What was Mu Linger dreaming of to make her cry out for “Qi gege?”
What did she need Qi gege to do? Save her?
Manager Jin was going to wake her up, but stopped when she called for Qi gege. Instead, he sat quietly to wait while watching her fearful face full of tears crying and yelling for “Qi gege.”
Just what’s so great about Gu Qishao?
Abruptly, Manager Jin spoke up.
He said, “Mu Linger, how about I bring you back to Wintercrow Country?”
He said, “Mu Linger, forget about everything. Let’s change our names and start a life herding sheep and horses in Wintercrow, alright?”
He said, “Mu Linger, just what’s so great about you?”
He had spent all this effort and even lost his life. His original plan was to take her to Han Yunxi in exchange for his indenture agreement so he could then run away to Wintercrow Country himself. Instead, his damnable self only wanted to bring her with him now, screw the indenture agreement.
Mu Linger was lost deep in her dreams and crying piteously, but never loosened her grip on little Tang Tang. Although she wasn’t the child’s mother, it was instinct to protect the baby. She didn’t release her even in her dreams. Finally, the sleeping child was startled away, first with a sob, then with louder and louder wails. Mu Linger was jolted awake and almost dropped the baby, but recovered just in time to tighten her grip. She hadn’t even realized Manager Jin was awake and staring at her from his seat nearby.
Exhaling, she muttered to herself, “You scared me to death!”
She quickly hugged little Tang Tang and pressed her face next to that sweet milk scent, seeking both comfort and courage from the little baby. If little Tang Tang didn’t need her protection, she would’ve fallen apart ages ago. Even now, she didn’t dare to think about Ning Jing and Bai Yuqiao’s state. Were they safe or in danger?
“Tang Tang, don’t cry, mother will be back soon. Little Tang Tang be good, don’t cry don’t cry….”
“Mother will be back very soon, godmother’s not lying. Little Tang Tang be good...father will come save us soon...you’re not allowed to cry…”
A mother was strong. She was no mother, but she was strong, too!
Mu Linger’s low, coaxing words were like coaxing herself. Little Tang Tang soon stopped crying, but her face was still full of tears. Manager Jin had wanted Mu Linger to notice his awakening first, but now he couldn’t watch on any longer.
This damned girl, she’s still like a child herself, but why’s she pretending to be so mature? She’s acting like she almost gave birth to that baby herself.
“Mu Linger!” Manager Jin spoke up suddenly, his voice cold.
Mu Linger’s head whipped up to see his gloomy face sitting a few steps away.
When did he wake up?
With a start, she turned speechless.
“Have you lost your wits? Why are you coaxing some baby? Wipe your own tears first!” Manager Jin scolded unhappily.
Mu Linger quickly came over with the baby in her arms. She looked at him in disbelief and cried, “You...you, you’re finally awake!”
As soon as she drew near, Manager Jin realized she’d gotten thin and pallid. Her complexion looked terrible. Just how long had he been unconscious? How much time had she stayed in this cave? How did she make it through the past few days? Thinking of this, Manager Jin’s brows creased. Mu Linger gave him a searching look before setting little Tang Tang aside and going to pinch Manager Jin’s cheeks.
“That hurts!” Manager Jin shouted, but he didn’t move or push her away. “Mu Linger, have you gone senile? What are you doing?”
But Mu Linger suddenly burst into tears, sobbing even louder than little Tang Tang.
“Sobsob...Jin Zi, I’m not dreaming! You’re finally awake! You’re finally awake!”
“You scared me to death, you know? I thought you’d never wake up again!”
“I didn’t even know what to do next! Sobsob...Jin Zi, you’re finally awake! Wahhhh…..”
As soon as Mu Linger started crying, little Tang Tang burst into fresh tears as well. Only then did she realized she’d lost control and promptly shut up. As she hastily turned to pick up the baby, Manager Jin suddenly pulled her back and into his arms.
Mu Linger was floored…
But soon enough, she began struggling. “What are you doing? Let go of me!”
“Don’t move!” Manager Jin ordered brusquely.
Mu Linger couldn’t be cowed by mere words. She struggled even harder. “Let me go, Tang Tang is crying! Hurry up and let go! Or else I won’t be polite!”
“If you could just be quiet, she’ll stop crying!” Manager Jin’s strength wasn’t something Mu Linger could break through. Before she could defend herself, he added, “You scared her into crying! You’re a crybaby yourself and you’re scared of her crying?”
Mu Linger had no retort for that, so she only replied, “Let me go!”
Faced with her words, Manger Jin couldn’t retort either. Instead, he only held her tighter. Mu Linger struggled multiple times before she finally relented. However, she was surprised to find that Tang Tang had really stopped crying. She wasn’t used to being embraced for so long, so her heart grew anxious with an indescribable feeling.
In a serious tone, she asked, “Jin Zi, men and women shouldn’t be so intimate. You’re taking advantage of me right now, you can’t do that.”
“Don’t forget what you owe me,” Manager Jin replied icily. She was supposed to spend a night with him, so how could a mere hug count as taking advantage?
But Mu Linger actually went back on her words. “You can go find Jun Yixie right now to report us.”
As soon as she spoke, the grip around her waist tightened until it actually began to hurt. Still, Mu Linger didn’t let Manager Jin have the advantage. She wasn’t afraid of him and she was a gruff, hard sort herself.
“Jin Zi, I don’t owe you anything! I’m telling you now, if you want to get the indenture agreement from my big sis, let go of me this instant. From now on, we’ll keep three paces apart. Otherwise, neither my big sis nor brother-in-law will spare you!” Mu Linger warned.
Manager Jin was unmoved as he murmured by her ear, “I don’t want the indenture agreement, I only want you.”
Mu Linger froze at the words. “Y-you….what kind of joke is that? W-who’re you trying to f-fool?”
“Mu Linger, we agreed on this beforehand. I’d save you from Tiger’s Prison and you’d come with me to Wintercrow Country. Are you going back on your promise?” Manager Jin asked.
Mu Linger remembered his words, but she only assumed he was making empty promises. How would she knew he had the skills to subdue the tigers? Blanking out, she felt like she was dreaming again despite knowing this was reality. Whether or not this dream was a “nightmare” remained to be seen.
She knew Manager Jin liked her, but she didn’t know why. And when? Manager Jin should hate her!
“Are you coming with me?” Manager Jin asked.
“We...we should first find Big Sis Ning and the rest. Otherwise, what will happen to little Tang Tang?” Mu Linger found an excuse to repudiate him.
She didn’t refuse because she didn’t dare. This guy was holding her in his arms right now and resting a head on her shoulder. If she aggravated him, then no one would come help her here in the middle of nowhere no matter how much she screamed! At long last, Mu Linger had grown some sense, but Manager Jin’s next words sent her into despair.
Manager Jin said, “Take the baby along and never meet with any of them again. That’s my bottom line.”
Mu Linger couldn’t bear it and rebuked him. “Jin Zi, do you have any shame? Stealing someone else’s baby? You’ll even bully a child as young as this, so what makes you any different from that big bastard Jun Yixie?”
“Are you coming or not?” Manager Jin grew impatient. He had zero interest in Ning Jing and Tang Li’s daughter. A baby this young--and a girl like that--wouldn’t even sell for much in the slave markets. He didn’t want any interaction with Han Yunxi or the rest because as soon as they knew Mu Linger was with him, he’d never be able to escape even if he fled to the ends of the Earth. Mu Linger was too naive to understand her big sister at all.
With Han Yunxi’s temper and personality, she’d never let him go once she knew he could talk to beasts. He had been puzzling over his potential connection to the Black Clan’s Jun Yixie and the origins of his powers. Despite this curiosity, he wasn’t interested in uncovering the details. The last thing he needed was to be sucked up in the power struggles between the Seven Noble Families and the East and West Qin Dynasties. All he wanted was to go back to his hometown.
Changing his name and vanishing into obscurity was the safest, most peaceful choice.
After deliberating, Mu Linger asked sincerely, “Jin Zi, can I think it over first?”
If Mu Linger was being sly, then one could say that Manager Jin forced her to this point. She figured that they weren’t far from Tiger’s Prison now and it was almost summer. Han Yunxi’s group should be on their way to save them now. Perhaps she’d even see Han Yunxi firsthand if she waited a few more days! Then she’d show Jin Zi!
“Fine! I’ll give you three days’ time,” Jin Zi released her.
Mu Linger silently exhaled. She didn’t fuss over details with Manager Jin, but figured she’d just wait out the three days. The longer she could put this off, the better. Moreover, it wasn’t guaranteed that they could even escape this forest. That mysterious man and Jun Yixie had to be still looking for them. She quickly picked up little Tang Tang and discovered that the big white tiger and mother tiger were looking at her with odd looks. As soon as she glanced over, the two beasts bowed their heads in respect.
Without a doubt, Manager Jin’s hug had given the tigers the impression that she was their female master now. She pursed her lips and pretended not to notice. Manager Jin turned away and feigned ignorance as well. Would the two tigers feel awkward from that?
As their conversation died, the cave fell into silence. For some reason, the atmosphere turned stiff and difficult after that. Finally, Mu Linger spoke up first.
“Jin Zi, just what are your origins? How could you subdue those tigers?”
“Innate gift. After listening to those tiger roars, I began to understand what they meant after a while. Then I tried interacting with them a few times and discovered they all feared me, so I tested a couple more times and realized they all obeyed my orders.” Manager Jin spoke easily as if this was the most ordinary thing in the world. He definitely had no idea that Jun Yixie had spent countless time and effort just to tame these same pack of tigers.
“I don’t believe it…” Mu Linger looked at him doubtfully.
But Manager Jin didn’t want to elaborate. “No one’s forcing you to believe it.”
Mu Linger simply dropped the topic and looked elsewhere. At this time, the big white tiger suddenly rose to its feet. Manager Jin thought he had sensed danger, but the beast simply started wagging its tail at Mu Linger.
Thinking of this, Mu Linger grinned. “Jin Zi, it’s time to take your medicine.”
Take my medicine?
I’ve been unconscious this whole time, so how did I take it?
1. This makes her sound so villainous and yet it rings true enough for me to crack up. I’m adding this to my ledger of “evil HYX traits as seen by other characters” so I can pull off a convincing spinoff, hah!
2. This is the most sensible thing I think I’ve seen a side character decide in this series. Good on you, Manager Jin! Now if only you could get rid of those pesky feelings for MLR, which will inevitably drag you back into the main plotline!
Ok ohkay okay I'M BACK!!
Delayed returned because ahem 1) I was enjoying staying at home too much, 2) my husband suddenly had to fly back home b/c of coronavirus so ran around figuring that out when I was 100 miles away, and 3) PGC chapters are alway so danged loooooong. Anyways, things worked out, I'm still alive, your April Fools surprise is on the last stages of coding (
helped along by plenty of HYX spite hahahaha) and here's the chapter! Let's go!
*counts on her fingers* So I have to like double up to make up for lost releases too but most likely I'll end up grouping things in twos, threes, and etc. to finish work I owe. Cheers~!
P.S. Last Thoughts: would you be for or against Manager Jin/Jin Zi being a potential love interest/ally in a spinoff visual novel? Leave me some feedback below and I can consider adding him in....heck, I might anyways because he seems likely to win to our side...