Breakfast had become a very stressful event for Gu Qingyu. Even though she tried to ignore the glare from a certain jealous person, the sound of Qi Yichen's laughter could be heard echoing from all directions. She was haunted by a vengeful spirit that was seated at the table with her and by a poltergeist that would not leave her alone. As Ye Jin's face grew darker and darker with resentful rage, she silently offered up a handful of joss sticks for Qi Yichen as her condolences. It might have been an early offering, but at least she offered up something.
Ye Jin got up after he ate, he patted her head and said, "Continue without me, Xiao Yu'er. I'm going to go out for a walk, I'll be waiting for you outside."
"Oh, good." She nodded, knowing what he was leaving to handle.
Sure enough, it didn't take long for a piercing scream to come from outside. Obviously, it belonged to Qi Yichen. Gu Qingyu sighed. She knew that would happen to him, it was only a matter of time. Her offering was not too early after all. She put down her chopsticks and walked out when the screaming had somewhat subsided.
As soon as she stepped out from the room, Qi Yichen's half-dead body greeted her right outside the door.
Gu Qingyu was shocked. "Qi Yichen, you..."
"Xiao Qing Qing, I love you so much, you have to save me..." Qi Yichen tried to crawl to her, his hand stretched out in front of him as he begged for her help.
"You've gotten soft, Xiao Zhezhe." She frowned and walked right past Qi Yichen, towards Ye Jin.
Ye Jin raised his head and met her eyes, a smile bloomed across his face. "Done, Xiao Yu'er? Let's go."
"Yep!" She glanced at Qi Yichen one last time before walking away with Ye Jin.
"Xiao Qing Qing, you are so cruel..." Qi Yichen got up with a look of despair and trailed behind her.
Gu Qingyu turned back with a bright, Cheshire-like grin. "I have something even crueler up on my sleeve. Would you like to test that, Xiao Chen Chen?"
"Ahahaha, that would not be necessary, Xiao Qing Qing~ I'll just stick to the back instead. You and Brother Jia can carry on!" He half-walked, half-glided to the back of the pair instead, he even carefully placed a short distance between him and the pair.
Gu Qingyu felt her lips twitch. Then, she suddenly recalled something and asked him, "Hey, Qi Yichen, about your teacher, didn't you say that he already had a foot in his grave?"
To be precise, that was something he said a long time ago, that his teacher might not make it till spring.
Qi Yichen waved without care. "Ah, it's fine. So much time has passed, he can wait for a bit more."
Gu Qingyu was shocked. Wait, what does he mean that his teacher can wait?
"I've even prepared the coffin for him, so there isn't any reason for me to rush." He fanned himself with a laugh. "Ahahahaha, I'll visit his grave once I get back!"
"No need," Gu Qingyu sighed quietly, "He's right behind you."
Qi Yichen shivered. "Xiao Qing Qing, don't scare me like this!"
She returned the same line to him, albeit with some changes. "Aw, Qi Yichen~ Don't scare me like that~"
Qi Yichen cringed in horror instead.
A certain someone snapped again as Gu Qingyu and Qi Yichen bickered back and forth.
Ye Jin looked at Gu Qingyu a little bitterly: "Xiao Yu'er, you ignored me."
"I..." Gu Qingyu said awkwardly, "Xiao Zhezhe..."
Ye Jin hmphed and turned away, a clear indication that he didn't want to talk to her.
Gu Qingyu choked on the rest of her sentence and met Qi Yichen's gloating face when she turned around.
Ye Jin narrowed his eyes in deep thought, then turned back around to hug her. He said with a tinge of jealousy. "Don't ignore me next time." He almost forgot that the treacherous, sly fox was still there.
Gu Qingyu was taken aback by this sudden flip in reaction and nodded subconsciously. "Yeah, okay."
Ye Jin then let go of Gu Qingyu. They had reached the gates by then. Horses had been prepared for them, waiting for them dutifully at the gates. Ye Jin walked over to one of the horses and mounted it. Qi Yichen also knew that Ye Jin was not stupid, he would need to pick and choose his battles, so he smiled as well and mounted another horse. Gu Qingyu looked at the last horse, its dark coat resembled velvet as it grazed calmly. She silently walked over and patted its head. "Let's go, Shiro!"
After Some Time
The three of them galloped through the plains.
"How long will we get to Yanyang?" Gu Qingyu looked at the never-ending horizon with a dazed look.
Ye Jin pursed his lips, and replied. "We're already taking the shortcut, by this rate we'll reach there by nightfall."
"By night?" She was audibly disappointed.
"Xiao Qing Qing~ Do you miss idiot Qi that much?" Qi Yichen asked with an eerie laugh. Sure enough, when he heard this, Ye Jin turned and glared at Qi Yichen. Gu Qingyu sighed internally, Qi Yichen had to bring that up.
She rolled her eyes. "Stop projecting onto me, I'm innocent! Qi Yichen, I know you two have a really special bond, go for it! Please be assured that I would be there as the ultimate obstacle in your path!"
Qi Yichen was taken aback, then pouted. "Xiao Qing Qing, you really hate to lose."
That sounded familiar, as if it had wiped away the dust that covered a certain memory.
Someone had said that to her as well, a long time ago. "Boss, you really hate to lose, don't you? Not even a little."
And her answer seemed to be. "You'll get used to it after a few more times, especially when you're dealing with me!"
Gu Qingyu smiled at the scholar. "As for you, just once would be enough." Seeing the distinct sadness in her eyes, Qi Yichen held back and did not continue.
Her memory returned to that ship. The salty in the wind, the light of the sunrise and the warmth of the robe he let her. Sometimes, the person closest to you, may not be family, or your partner.
It was something that surpassed familial bonds or romantic ties. Gu Qingyu closed her eyes and sped up.
Ye Jin pursed his lips and followed.
Xiao Yu'er, I will help you protect whoever you wish to keep from harm.
I know how you feel about him, he is like your other half.
I know that I cannot compare to his importance in your heart, we simply exist in two separate categories. But I still feel a little sad every time I watch you put yourself into harm's way for him.
Still, my phoenix refuses to be caged. She would fly and soar. When that time comes, I will be there with you to see a whole new world.
As expected, they arrived at Yan Yang City just as day turned to night. Gu Qingyu stared at the large sign that hung on the city gates. She would see Qi Wan soon, right? And Brother Murong. The gates were about to close, the trio dismounted and walked into the city.
One of the soldiers noticed Gu Qingyu. "Are you friends of General Leng?"
Gu Qingyu nodded at him and smiled. "if it's not too much trouble, please take us to him."
"Okay, wait a minute, let me just inform the general." The soldier bowed then left.
Gu Qingyu looked at Ye Jin behind her and found that he was staring at her intently.
Perhaps he did not expect that Gu Qingyu would suddenly turn her head, Ye Jin was taken aback for a moment, and then laughed. "What are you looking at, Xiao Yu'er?"
"What are you looking at." Gu Qingyu pouted with some dissatisfaction. "You're allowed to stare at me but I'm not allowed to stare at you?"
"Of course." Ye Jin walked over, his chest pressed against her back as he hugged her from behind.
Gu Qingyu blushed and lowered her head. A shout interrupted that moment, the soldier had returned. "Miss, the general has come to welcome you."
Gu Qingyu immediately looked up. As expected, Murong Zuoyu was walking to them with hasty steps, still dressed in his familiar purple robe. He smiled when he saw her. "Brother Zhu!"
"Brother Murong!" She greeted him with the same enthusiasm.
"I found something new." Murong Zuoyu looked at the soldier beside him, then turned around. "Follow me."
"Okay." Gu Qingyu nodded, and followed Murong Zuoyu to a house.
Murong Zuoyu walked in and closed the door after the trio entered. "This is my temporary residence."
"Oh." She responded as she started to take in her surroundings. The house was simple but well-furnished, everything was neatly placed. It was like a place where Murong Zuoyu would stay. She clicked her tongue. "Wow, Brother Murong, everything's so neat!"
"Is that so." Murong Zuoyu smiled faintly, then walked to his seat and sat down. "Here, Brother Zhu, have a seat."
Gu Qingyu sat down and cut to the chase. "So what did you find, Brother Murong?"
Murong Zuoyu tapped on the table. "Well, the Spirit Gem is not really this city. Specifically, it should be the core of this city. I found this information in the main library."
"Core?" Qi Yichen jumped into the conversation. "So it's the heart of this city?"
"Pretty much." Murong Zuoyu nodded seriously. "The Spirit Gem supports the final energy source in this city. If the Spirit Gem is destroyed, the city would go down with it. Conversely, if this city falls, then the Spirit Gem would break too."
"So, the Spirit Gem is this city." She concluded. Murong Zuoyu paused, pondered, and agreed.
"So, where is the Spirit Gem?" Ye Jin, who had remained quiet up till this point, asked.
Murong Zuoyu looked down, his hand that had been tapping on the table had relaxed. He said in a monotone, "It is in the lake at the center of this city."Previous Chapter Next Chapter