Yao and Jing’s connection growing closer so he kept telling himself that he was just Xiao Yao’s older brother! As long as the two of them stayed alive and Xiao Yao was happy then nothing else mattered!
That way when Xiao Yao came back from Qing Qiu and collapsed in his arms and spit up blood, he felt a thousand knives cutting into his heart.
Xiao Yao was gravely ill because of Jing and he kept vigil over her every night. When he saw her cry in her sleep, he hated the Jing who had Xiao Yao but didn’t cherish her, but he hated himself even more.
When the Yellow Emperor was surveying the Middle Plains and everyone was in a state of anxiety, he stood at the brink of completely success and failure and everyone kept their distance from him. But at that moment Xiao Yao agreed to marry Feng Long.
Overnight the Four Great Clans all tossed their support to him. Even though Xiao Yao smiled as she said that Feng Long was the most suitable for her, he knew that if it wasn’t for him then she would not have agreed to marry Feng Long even if she was heartbroken over Jing.
Feng Long and Xiao Yao’s wedding date was set and even if he felt a stirring beast within that was roaring to come out, he kept it in check because his grandfather counseled “Xiao Yao just wanted a simple uneventful life so if you use your power now to give her that then that is what’s best for her.”
For Xiao Yao? He tightly controlled the beast within to not let it out.
On Xiao Yao’s wedding day, he sat all night in the phoenix tree forest in Xiao Yue Peak watching the phoenix flowers falling all around him. The new swing was ready but the person who was going to swing on it had left.
He reminded himself over and over “Feng Long was the best choice for her while he can keep watch over Xiao Yao for her entire life and ensure Feng Long never mistreated her.”
But when news arrived of Xiao Yao running away at her wedding, he felt all the darkness around him lift and he burst out laughing uncontrollably in the phoenix forest.
Zhuan Xu looked around with a smile as Jing and the Yellow Emperor both stared expectantly at him. Clearly the Yellow Emperor already gave his permission and all that was left was his response.
Xiao Yao lifted her head and stared at him expectantly as well.
Zhuan Xu said to Jing with a smile “Have your clan elders bring up the marriage with the Xi Ling clan leader and settle this engagement!”
Jing’s wary heart settled down and he bowed respectfully before saying in sincerely “Thank you, Your majesty.”
At the end of the year, the Xi Ling and Tu Shan clans jointly announced that the Tu Shan clan leader was engaged to Xi Ling Jiu Yao.
The news of their engagement caused shockwaves to ripple through the vast wilderness but neither Jing nor Xiao Yao paid any heed.
After the engagement talked turned to setting a wedding date.
Jing wanted it as soon as possible and an elder who watched Jing grow up laughed “You’ve always been calm growing up, what’s the rush now?”
Jing said “Others may think I’m rushing but in truth I’ve waited tens of years already.”
The elder knew how deeply Jing loved Xiao Yao so he stopped teasing and chuckled “Still don’t rush, these things can’t be rushed! The wedding appears to be your second marriage so can’t be more lavish than your first but can you bear it? Even if you can bear it this old man I won’t agree! Forget the ceremony, we also need to remodel the residence and need at least a year. Also new furniture for the residence. Does Miss Xi Ling want a medicinal herb garden? Let’s just start with tearing down and tossing away everything used by that woman and start anew with what you both life. This is a big undertaking and can’t be rushed, clan leader!”
Jing said nothing because the elder was right, a proper marriage did need all these things.
The elder continued “Because clan leader cares so much for Miss Xi Ling, it’s my job to remind you to not rush something that is so important and leave you with regrets later.”
Jing nodded “Elder is correct.”
The elder laughed “But clan leader need not worry, with our Tu Shan wealth everything will proceed as swiftly as possible so you won’t need to wait too long and will still be very satisfied.”
Jing smiled “The most important thing is that Xiao Yao likes it.”
The elder laughed “No worries, I’ll make sure to get a report on Miss Xi Ling’s likes and dislikes.”
The Yellow Emperor asked Xiao Yao on her thought for the wedding date.
Xiao Yao glanced out the window at the busy doctors and said “I want to have more progress on the medical text first before setting a wedding date.”
The Yellow Emperor reminded her “That will take more than two or three years. Are you sure?”
Xiao Yao nodded “The Sheng Nong Herb Manual has been in my possession for the last four hundred years and saved my life countless times. I’ve never done anything for it or better said that I want to do something for the Flame Emperor who sacrificed his life to write it. The text that he used his entire life to write, I don’t want to it be used by doctors simply to make money or gain fame.”
The Yellow Emperor sighed “Xiao Yao, you keep saying you’re not like your mom but you are actually just like your mom!”
Xiao Yao furrowed her brows “I’m not like her at all!”
The Yellow Emperor laughed “Fine, you’re not like her!”
That night Zhuan Xu came to Xiao Yue Peak and heard Xiao Yao’s decision on the wedding date and smiled “That works.”
Likely due to the engagement with Jing, Xiao Yao realized that her time on Xiao Yue Peak with Zhuan Xu was finite rather than forever. With the battle between Xuan Yuan and Gao Xing taking on losses for both sides but Xiao Yao didn’t personally know anyone who died and she didn’t find out the details of the war, she felt it so far removed from her so she stopped avoiding Zhuan Xu.
The two of them resumed their old ways hanging out. Every night Zhuan Xu would come and chat happily with Xiao Yao as they hung out.
The winter passed into summer and the seasons changed quickly, before anyone realized it 8 years had passed.
Whether it was the Voodoo King or Xiao Yao, no one had discovered the way to break the Lover’s Bug.
Xiao Yao was a tad disappointed but not worried since the bug was in her for the last 80 some years and she was used to it.
Jing was very worried and every time she failed to break the voodoo spell he couldn’t conceal his disappointment.
Xiao Yao giggled and assured him “Being heart connected isn’t all that intimate. At most Xiang Liu feels some of my pain whereas I feel nothing from him. This doesn’t count as having our hearts as one.”
Actually Jing wasn’t bothered by the hearts connected, he was worried about the life being linked. This worry was something he couldn’t discuss with Xiao Yao so he continued to let her assume he was bothered by their emotional ties.
One day Xiao Yao left the medical clinic and was chatting and walking with Miao Pu.
It was almost dark and the street was filled with people rushing home to their families. In the busy throngs Xiao Yao didn’t even know why she noticed a very richly dressed man. She stared at the man but he didn’t even glance at her. They passed each other by and the man continued on his way. Xiao Yao stopped and turned back to look for him.
Miao Pu asked quizzically “What did my lady see?”
Xiao Yao stood there in a daze before rushing off after the man but with so many people on the street she couldn’t find him.
Miao Pu kept following and asking “What is my lady looking for?”
“I….I…..I don’t know.” Xiao Yao wasn’t trying to lie to Miao Pu, she really didn’t know.
She aimlessly wandered for some time and was about to give up when she saw a closed door in a dark alleyway with the Li Jie tribe underground casino logo.
Xiao Yao walked up and knocked on the door.
“My lady wants to gamble?” Miao Pu asked?
The gambling den was open only for regulars and the guard was about to shoo them away when Miao Pu flashed a badge and the guard respectfully handed them two dog faced masks and welcomed them in.
It was just dark so the gambling den so there weren’t a lot of people in the den yet. Xiao Yao wandered the entire place before grabbing a drink and sitting down in the corner. Miao Pu could tell Xiao Yao had something on her mind so didn’t bother her and quickly stood beside her.
As night fell the gambling den got busier as more and more people arrived. After sitting for who know’s how long, Xiao Yao saw the richly dressed man again. He was wearing the mask but Xiao Yao immediately recognized him.
Xiao Yao rushed after him through multiple rooms and corridors before she caught up to him. The man was standing next to a glass wall that the Li Jie tribe must have enchanted because on the other side was a constellation filled with shooting stars.
The man said with a smile “You chased me for so long, do you want something?:
Xiao Yao asked “You don’t know me?”
“Should I know you?”
Xiao Yao took off her mask.
The man stared before whistling “If I know you then I wouldn’t forget you! Sorry!” He turned to leave but Xiao Yao grabbed him “Xiang Liu! I know it’s you, stop pretending!”
The man wanted to shake Xiao Yao off but she was like a squid clinging onto him and refusing to let go. The man got annoyed “If you don’t let go then I’m going to stop being polite!”
“Go ahead! If I hurt then you’re not going to feel good either!”
The richly dressed man sighed and took off his mask before turning around. With the starry sky behind him his face gradually changed to reveal his true visage.
Xiao Yao stared at him before breaking into a beaming smile, the happiness lighting up her eyes.
Xiang Liu wearily asked “Miss Xi Ling, what do you want?”
“I…..I…..” Xiao Yao actually didn’t know what she wanted so she got tongue-tied. She finally said “Help me break the voodoo bug spell and you can pick your price!”
Xiang Liu smiled “Half an hour earlier, Tu Shan Jing said the exact same thing to me.”
“You came here to see Jing?”
“More accurate to say Tu Shan Jing asked to see me to discuss business.”
Xiao Yao understood now, Jing saw that she couldn’t break the spell so went directly to Xiang Liu to discuss terms. “Did you accept Jing’s offer?”
“His offer was tempting and I very much wanted to accept but it’s not that I’m refusing to break the voodoo spell, I really don’t know how!”
“You’re lying! Back then you broke it from Zhuan Xu and moved it over to you. How come you can’t do it now?”
Xiang Liu sighed loudly and shook his head “You need to ask Tu Shan Jing to teach you how to conduct business. Doing business isn’t picking a fight, especially when you have something you want from the other person. You can’t just accuse the other person, what you want is for me to help you and not for me to be pissed at you.”
Xiao Yao glared at Xiang Liu “But you’re clearly lying!”
“Do you think I would say such a lame lie? Tu Shan Jing is much smarter than you and he asked why I was able to break the spell before but not now?”
“The voodoo bugs are living creatures! Back then is not the same as now! You can beat a baby tiger to death but can’t you win a fight with a thousand year old tiger demon?”
Xiao Yao felt that what he was saying made sense but also this niggling sensation that he wasn’t telling her the whole truth. She slowly said “I can’t, but that doesn’t mean you can’t?”
“If you don’t believe me then why keep asking me?”
Xiao Yao was silent before asking “Did you come to Zhi Yi just to see Jing? When are you leaving?”
“If you didn’t stop me then I would have left already.”
Xiao Yao suddenly realized that she was still holding on tightly to Xiang Liu’s arm and she quickly let go.
“Where’s Jing? Still in the gambling den?”
Xiang Liu smirked and looked down the long corridor “He’s been behind you this whole time.”
Jing walked forward and took Xiao Yao’s hand in his hand.
Xiao Yao wanted to warn Xiang Liu to be careful and leave as soon as possible but now she couldn’t say those words so remained silent.
Xiang Liu glanced at Xiao Yao and Jing’s joined hands before smiling at Jing “Farewell!” He turned and vanished into the darkness.
Jing said to Xiao Yao “I finished discussing matters with Xiang Liu and was about to part ways when I saw you were here so followed you while directing Miao Pu elsewhere.”
Xiao Yao didn’t want to discuss Xiang Liu anymore and shook Jing’s hand with a smile “I don’t mind. I know you’re worried about me. Let’s go, I haven’t had dinner yet!”
The two held hands and walked together and Xiao Yao said “Don’t worry about the voodoo bug. The boat rights itself at the end and it’ll be solved eventually.”
“Okay!” Jing said yes but he was still worried. The only comfort was how close Zhuan Xu was with Xiao Yao. When the day arrived, Jing hoped that Zhuan Xu would hold back the killing blow towards Xiang Liu for Xiao Yao’s sake.