After being locked up in Tiger’s Prison, Uncle Cheng spent most of his days in his room. He rarely ventured out, even to his own courtyard, much less leaving for another’s. Manager Jin was about to hide while Uncle Cheng spotted him and gestured for him to come down. Though they had been partners, they had never found common topics to talk about.
The gesture didn’t elicit any suspicion in Manager Jin, who was too lazy to probe into the man’s intentions towards Su Xiaoyu. Quickly he jumped into the courtyard and went back into his rooms. Once he was gone, Uncle Cheng lost his previous cool. He quickly ran back towards the courtyard, afraid that Bai Yuqiao would catch him. He had been waiting here for too long. If he didn’t make a move now, it’d be too late!
Currently, Bai Yuqiao had just finished dealing with Jun Yixie’s inspectors using a combination of flirting and silver. With difficulty, she spared Su Xiaoyu from a round of physical torment. She didn’t dare be careless and made sure to personally send the men off before doubling back. However, the first thing she saw was Su Xiaoyu staring at her from a distance by the gates. Bai Yuqiao pretended not to see, but Su Xiaoyu suddenly shouted, “Bai Yuqiao, come over here, I have something to ask you!”
This damned girl, she’s seeking death!
With no choice, Bai Yuqiao approached. Su Xiaoyu had been so loud that there’d be trouble if she alerted the nearby guards. Once she got near, Su Xiaoyu ran into the courtyard until she reached her rather concealed rooms. Bai Yuqiao’s eyes flickered with complication before she followed her inside.
“Gonna lock the door?” Su Xiaoyu was like a little adult as she crossed her arms over her chest. This period of treatment had just about healed her.
“What are you doing?” Bai Yuqiao arched a brow, appearing as proud as always.
“Why are you helping me?” Su Xiaoyu asked.
She always thought it’d been Ning Cheng keeping Bai Yuqiao from hurting her, but these past few days she realized that wasn’t right. Even if Ning Cheng was responsible for the better treatment, Bai Yuqiao would only leave her alone, not go out of her way to treat her so well. She not only gave her a specialized doctor to treat her wounds, but got her a personal kitchen and cooked her all sorts of food to nurture her body. Today especially, Bai Yuqiao had untangled the thorny issue of Jun Yixie’s guards when they tried to cause trouble.
“Help you?” Bai Yuqiao smiled coldly. “Su Xiaoyu, who do you think you are?”
Su Xiaoyu’s smile was even more disdainful. “Fine, I’ll go out and ask a guard right now, just what kind of god is covering for me!”
Bai Yuqiao shrugged carelessly and even got out of the way so Su Xiaoyu could walk out. Su Xiaoyu really did step out, leaving Bai Yuqiao black-faced, but she didn’t go to immediately stop her. However, Su Xiaoyu wasn’t joking as she took confident strides forward. Behind her, Bai Yuqiao followed at a steady pace.
Still, in the end she couldn’t help but cry, “Su Xiaoyu, you better think things through. If you rush out like that, no one will shield you in the future!”
Su Xiaoyu didn’t even turn around, much less slow her steps. As she walked, she replied, “Even if I die, I won’t let someone irrelevant shield me.”
Someone who could protect her so much either had to be one of their own or harboring their own intentions. She was certain that anyone who could bribe Bai Yuqiao to their side couldn’t be an ally, so she believed the latter choice. Today, she was going to unmask the mastermind behind the curtain once and for all.
Bai Yuqiao was quite displeased by her statement and kept following. But in the end, she grabbed Su Xiaoyu’s hand and pulled her back right before she reached the gates.
“If you want to know who’s shielding you, then listen and follow me back!” Bai Yuqiao murmured coldly.
“Fine!” Su Xiaoyu agreed easily.
Bai Yuqiao led Su Xiaoyu by the hand back to the courtyard. She couldn’t help shooting a glance at their conjoined fingers as bitterness rose in her heart. This was her first time holding hands with her little sister. If their parents hadn’t abandoned them--if they hadn’t been taken by different people--how wonderful would it be? How many times could they have held hands then? After uncovering Su Xiaoyu’s identity, Bai Yuqiao felt like an older sibling again. But only now did she know what it felt like to have a little sister.
Little Yu’er, do you know the oldest sister becomes a mother when we don’t have our parents? I wanted to hold you hand like this and watch you grow up, watch you get married.
Bai Yuqiao’s steps slowed. She knew that after this was over, she’d have no more chances. Still, Su Xiaoyu quickly freed herself from her grasp. She didn’t notice Bai Yuqiao’s abnormality and strode forward with wide strides, not even bothering to wait. Bai Yuqiao looked at her palm with a helpless smile, but quickly adjusted her emotions and followed.
Back in the rooms, Su Xiaoyu sprawled lazily on the couch. Although she was young, her posture was elegant and poised like an upper-class lady. Bai Yuqiao resumed her arrogant air and smiled icily. “Little girl, I’d prefer you sit properly when I talk to you!”
“Try wasting words again,” Su Xiaoyu rebuked rudely.
Bai Yuqiao couldn’t help a wry grin. She really is my sister. Although we grew up apart, our personalities are the same.
She stopped wasting time and went back to her pre-prepared explanation. “Han Yunxi’s shielding you, so you don’t have to worry!”
Su Xiaoyu leaped off the couch so fast she almost fell on the group. Now she was nothing more than a frantic little girl. “Really? Really?! Bai Yuqiao, don’t you try and trick me!”
“If you don’t believe me you can ask Ning Jing. When spring comes, Han Yunxi and Long Feiye will come to rescue you all. If you still want to return to her side, then take good care of yourself. I heard that Han Yunxi never keeps useless good-for-nothings around!” Bai Yuqiao added.
Although Su Xiaoyu was thrilled, she still remain guarded. “In other words, you betrayed Jun Yixie? And surrendered to my master?”
Bai Yuqiao laughed coldly. “Surrender? Han Yunxi doesn’t have such skills! I’m only doing a deal with Ning Cheng, that’s all. Whether or not you believe me is up to you.”
Only Ning Cheng knew the truth. Even Ning Jing and the rest were clueless to her relationship with Su Xiaoyu and assumed she was being threatened by him. Thus, Bai Yuqiao was certain Su Xiaoyu would buy the story with Ning Jing and Mu Linger backing it up. As expected, Su Xiaoyu immediately proclaimed, “I want to see Mu Linger! Right now!”
“Fine, I’ll try and make arrangements tomorrow,” Bai Yuqiao agreed.
Su Xiaoyu couldn’t hide her desire to jump for joy, which was written all over her face. She thought she’d die at Bai Yuqiao’s hands with no hope of seeing her master ever again. I don’t even know how she’s doing right now. And has Baili Mingxiang done anything naughty recently? And then there’s Zhao mama, who’d definitely miss me. The more she thought, the happier Su Xiaoyu felt. If it wasn’t for Bai Yuqiao standing around, she would definitely be bouncing about! Even so, Bai Yuqiao could read her joy like a book.
Although Bai Yuqiao despised Han Yunxi, she silently thanked the woman after seeing her sister so happy. She had already told Ning Cheng to keep her connection to Su Xiaoyu a secret at all costs--especially when it came to Han Yunxi. If Han Yunxi doted on the girl, she should keep cherishing her without any misgivings.
As Bai Yuqiao turned to leave, she couldn’t resist asking, “Little girl, aren’t you curious about the deal between Ning Cheng and I?”
Su Xiaoyu only darted a glimpse at her. “The hell does it have to do with me?”
Bai Yuqiao spun on her heel and left, smiling until tears poured down her face.
The next day, Bai Yuqiao brought Su Xiaoyu to Mu Linger’s side, where she confirmed the story. Su Xiaoyu was so happy that she jumped all around the house while flailing her arms and legs. Ning Jing and Mu Linger realized then that Su Xiaoyu really was just a child.
Although the lush forest surrounding Tiger’s Prison made it impossible to see any snow, everyone could feel the weather getting colder day after day. The true winter was on its way, which meant spring couldn’t be far behind. Besides Uncle Cheng, everyone was waiting for its arrival. The warm spring days weren’t their hope so much as Han Yunxi and Long Feiye’s arrival.
During the middle of the eleventh lunar month, Long Feiye and Gu Qishao both recovered from their internal injuries. The Returning Dragon Pill was also refined to completion. Noon was determined as a fortuitous time to open up the furnace. Even Xu Donglin and Baili Mingxiang joined them inside the Medicine Requesting Cave to witness the moment.
They watched the Pill Furnace Master use a strange technique before using all his strength to slow open one of the furnace doors. Although Gu Qishao said their materials were enough to create five Returning Dragon Pills, Pill Furnace Master had clarified that he could only guarantee the success of one fully formed pill. The others were a gamble at best. Thus, everyone had no idea how many pills they’d get today. Returning Dragon Pill was a good thing--moreover, they had given so much effort and nearly lost three lives in making it.
It would be a lie to say no one was nervous. Even Han Yunxi, who was exhausted after successive days of hard work, felt her nerves stretched taut upon this moment. She stared at the slowly opening door, which Pill Furnace Master was opening with a rare case of shaking fingers.
Gradually, they saw a corner inside the furnace covered in a pile of medicinal dregs. Expecting this, no one said a word. But soon enough, they saw yet another pile of medicinal dregs. Two piles meant that two pills were lost to them. Pill Furnace Master’s hands shook even more as he kept pulling the door down. Then there was a third pile of medicinal dregs! Three pills had been lost just like that.
“What kind of crappy furnace is this? It’s a fraud!” Gu Qishao kicked the Celestial Fire Qian Furnace, causing Pill Furnace Master to shout.
“What are you doing? Try and kick it again! Haven’t you hurt it enough?!” Even if he couldn’t do anything to change the future, Pill Furnace Master still had a temper!
“If you hadn’t tricked us, would we hurt it in the first place? Isn’t it just a crappy furnace? What are you so nervous about?” Gu Qishao’s tone turned icy.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Aish, these two sisters...
Just a note that I have found an eventual conclusion to their story, which is actually in PGC's sequel. But don't worry guys! When the right time comes, I'll translate that specific chapter just for PGC readers, so watch this space in the future for an official link! It's worth the catharsis factor. :)
And same thing as always, work's got me tied up (no holidays for Chinese New Year here ahhh), but expect your bonus chapters tomorrow, okay? For real this time. <3