Chapter 1090: We pledged to marry without our parents’ approval

Intermittent bloodstains littered the ground. Han Yunxi could tell at a glance that they had absorbed the color of the soil and been around for awhile. Some were faint, while others had mixed into the dirt, thus creating these scattered splotches. 

Mu Linger and Manager Jin had only seen the two tigers reduced to bloody puddles, but there was too much blood here for just two tigers! Tang Li stood to the side, clutching little Tang Tang and not moving. Long Feiye and the rest moved forward to touch the dirt when Han Yunxi stopped him. “Don’t touch, there’s poison all over this mud. It’s made to rot away flesh.”

“Big Sister Ning and the rest...were they kidnapped?” Mu Linger asked timidly. She couldn’t even hope that they escaped now, only that the bloodstains here didn’t include Ning Jing’s. Tang Li immediately turned to look at her, startling Mu Linger badly even though she did nothing wrong. She averted her gaze.

Ignoring Mu Linger, Han Yunxi crouched down and carefully examined the bloodstains. She had the same wild hopes as Mu Linger! Unfortunately, the detox system soon gave her bad news. Rising to her feet, she remarked, “These bloodstains contain both tiger’s blood and…”

She bore it as long as she could, but finally looked at Tang Li and said, “....and human blood.”

Before she could finish, Mu Linger anxiously interrupted, “It must be blood from her injuries, right?”

Just because there was human blood doesn’t mean the human’s dead!

Unfortunately, Han Yunxi rejected her idea. “All of this blood belongs to one person. Judging from how much there is, it’s enough to cause death.”

Even blood left after years could be verified through DNA analysis, much less one or two months. The detox system wouldn’t make a mistake, though Han Yunxi didn’t want to believe it either. 

“In other words, either Ning Jing, Su Xiaoyu, or Bai Yuqiao were killed?” Gu Qishao pursed his lips. “Looks like there wasn’t even a corpse left! Tsk tsk, what kind of poison is this? Why is it so similar to Perplexing Butterfly Illusion?”

“It has to be Bai Yuqiao. He wouldn’t kill Su Xiaoyu,” Long Feiye analyzed coolly.

Abruptly, Tang Li shouted, “It’s definitely not Ning Jing!”

His holler frightened little Tang Tang, who started bawling again. Her cries grew louder and fiercer, causing Mu Linger’s heart to ache. She hurried over and said, “Tang Li, you’ve scared her! Let me hold her! Big Sister Ning will definitely be all right, definitely.”

Tang Li ignored her to tighten his hold on little Tang Tang. He looked towards Han Yunxi, vexed and helpless. Although he didn’t say it, he hoped his sister-in-law could give him a clear conclusion. A complicated look flickered past Han Yunxi’s eyes as she sought for ways to console him.

Long Feiye continued to analyze, “Ning Jing has worth as a hostage, but Bai Yuqiao’s useless in Bai Yanqing’s eyes.”

At that, Tang Li said loudly, “Big bro, I believe you! I do!”

Once again, his volume intensified little Tang Tang’s wails. 

No matter who was dead, Mu Linger felt miserable all the same. Tears brimmed at the corners of her eyes as she said in a choked voice, “Tang Li, will you just give the baby to me? Won’t you?! Stop scaring her already, or Big Sister Ning will never forgive you if she knew!”

Tang Li immediately quieted down, looking at a loss. Mu Linger simply snatched little Tang Tang out of his arms and held her close, kissing her little face. All of them had worked together to save the baby, so she only felt comfort holding her tight after seeing all the bloodstains. Strangely enough, little Tang Tang stopped crying as soon as she was in Mu Linger’s arms. Tang Li could only gape. Although he wanted his daughter back, he didn’t know how to phrase it anymore.

“Bai Yanqing’s long captured his hostages but hasn’t made a move all this time. What is he planning?” Han Yunxi couldn’t understand it.

Combined with Third Honored Elder from Celestial Mountain Sword Sect, Bai Yanqing should have three hostages in his hands now. Tang Li punched a tree and hollered at the skies, “Bai Yanqing, show yourself! Give Ning Jing back to me!”

“Bai Yanqing, come out if you have any guts!”

His voice echoed in the gully, but there was no reply. They were in the light, Bai Yanqing in the darkness. Neither Long Feiye nor Han Yunxi were used to this feeling, as if they were prey in someone’s sights. Still, they had no idea how to force Bai Yanqing out. This old thing didn’t even feel anything for his two closest disicples, so what else could he care about in this world?

“Long Feiye, we only have the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion left,” Han Yunxi muttered.

Long Feiye only nodded silently.

This was their only solution to lure Bai Yanqing out! 

“Your Highness, princess, it’s not wise to tarry here. Return to discuss this in the army camps first,” Gu Beiyue said seriously. Though things didn’t go satisfactorily, at least they managed to rescue Ning Cheng. As everyone prepared to depart, Manager Jin blocked Han Yunxi’s way. 

Word by word, he said, “Han Yunxi, where’s my indenture agreement?”

“We’ll talk after we get back,” Han Yunxi said icily.

“Impossible,” Manager Jin refused.

Han Yunxi was patient to begin with, but now flared up. Rudely she reorted, “Then you can forget about it.”

Unexpectedly, Mu Linger piped up. “Big sis, just give him the indenture agreement! I promised him.”

“Why should I give it to him?” Han Yunxi demanded coldly.

Mu Linger was frightened, but only said, “Big sis, he saved us.”

Actually, if Manager Jin hadn’t brought them out of Tiger’s Prison, they would never have saved Ning Cheng so quickly from Jun Yixie’s clutches today, much less kill him so soon. But wasn’t this all because of Manager Jin in the first place?

“He saved you all because he should have! If he and that surnamed Cheng hadn’t teamed up in the first place, the East and West Qin armies would’ve flattened Northern Li already! At most, all he did was save you and the baby. Ning Jing’s whereabouts are still unknown, so why should he ask me for his indenture agreement back?” Han Yunxi fumed as she glared at Manager Jin in warning. “Jin Zi, I’m telling you now, if anything happens to Ning Jing, don’t even think about that indenture agreenment. I’ll even make you pay with your life!”

Tang Li stood on the sidelines saying nothing, but his eyes were filled with hostility. Manager Jin only ignored them all in favor of Mu Linger. His cold eyes gradually narrowed into dangerous slits as he stared at her. Mu Linger bit her lips, uncertain of what to do. She promised Manager Jin to convince her big sister to return the indenture agreement, but Han Yunxi’s words seemed impossible to refuse. 

Abruptly, Gu Qishao appeared to pull Mu Linger to his side. With a cold smirk, he scrutinized Manager Jin from head to toe. “What now, are you bullying our Linger because she’s young and easy to fool?”

Manager Jin said nothing beyond staring at Mu Linger. She didn’t know what to do. She would rather hate him, but somehow she’d lost that ability some time ago.

“Gu Qishao, take him away!” Han Yunxi said coldly.

Finally, Mu Linger couldn’t stand it anymore. She shook herself free from Gu Qishao and ran to pull at Han Yunxi’s hand. “Big sis, if it wasn’t for Jin Zi, I wouldn’t have survived this long. And little Tang Tang too--she would’ve starved to death ages ago. Big sis, just have him pay back his wrongs with merits and forget about it!”

Han Yunxi’s heart filled with doubts. Mu Linger was a young girl who always avenged her debts as a person who dared to love and hate. Why was she being so lax with Manager Jin? A complicated look flickered past her eyes before she asked, “Mu Linger, you can forget about it, but what about Ning Jing?”

“Even if Ning Jing comes back, this isn’t over!” Tang Li finally spoke.

Now Mu Linger was even more panicked. She finally realized that what Jin Zi said was right. If he brought her back, he would only meet a dead end. But for the sake of her promise, he’d done it anyways. Mu Linger didn’t want to haggle over who was more right or more wrong. She didn’t want to go back on her promise or owe anyone anything else anymore. Steeling her heart, she grabbed Manager Jin’s hand and squeezed it tight. 

She said, “Big sis, Linger has already pledged to marry Jin Zi in private without our parents’ approval. I’m his partner when I live and his ghost when I die. If you guys won’t spare him, then it’s not sparing me, either.”

Han Yunxi could only gape. “You...you two…”

Mu Linger didn’t dare meet her eyes, afraid to blow her cover. She looked towads Tang Li instead and pled, “Big Brother Tang Li, can you spare Jin Zi this time on account of Linger throwing away her reputation to protect Big Sister Ning Jing’s baby?”

Tang Li was most indebted to Mu Linger. Seeing her so teary, he didn’t know what to say and looked to his sister-in-law instead. Han Yunxi had quite a fright after Mu Linger’s words. She refused to believe that the girl would give up on her feelings for Gu Qishao so easily and began to speculate. Did Jin Zi threaten Mu Linger somehow? Or trick her?

Seeing Mu Linger so agitated, Han Yunxi decided very rationally not to push. She said, “Linger, Tang Li can’t decided for Ning Jing! Moreover, I don’t even have the indenture agreement with me right now. Also, what does a private pledge count for? You’re still a daughter of the Mu Clan and my little sister! Is it that easy to marry you? Go back to Three-Way Black Market and wait for now. Linger can come with us. I’ll give this matter some consideration!”

Han Yunxi was trying to gain time while probing them. She wanted to test Manager Jin’s sincerity to see whether he’d refuse. It was all too easy for him to summon wild beasts to attack them in this wilderness, but much harder to escape from Three-Way Black Market. 

“Fine! Marrying her means I’ll get what’s due to me. I’ll wait!” Manager Jin agreed, then added, “I trust that the West Qin princess will not go back on her words.”

“Of course!” Han Yunxi agreed easily. Even if I don’t go back on my words, Mu Linger can go back on hers and not marry him! She’d have to thoroughly question the girl on the way back to figure out what was going on!

Gu Qishao remained silent the entire time, rubbing his chin in thought. Mu Linger had already sent him multiple looks, as well as Manager Jin, but he refused to utter a word. Mu Linger’s heart felt like it was breaking into pieces. 

She took a gamble and said, “Big sis, don’t make Jin Zi go back to Three-Way Black Market. Have him come along with us. Linger doesn’t want to part from him.”

Whether or not Manager Jin really was a direct bloodline descendant of the Black Clan merited investigation. Currently, Ning Cheng’s cohorts had yet to be uprooted, so it would be much safer keeping Manager Jin by their sides then leaving him in Three-Way Black Market.

Han Yunxi glanced at Manager Jin, but he only said, “Mu Linger can do whatever she wants.”

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Ruyi's Thoughts

~ SPECIAL OMAKE ~

As everyone prepared to depart, Manager Jin blocked Han Yunxi’s way. 

Word by word, he said, “Han Yunxi, where’s my indenture agreement?”

“We’ll talk after we get back,” Han Yunxi said icily.

“Impossible,” Manager Jin refused.

“Why not?” Han Yunxi demanded.

“I know how this works,” Manager Jin sneered. “The moment I’m stuck with you guys for more than a chapter, I’ll be sucked into the main plotline. Heck if I’m doing that! I want to go home!”

“Well too bad, you dug this grave so lie in it,” Han Yunxi snapped back. As Manager Jin prepared to retort, Ruyi stepped forward. 

“Alright, that’s enough from you now,” she rebuked.

Han Yunxi gave a start. Where had this person come from? Meanwhile, Long Feiye moved to stand in front of her. 

“Who are you?” he demanded.

“You’d look more impressive if you weren't so covered in dirt,” Ruyi wrinkled her nose as she took a step back. “Anyways, I’m not here for you guys, but for the readers.”

“You’re trying to snatch our readers away?” Tang Li cried indignantly. “Right before we’re supposed to save my Jing Jing? Who do you think you are?!”

“Don’t even dream of stealing the spotlight from Poison lass!” Gu Qishao chimed in. Gu Beiyue didn’t speak, but strategically took a spot closest to Ruyi in case she attacked.

Han Yunxi took Long Feiye’s arm as she stepped forward boldly. “I don’t know who you are, but you don’t belong here,” she said with a regal air. “Either state your business or leave!”

Mu Linger nodded while clutching little Tang Tang. “That’s right! Big sis will sic you with poison otherwise!” She didn’t notice Manager Jin’s face sour at her words.

“This crown prince--” Long Feiye began, but never got farther than that.

“Stop talking!” Ruyi snapped, exasperated. “Will you guys calm down? For once, the story’s not all about you!”

The group fell silent. As Ruyi fumed, she finally turned to face the laptop screen.

“All right, guys, listen up! I’m releasing a special visual novel tomorrow in honor of April Fools, so you should drop by and check it out! Look for details in this announcement post!

With that done, she tossed her sleeves and stalked off, leaving the group awkwardly facing the readers.

“So….what do we do now?” Mu Linger was the first to ask.

Han Yunxi just shook her head, annoyed. “Forget about her and keep moving with the plot,” she said. “It’s the translation that drives the page views, not some one-off demo game.”

Thus, the cast of PGC moved on and soon forgot the encounter from their heads. For now.