Murong Zuoyu and Gu Qingyu walked through the city as the townspeople stared at them with respect. She was quite impressed, she clicked her tongue and tapped his shoulder. "I didn't know your face would be so useful, Brother Leng." Murong Zuoyu felt odd, in her words, he was almost a key that opened the city gates.
Gu Qingyu smiled and lowered her voice. "Maybe when we get to the capital of Xiqian, you can easily retrieve the Spirit Gem with that face too!"
"I hope so." Murong Zuoyu nodded slightly and sighed, "I never thought things would be this bad in Xiqian."
Gu Qingyu followed his gaze. The city was quiet, many shops and stalls were closed. In fact, all the doors and windows were closed tightly. The homeless gathered in the alleys, trying to hide from the cold. People walked past them, ignoring them.
"Yeah, it's along the border after all. They must have cut off the supply roads." Gu Qingyu sighed.
"No," Surprisingly, Murong Zuoyu shook his head, "The situation in the imperial city is much more dire."
His words reframed the context and her heart dropped. Yeah, if the border cities that are away from the conflict are in such a bad state, the capital must be in chaos. All of the power is consolidated there, the ongoing conflict must be amplified there.
"But at least that's the capital. They've already given up on the people here." Gu Qingyu shook her head, suddenly remembered a poem she had read before, and said it softly, "In prosperity, the masses suffer. In destruction, the masses suffer."
Murong Zuoyu seemed to be moved by these words. Perhaps that struck a chord with him. "Brother Zhu, do you think so too?"
Gu Qingyu nodded. "A dynasty prospers because of the efforts of its people, and when the dynasty falls, its people are forced to go to war against each other. Every exchange of power involves war. So the people suffer in prosperity or destruction."
Murong Zuoyu nodded, and the way he looked at her changed slightly. She was originally a strange woman, clever, decisive, brave, and tough, but her remark made her even more unique. Perhaps he knew from the beginning that his Zhu Fan must be extraordinary.
"Brother Leng, I think you will stay." Gu Qingyu said suddenly.
Murong Zuoyu was taken aback for a moment, but he didn't know that Gu Qingyu had observed him so intricately. "I have planned to. "
"I figured, you're not the kind that could turn a blind eye to this."
"It's just a plan." Murong Zuoyu sighed lightly, "I still have to go with Brother Zhu to find the Spirit Gem."
Gu Qingyu lowered her head and was a little touched, was he planning to go against his own wishes to help her? She pushed past her hesitation and replied, "Brother Leng, I can actually do it alone."
"Brother Zhu, you are too hard-headed." Murong Zuoyu looked at her and smiled. "I believe the others have said the same thing. You would rush in with a complete lack of self-preservation, and put up a strong face for everyone else.”
Gu Qingyu lowered her eyes. "Got it." Then, she raised her head and said in a brisk tone, "Then let's stay here for now."
"Stay here?" Murong Zuoyu was in disbelief, frowning slightly. "What about that Spirit Gem?"
"Yeah," Gu Qingyu smiled, "Who said that the Spirit Gem must be at the capital? We can look around here, and help this city at the same time."
Murong Zuoyu flinched for a moment, and then he curled his lips and stopped arguing with her. "Okay."
They stopped at an inn. Gu Qingyu found a map and examined it as she munched on an apple.
Murong Zuoyu sat beside her and studied it as well.
"This is Yan Yang City." Gu Qingyu stared at it for a long time and finally came to a conclusion.
Murong Zuoyu glanced at her, was that hard to figure out?
He asked tentatively, "Brother Zhu, you only saw that after such a long time?"
"Yeah, how? It's amazing!" Gu Qingyu said with a triumphant expression, "Are you impressed?"
"Yes." Murong Zuoyu nodded and said sincerely. For someone as good as her, there should be no other in the world.
"Right, right~" Gu Qingyu was still smug, looked at Murong Zuoyu who was speechless, and laughed out loud, "Ahahaha, ok I'll stop messing with you."
Murong Zuoyu held his forehead even more speechlessly so that he didn't get angry. "Okay, Brother Zhu, stop making trouble."
"Hey!" Gu Qingyu suddenly stood up and looked at Murong Zuoyu.
Murong Zuoyu thought she had found something, and immediately sat up straight. "What?"
"Look!" Gu Qingyu held out the apple in her hand, she had gnawed a small smiley face on it. "Cute, right?"
"Very cute." Murong Zuoyu gritted his teeth a bit, he was really going to lose his patience.
Gu Qingyu sat back in her seat just enough, held the apple in her left hand and pointed on the map with her right hand. "Brother Leng, look, if we take this path, it would take only a day to reach the capital."
Murong Zuoyu nodded and motioned for her to continue.
She took a bite of the apple, and then continued, "Going there and back would take about two days. Maybe one of us can head to the capital to bring reinforcements, while the other stays here and buys time."
"Yes. I'll stay here and you can go to the capital as General Leng, there's no way they would deny you. Sure, they might be in a bit of a pickle but they can handle it. We might even make it back in time."
"It's a good idea. But Brother Zhu, can you handle this alone?"
"Of course, I'll hold the line for as long as it takes." Gu Qingyu smiled and nodded. "So, get going."
Murong Zuoyu thought for a while, then raised his head and said decisively, "No."
"Eh? Why? Didn't you say that this is a good idea?"
"It's a good idea, but it's not pragmatic." Murong Zuoyu shook his head. "Brother Zhu, I can't leave you alone in this dangerous place."
Gu Qingyu pursed her lips and kept quiet. He refused to leave her in a dangerous situation, and she refused to let him stay. So she concocted a plan to get him to do what he wants and not worry about her, but it failed.
Murong Zuoyu sighed, "Brother Zhu, that was a well-thought-out strategy. But you can't pull the wool over my eyes." He already knew that she would try to send him away and protect him in her way instead.
Gu Qingyu lowered her head and bit her lip. "Brother Murong, you know, we don't have much time."
"I know." He looked out the window, the sun was slowly setting down the mountain.
"In short, I won't leave, Brother Zhu." Murong Zuoyu stood up. "Let's go have a meal first, you didn't eat much today, you must be starving."
"Brother Leng understands me~" Gu Qingyu smiled and opened the door.
"Brother Zhu." Murong Zuoyu's voice came from behind her, cool with unquestionable determination. "I will definitely find the Spirit Gem."
"Yeah, I know." Gu Qingyu lowered her head and walked downstairs.
Not "thank you", or "I believe you". It was "I know." She knew that he would find the Spirit Gem. She knew that he would protect her.
They ordered a couple of simple dishes, and Gu Qingyu started on them the moment the food arrived at their table. No matter what happened, it was important to have her meals. Murong Zuoyu held his forehead, his shoulders shaking slightly from time to time as he watched her eat.
Gu Qingyu glanced at Murong Zuoyu. It was clear that he was holding back his laughter, she sighed, "Brother Leng, cry if you want to. Don't hold back!"
Murong Zuoyu paused, put down his hand and looked at her. He was completely stunned. Gu Qingyu pinched his cheeks as she laughed. His cheeks were surprisingly soft! And she pinched his cheeks again a few more times.
"Brother Zhu, what are you doing?" Murong Zuoyu looked at her helplessly.
"Tsk, tsk, tsk! It feels so nice!"
Murong Zuoyu gently patted her hand off his face and massaged his temples. "Brother Zhu, please wipe off your drool first."
"Ah? Oh, okay..." She touched her mouth and found that there was nothing, she pouted. "Brother Leng, you lied to me."
"I did not lie to you, it was just a bluff." Murong Zuoyu smiled innocently.
"Brother Leng, you..."
"What?" Murong Zuoyu smiled and began to eat. Gu Qingyu was bewildered, she had been blindsided by his teasing.
"Brother Zhu, you should eat quickly, otherwise the food is going to go cold. And things go cold very quickly in winter." He reminded her kindly. Gu Qingyu immediately picked up her chopsticks and began to shove rice into her mouth.
The plates were devoid of its contents at the end of their meal. Even though Murong Zuoyu had seen her unique skill several times, he still couldn't help but look at Gu Qingyu in admiration.
"What are you looking at?" Gu Qingyu slowly put down her chopsticks, "Do you admire me very much? Don't just admire me, if you try you can eat this much too. The key is to cast aside public perception and just go for it!"
"Go for it?" That intrigued him.
"Yes!" She nodded sincerely. "In layman's terms, throw away your dignity!" Murong Zuoyu changed his mind. He would like to hold onto his dignity, thank you very much.
"What do you think?" Gu Qingyu wiggled her eyebrows. "Did my advice change your thirty-year-old mind?"
"It's twenty-five." He corrected her.
"Brother Leng, you seem to have revealed something ground-breaking? Whatever helps you sleep at night." Gu Qingyu nodded as she got up and looked at the sky, it was getting dark. "Speaking of sleep, I'm going to bed."
Whatever helps you sleep? Murong Zuoyu was speechless, she sounded as though she was coaxing a child.Previous Chapter Next Chapter