Gu Qingyu, Ye Jin and Qi Wan followed Murong Zuoyu to the main hall in the Duke's mansion. She sat in one of the chairs with her ankle resting on her knee. "Brother Murong, it's been a while. I'm back to cause trouble for you again!"
Murong Zuoyu's face stiffened. Although he was used to Gu Qingyu's quirky mannerisms and her weird way of phrasing things, he still felt rather bewildered after he heard that sentence.
"What, are we not welcomed?" Gu Qingyu asked with raised brows as she watched him.
"No, of course. You're welcomed here." Murong Zuoyu nodded.
She grinned. "Haha, that's good, I want to continue the search for the Spirit Gems. What do you think, Brother Murong?"
"I will join you, naturally." Murong Zuoyu picked up the tea on the table and took a light sip.
"Good! Others will be here at night, but before that I need to make a trip home, to the Gu Residence." She said with a smirk.
Murong Zuoyu choked on his tea, then coughed a few times. It took him a while to collect himself after all that sputtering. "What do you mean, Brother Zhu?"
"Well, I want to go back to visit my family. So, what happened while I was gone?" She tilted her head.
"Okay," he paused. "The Gu family has become one of the three major families with its connections and resources. General Gu in particular has added several achievements and victories to his name, cementing his irreplaceable position in the royal court."
"Oh, that's not bad." She took a sip of tea thoughtfully.
Murong Zuoyu frowned. "Brother Zhu, why do I have a sense that you are up to no good?"
Qi Wan clapped his hands together and replied, "that is exactly why we're back!"
"Has Brother Zhu been picked on in that place?" Murong Zuoyu narrowed his eyes slightly. "Do not worry, your brother is with you this time."
Gu Qingyu smiled. "Well, thank you Brother Murong!"
Being with Murong Zuoyu was so relaxing, it was like hanging out with an older brother. Ye Jin probably also understood Gu Qingyu's feelings, and thus did not have strong hostility towards him. However, he still does not like Murong Zuoyu, especially with the "Princess" situation at the door. So he snorted. "Xiao Yu'er, if you just wanted fame and prestige, am I not enough?"
Gu Qingyu slowly turned to him. Ye Jin snorted again. "If the Madam of Ye is not enough for you, then how does the Princess of Shadow sound to you?"
Gu Qingyu stared at him with bated breath. Ugh, why does he become so difficult when he kicks into "jealous" mode?
Murong Zuoyu lifted his eyes from the cup and glanced at Ye Jin, then stood up. "Let's go, Brother Zhu."
"Well, okay..." Gu Qingyu got up from her seat as well, and signaled to Qi Wan and Ye Jin with a nod. "You two wait for others, I'll be back soon."
Ye Jin pouted, hmphed as a reply. It was obvious that he was in a foul mood. Qi Wan also pursed his lips and hmphed. "Bye."
Gu Qingyu almost rolled her eyes. What are you doing, behaving like children?
She ignored the two sulking men and left the main hall with Murong Zuoyu. The pair entered his private carriage and made their way to the Gu Residence. She finally relaxed when she entered the carriage. Now that's life!
Along the way, Murong Zuoyu broke the silence and said to her in a serious tone, "Rest assured, Brother Zhu. no one would dare to bully you."
"Well...Brother Murong, when we arrive, I hope to let them see what I've accomplished...." She looked at him and explained, "Do you get what I mean?"
"I understand." Murong Zuoyu nodded.
She sighed with relief and looked out the window. Her second sister popped into her mind, she should be... The thought tugged at the corner of her lips.
"What did you think of that made you so happy?" Murong Zuoyu raised his eyebrows slightly as he stared at her.
"Ah? Is it that obvious?" She immediately covered her face in embarrassment. "Oh, I was just thinking if my second sister is dead."
Murong Zuoyu was speechless, she had such an expectant look before he pointed it out. It didn't take long to get to the Gu residence. The members of the Gu Family had received the news of their visit and had been waiting to greet them at the door. They all knelt down when they saw Murong Zuoyu's carriage. Murong Zuoyu was already well-respected as a duke, but after Murong Qize's mysterious death, he had been named as the chosen heir to the throne.
"We greet Duke Zuoyu!"
Murong Zuoyu stepped out from the carriage and at the same time held out his hand and smiled slightly at Gu Qingyu. "Here, watch your step."
She may have seen his smile before, but it still warmed her heart.
The colder they are, the brighter their smile. They don't normally smile, not because they are as cold and uncaring as they appear, but because they do not enjoy faking happiness. So when they do smile, it was always from the bottom of their heart.
"Well, thank you." Gu Qingyu accepted his chivalrous gesture with grace and stepped out of the carriage with a hop.
General Gu raised his head and froze when he recognised his daughter. "Yu'er?"
The other members of the Gu family heard him and looked up as well. Everyone was shocked to see the Third Miss with Duke Zuoyu.
Gu Qingyu scanned the crowd before her, she did not see her second sister.
So, she had died. Gu Qingyu did not feel guilt, or pity and certainly not grief. She did not feel anything.
"Yes, it's me." Gu Qingyu nodded with a smile, "It's been a while."
"You...how are you with Duke Zuoyu?" General Gu was obviously surprised.
"He's a friend of mine." Gu Qingyu looked at General Gu with a smile, "Father, please, get up."
General Gu frowned. "Ridiculous! Duke Yu has not even spoken, you ought to..."
"Get up." Murong Zuoyu interrupted him. "Gu Yi, Yu'er's words are my words. She is my sister now."
"Yes!" Gu Yi stood up in amazement, and the crowd followed. "We welcome Duke Zuoyu, please come in!"
"Yes." Murong Zuoyu entered the Gu residence, while Gu Qingyu followed him with casual strides. Gosh, it feels good to be home like this!. With Brother Murong around, I could get away with everything! Having a brother like him is awesome!
They arrived at the main hall. Murong Zuoyu sat down and Gu Qingyu sat next to him. She looked around, she didn't see her mother as well. "Where's Mother?"
Everyone fell silent the moment she said that.
"Where is she?" Gu Qingyu asked again.
Gu Yi began slowly. "As soon as you left home, she fell ill with a strange disease. After a while, even the royal doctors couldn't do anything, so she..." He shook his head with a sigh.
Her father's words were reduced to a buzz as pain swelled from her chest, she closed her eyes and composed herself.
"Yu'er." Murong Zuoyu placed his hand on top of hers and looked at her with worry. He was aware of Mrs Gu's kind and upstanding character. She must have been one of the few that cared for Gu Qingyu in this house. Her death would sadden Qingyu greatly. In fact, she did not come home for "payback", she came home to visit her mother.
Gu Qingyu gave Murong Zuoyu a faint smile, she was fine. Then, she turned to her father. "Strange disease? What kind of strange disease?"
Gu Yi was not pleased with her tone, but Murong Zuoyu was still with them, so he answered, "She would get headaches every night, and a pattern of blue flames grew up her arm. It became so painful that she could not bear, so..."
Gu Qingyu stared at him in disbelief. Blue flame patterns?
Gu Yi let out a deep sigh. "Your mother died in so much pain. I know that the sign came from an assassin organisation named Ye. Those assassins are the most powerful in the world, no one dared to so much as touch them. I have sent people to try to learn more, but none of them returned..."
"That 's impossible!" Gu Qingyu denied that accusation immediately.
"What's impossible? Am I still going to lie to you in this kind of thing?" Gu Yi was obviously angry too, "Gu Qingyu, your mother was still thinking of you till her last breath!"
Gu Qingyu took a deep breath. "It's all my fault...I'll get to the bottom of this and seek justice for her."
"Justice?" Gu Yi sneered, "you dare challenge Ye?"
Gu Qingyu flinched, then quickly answered, "I already have." And it's their big boss.
Gu Yi was also surprised, but he continued, "Forget it, even if you really have the ability to avenge her death, your mother would not come back. You won't be able to make up to her."
Her eyes became a little red and puffy. “You're right, it is my fault, I did not do my part as her child. But talking about this won't change anything, the only thing I can do now is to find out what really happened to her."
"Well." Gu Yi nodded and ended the conversation.
Gu Qingyu took a deep breath and pretended to ask casually. "Yes, what about my second sister? Where is she?"
"Yan'er, she..." Gu Yi's eyes sunken. "was poisoned."
"Yeah." Gu Qingyu covered her lips with "surprise", "Oh no! How could that possibly have happened?"
Gu Yi frowned at her dramatic reaction. Murong Zuoyu cleared his throat and diverted the conversation. "Yu'er, It's getting late."
"Oh, we should go." She snapped out of her daze and stood up.
"Yu'er, you're not staying?" Gu Yi's face sank instantly.
"No, there isn't anything worth staying for anyway." Gu Qingyu turned and smiled sweetly at Gu Yi. Such a smile made Gu Yi shudder. He was a general, who had gone to battles and returned. Yet when he saw his daughter's sweet smile, a chill crawled up his neck. The cold, harsh look in her eyes and her bared teeth reminded him of a snake. Sadly, there was no farmer that nursed the snake back to health, there were only those that wished to capture it.
They stepped into the carriage and returned to the mansion. Only after the carriage doors closed did Gu Qingyu leaned back against the padded cushions and let out a long sigh.
"Qingyu." Murong Zuoyu's eyes reflected his concern. "This may not be the right time, but you must believe in Ye Jin. He would not do something like this."
Gu Qingyu nodded. "I know." She sighed precisely because she believes him.Previous Chapter Next Chapter