Chapter 1252: [YeXi] Once loved

Little Rui’er picked up the abacus as Han Yunxi’s heart seized up. If she lost, she would have to eat Long Feiye’s cooked noodles! Had Long Feiye ever cooked in his life? Did he even know how? 

Han Yunxi was beyond anxious, but her son only played with the abacus curiously while being clueless to its purpose. Soon he grew tired of it, however, and went walking to little Tang Tang with it in hand. 

Does he think the abacus is a toy?

“That’s not—” Han Yunxi’s cry was cut off as Long Feiye squeezed her hand tight, scaring her into shutting up before he crushed her fingers. She looked back only to see him grinning while gazing at his precious son.

As expected, Rui’er treated the abacus as a toy and gave it to little Tang Tang. “Yours,” he declared.

Tang Tang had seen her mother play on the abacus before and naturally loved it.

“You, don’t want it?” she asked.

“Don’t wanna!” Rui’er’s words were a death sentence to Han Yunxi. Long Feiye patted her hand before releasing her.

“Rui’er, do you want everything else?” Long Feiye finally deigned to speak.

Although Rui’er wanted many things, he had gazed upon the lot and studied them extensively. His eyes swept over the spread again before he confirmed, “Mhm!”

“Hahaha!” Long Feiye was in a great mood. “Good! Excellent!”

Rui’er wasn’t clear on their bets or why his father was so thrilled. He simply picked up two books from the ground and ran to Gu Beiyue so the doctor could show him the words. If Rui’er finally understood what had happened one day, he would definitely despite this group of adults who had nothing better to do in the middle of the night, including his high and mighty father!

Long Feiye, Gu Beiyue, and Ning Jing were all winners. Long Feiye leaned towards Han Yunxi and whispered in her ear, “Empress, tomorrow Zhen will personally cook you a bowl of noodles. Just wait.”

Han Yunxi’s expression was stiff. “Chenqie...chenqie thanks Your Majesty for your grace.”

The all around victory left Long Feiye’s happy heart in higher spirits. Han Yunxi’s aggrieved expression only pleased him more and he laughed out loud.

Ning Jing didn’t have to speak as Tang Li docilely murmured, “Jing Jing, I really don’t have much private funds. I’m already yours, much less my money.”

“What are you so nervous for?” Ning Jing retorted.

“I’m not nervous, just…” Tang Li had no rebuff. He and Ning Jing had always kept their expenses separate. It wasn’t a big deal for Ning Jing to hold the purse strings, but her shrewdness was an issue. He would have to apply to her for all spending money in the future. Was it still possible to buy as much as he liked?

While the winners celebrated, the losers felt depressed. Gu Beiyue was in no rush to make Gu Qishao pay up. Gu Qishao didn’t mind losing to him either, because he’d bet something even bigger with Mu Linger! Currently, he was staring at the girl, who returned his look with a sweet smile. To everyone’s eyes, she looked extremely happy. At last, Gu Qishao couldn’t stand it anymore and demanded loudly, “Zhao mama, what did that Ling lass bet on? Let me have a look!”

Everyone realized that the winner between Mu Linger and Gu Qishao was still unknown! Although Gu Qishao had lost, it was possible Mu Linger lost too. 

“Linger, what did you bet on?” Han Yunxi asked curiously. “Did you win?”

Mu Linger only grinned and said nothing.

“Looks like you did?” Han Yunxi was delighted. “What did you bet on with your Qi gege?”

Mu Linger’s smile turned devious, making Gu Qishao’s hair stand on end. 

“Heheh, we bet that if I won, Qi gege would kiss me once. If I lost, I’ll be Qi gege’s godsister!” 

Mu Linger’s words nearly sent Han Yunxi tumbling off her chair. Long Feiye looked in disbelief at Gu Qishao. Where did he get the confidence that he wouldn’t lost? 

Gu Beiyue and the rest remained silent as they looked towards the notes in Zhao mama’s hands. Victory or defeat hinged on this moment! 

Zhao mama gave her paper to Gu Qishao, who was too hesitant to take it immediately.

“Qi gege, do you dare?” Mu Linger chuckled.

Gu Qishao knit his brows at her and immediately snatched the paper, only to see...that Mu Linger had written none other than “books of classics!” 

Right now, Rui’er was holding one of them as he leaned against Gu Beiyue!

“Qi gege, I’ve won, right?” Mu Linger asked loudly.

Gu Qishao didn’t speak for a long time.

Han Yunxi personally took the sheet to have a look and was floored. “Linger won!”

“Qi gege, kiss me!” Mu Linger chuckled without a trace of bashfulness. Instead, it was Gu Qishao who looked up with creased brows.

Cough, cough!” Han Yunxi coughed a few times before she stood up with Rui’er in her arms. “It’s getting late, everyone should go rest.”

Long Feiye gave Gu Qishao a look of scorn as he left the room first. Tang Li and Ning Jing followed with Gu Beiyue bringing up the rear. He was at the door before he turned and added with an innocent smile, “Little Qi, you should settle accounts with Linger first. We can deal with our bet later.”

Who said Gu Beiyue was a good man? He was filled with nothing but vicious intentions! Gu Qishao wished he could kick him straight into the air.

Everyone left. Silence filled the hall that only contained Gu Qishao and Mu Linger. She was so happy she grew restless, unable to stay still. Gu Qishao sat rooted to his seat and was about to speak when there was a plop and Lil Thing fell down from the rafters. It had accompanied Mu Linger to Yunning Palace and was truly like a mouse celebrating the holidays! It was afraid to approach Mama Yunxi because Papa Long was always nearby, much less show itself to the little master. That boy was either tossing him away or pulling at its ears and tails. He even plucked at its favorite fur. It could only wait silently for the gentleman to arrive.

This time the little master wouldn’t be winding himself with his gentleman, meaning it could return to the gentleman’s embrace. Lil Thing looked at Gu Qishao and Mu Linger. It had no idea what had happened, but felt that the air between them was odd. Shouldn’t a man and woman part ways in the middle of the night instead of meeting up alone? Was there something important left?

Gu Qishao was irritated to begin with, but blew his top when Lil Thing stared at him. Does this mouse think me and Mu Linger are acting ambiguously too?

“What are you looking at?” he demanded.

Lil Thing was going to chase after its gentleman, but stopped to keep staring when Gu Qishao spoke. Gu Qishao simply lifted his foot and stepped.

“Cheep…!” Lil Thing shrieked before its body disappeared beneath Gu Qishao’s shoe. By the time Gu Qishao lifted his leg again, Lil Thing’s rotund body had been flattened beneath his soles. If long Feiye and his son had witnessed this scene, they would simply treat Lil Thing as a mouse-shaped cracker! 

Mu Linger burst into laughter before quickly picking up Lil Thing. She tugged at its limbs and pulled on its tail, then moved its head back and forth. Lil Thing was completely listless. It realized that being squashed was scarier than being thrown away! It only wanted to play dead instead of moving.

“Qi gege, if you’ve lost you’ve lost, why vent on Lil Thing? It never offended you! You’ll live up to your words, right?” Mu Linger asked.

Gu Qishao didn’t speak.

Mu Linger went on, “Qi gege, if you can’t afford to lose, why bet in the first place?”

If this was the past, Mu Linger would never speak this way to Gu Qishao, much less mock or agitate him. She’d beg him instead. Gu Qishao creased his brows in thought, never noticing her abnormal behavior. 

“Gu Qishao, say something!” Mu Linger pressed.

Gu Qishao suddenly ran for the door. Mu Linger gave a start, but didn’t give chase. But Gu Qishao wasn’t planning on escaping. He only shut the doors and windows before returning to Mu Linger’s side. Without a word, he leaned down, tilted his head and approached her face. His lips were very close to hers as if he’d kiss her any instant, his hot breath drifted against her cheeks, real and fleeting!

Mu Linger froze. She thought she had given him up and only wanted to play a joke on Qi gege. She had come this time purely for Rui’er’s birthday and Qi gege himself. She was planning to accept him as her godbrother for life!

If she was fated never to be intimate with her crush, then she could be intimate as family with him instead! It was only a bet, so if he was willing to accept his loss, she should push him aside! But why...why did she still hesitate? 

Abruptly, Gu Qisha caught her in his arms. Mu Linger’s senses immediately returned to her.

She didn’t want this!

Even if she won the bet, she didn’t want it! She didn’t, she didn’t! She’d rather be his little sister for a lifetime than pressure him like this! Before she could shove Gu Qishao aside, however, Gu Qishao pushed her back first.

He said, “Lass, when it comes to you...Qi gege can’t afford to lose.” Why did he agree to this bed? Rather than let it go, he thought he’d gamble for once. He was already planning to go back on his word when he said yes. 

Gu Qishao quickly released Mu Linger and said in a calm, but cruel tone, “Lass, Qi gege doesn’t want this, not for a lifetime.”

His words were extremely hurtful. Even if he said he didn’t want it, he didn’t have to add “for a lifetime,” which condemned her for the rest of her life. Whether or not it broke Mu Linger’s heart was something she herself knew. 

Gu Qishao prepared himself in case Mu Linger burst out sobbing, but she didn’t shed a tear. Instead, she smiled and said, “Qi gege, then Linger will be your godsister for a lifetime. Will you acknowledge that?”

Gu Qishao was surprised. It was now that he finally believed that Mu Linger had changed. At the very least...before him, she acted differently than before, as if she had...truly matured and grown up. 

“Heheh, it doesn’t matter if you accept it or not. You’ll be my Qi gege for a lifetime,” Mu Linger stepped forward and gave Gu Qishao a firm hug before letting go. “Qi gege, it’s late. You should go rest early.”

Mu Linger left just like that, leaving Gu Qishao standing alone with his mouth gaping. Despite this, he eventually broke into a smile. When Mu Linger left the room, she murmured to herself in a voice so soft that it would be impossible for Gu Qishao to overhear.

“Qi gege, do you know?” she whispered, “Some people can love many others for a lifetime. But some people can only love one person. Once they love, there’s no one else…”

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Ruyi's Thoughts

do you see this? we are witnessing mu linger's character growth...at last! 

let's wipe away a tear and clap for her uwuwuwu~