Chapter 170: Retort
Even though Jun Huang was the one the audience was praising, Nan Xun was pleased as if he had been on the receiving end of the praises as well. A smile found its way to his face and stayed there.
Rong’er scowled. She was from a prestigious sect! She couldn’t possibly be inferior to this weakling!
She tightened her jaw and glared at the elegant man who was a few feet away from her. Hatred filled her heart with fire. She threw a punch at Jun Huang.
Jun Huang could tell that Rong’er had lost her calm. Her punch had lost its usual velocity and force. Jun Huang dodged it easily and pushed at Rong’er from behind.
Jun Huang had not used her inner force with that push. Therefore Rong’er only stumbled before steadying herself. The audience erupted into laughter. Rong’er’s face flushed in anger as she advanced on Jun Huang with insistent attacks.
Rong’er was able to push Jun Huang back not because she had tapped into her potential due to provocation, but because Jun Huang was hit with a sudden pain in her chest. She had to endure it while fighting Rong’er. Her face became more and more pale.
This close, Rong’er could see that Jun Huang was losing her strength. With a scoff, she backed Jun Huang into a corner and struck at her chest, very much the opposite of how an honorable fighter would act.
Nan Xun had taught Jun Huang what to do when backed into a corner. She crossed her arms before her chest and pushed Rong’er away. She took two quick steps and kicked Rong’er in the stomach, sending her flying in the air. The sudden movement caused a clot of blood to form in Jun Huang’s lungs. She spat it out, leaving a crimson stain on the stage.
Jun Huang looked up at the sky. The sun was blindingly bright. She had been struggling to stay upright. After her bout of attacks against Rong’er, she had exhausted her well of strength. Her knees went weak and she collapsed.
Nan Xun rushed up the stage and caught her before she could hit the floor. The fabric of their clothes fluttered in the wind as their hair tangled together. With a twist of his foot, Nan Xun steadied himself with Jun Huang in his arms.
Jun Huang took a deep breath to alleviate the heaviness in her chest. She stayed in Nan Xun’s embrace for a moment before opening her eyes. She attempted a smile and opened her mouth to say that she was alright, but no sound came out.
Nan Xun’s heart clenched. He couldn’t take it if something happened to Jun Huang. He held onto her, his knuckles going white. His eyes were filled with worry. He was terrified that Jun Huang would lose consciousness again and not wake up this time.
It took a while for Jun Huang to find her voice. “Don’t worry,” she said weakly. “The clot of blood had been forming in my chest for a while. It’s good for me to get it out.”
Nan Xun was reminded of what the doctor had told him. He too said that blood had been accumulating in Jun Huang’s lungs. She would feel better once she got it out of her system. It would warrant more concerns if she couldn’t get the blood out. Nan Xun had been too worried and too focused on taking care of Jun Huang that he forgot about that.
Jun Huang knew medicine herself. Nan Xun let out a relieved sigh, but he couldn’t stop himself from thinking about what could have happened. Reflexively, his arms tightened around Jun Huang.
Jun Huang didn’t see the panic on Nan Xun’s face, but Rong’er did. She had been kicked off the stage by Jun Huang. If her seniors had not caught her, she would have been seriously hurt.
She had witnessed Nan Xun pulling Jun Huang into his arms and saw his fear. She wanted nothing more than to take Jun Huang’s place. She was even more convinced that Jun Huang was a manipulative liar. Nan Xun had been deceived by her innocent appearance.
“Haven’t you promised me to stay safe?” Nan Xun whispered into Jun Huang’s ear in a pained tone. “How can I trust you to take care of yourself? Were you even listening to what I said?”
Jun Huang didn’t have an answer for him. She never expected Nan Xun to speak to her in such a tired voice. Her heartbeats grew erratic.
Her silence prompted Nan Xun to continue, “Can you give up this fight? I’ll send my men to track your brother down. You don’t have to risk your life for fame that may or may not help you.”
He was pleading.
The man whose name alone could deter an army, the prince who stood above many others - he was begging her to not risk her safety. He promised to take care of everything. He only asked for her to stay safe.
How could she not be moved? How could she deny him?
Jun Huang nodded without hesitation and said, “I understand. I will forfeit the match.”
Nan Xun swallowed down his unspoken words. He hadn’t expected Jun Huang to agree with him so readily. He let go of Jun Huang with surprise in his eyes. Jun Huang looked back at him with a small smile. It was as gentle as a breeze in spring.
She’s truly one of a kind, Nan Xun thought.
Jun Huang pulled away from Nan Xun while he had yet to recover from his daze and struggled to get up. She walked up to the referee and said facing Rong’er, “I forfeit this fight. Rong’er is the winner.”
The audience was shocked. Even Rong’er couldn’t believe what was happening. Why would Jun Huang admit defeat? She was so close to winning! Why would she serve victory on a silver platter to her? It didn’t make sense.
The crowd started clapping in earnest. Someone exclaimed, “It’s kind of Feng Baiyu to let this woman win!” Similar comments could be heard from the audience. They didn’t pull back from showering Jun Huang with praises. Some women even threw their handkerchiefs at the stage, forming a vibrant rain of colorful silk. They considered Jun Huang to be husband material. Their hearts had been won by this gentleman.
As if waking up from a dream, Rong’er scoffed and walked up to Jun Huang, pushing her seniors away. “What are you trying to do, Feng Baiyu?” she shouted. “Why did you let me have this victory I have not won myself?”
Jun Huang turned to her. “Isn’t a victory against me what you wanted? This gentleman has declared you the winner. You should be happy. Why can’t you just let go?”
Rong’er spat. “Don’t think I haven’t figured out your true intentions. You use your weakness as a weapon! Do you really think that you’re superior to others?! I’ve never known anyone like you, who is nothing but a burden to other people. You’re a useless piece of waste that deserve to be despised and shunned!”
Rong’er had lost control because of her anger. She spouted off any insults that came to her mind. The onlookers gaped at her in shock, confused by the situation.
Nan Xun could feel the coldness radiating from Jun Huang, and her face was visibly going pale. He narrowed his eyes and stepped in between them, forcing Rong’er to back away.
“From what I can see, you are the one who deserve to be shunned,” Nan Xun retorted. He had refrained from saying anything because Rong’er was a woman, but he refused to let Rong’er hurt Jun Huang again and again. “This gentleman has let you get away with such actions many times, and yet you keep crossing the line. Tell me, what the hell are you trying to do?”
Rong’er didn’t expect such harsh words to come out of Nan Xun’s mouth. She stared at him with wide eyes before turning to glare at Jun Huang. “I wonder what seductive tricks you’ve used on gentleman Nan Xun to make him lose his sense of right and wrong. Do you really think you’re better than others? You’re a leech! Without gentleman Nan Xun’s protection, you’re nothing!”
She screamed at the top of her lungs. She didn’t care about anything anymore. Her blazing eyes fixed on Jun Huang as she panted. She wanted Jun Huang to react, to show even a trace of hurt. And yet Jun Huang simply looked at her with a calm expression.
Rong’er couldn’t stand the silence. “Answer me!”
Jun Huang threw a glance at Nan Xun before stepping forward from behind Nan Xun. “What do you want me to say?” she said quietly, looking at Rong’er with her eyes lowered. “You’ve won. What else do you want?”
“You did it on purpose, didn’t you? You want me to be mocked by everyone for this victory I didn’t win myself. Isn’t that right?”
Her anger burned even hotter. Jun Huang deserved to be punished! Possessed by her ire, she took a few steps back and grabbed her senior sister’s whip before striking at Jun Huang. The intent to kill shone brightly in her eyes.
The attack was quick and brutal. Jun Huang wouldn’t be able to dodge it. When her body was able to react, the whip was only inches away from her. She closed her eyes reflexively, bracing for the pain, but it didn’t come.
She opened her eyes and saw that Nan Xun had caught the whip with bare hand, his expression cold. A long gash was left on his palm. Blood dripped down to the floor like rain.
Rong’er had never wanted to hurt Nan Xun. She cried out and dropped the whip. Nan Xun threw the whip at the floor with great force, glaring at Rong’er with fury in his eyes.
“You’re hurt!” Jun Huang hurriedly took Nan Xun’s hand and checked his injury.
Nan Xun opened his hand to let Jun Huang look at his palm. He knew it was only a flesh wound.
The bleeding cut looked horrifying. Rong’er covered her mouth and burst into tears. Jun Huang felt the pain like it was her own, but she didn’t let it show. She took out a bottle of medicine and carefully apply the powder over his wound. She then bandaged his hand with a handkerchief.
It took a moment for Rong’er to calm down. She sniffed. “I didn’t mean it! I wasn’t trying to hit you! It’s him! If not for him, you wouldn’t have gotten hurt!”
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