Han Yunxi recognized the blue crystal at once glance. She had once seen it at the shores of the Lost Void Lake as it was the Baili Mermaid Clan’s Tears of Holding.
Mermaid’s tears were called Mermaid Pearls, and the Baili Clan was a branch of sea people called Teardrop Mermaids. They didn’t usually shed Tears of Holding, but at the end of their lives, the unresolved obsessions of their heart would form such a tear. The stronger the regrets, the greater the energy contained in their tears.
Baili Qiyu had two Tears of Holding in his hands that were both many times larger than Long Feiye’s hand. This meant that both Baili Yuanlong and Baili Lixiang held massive regrets and obsession before they died. Han Yunxi was miserable already, but seeing these items made her feel even worse. She looked towards Long Feiye and saw that his expression remained unchanged. Perhaps this man wasn’t as weak as she thought. Otherwise, how could he have remained in the palace these few days without taking a single step into the Baili Estate?
“Your Majesty, this was left by my father and elder sister. May Your Majesty accept them. Whenever the emperor needs it, our Baili Clan will call when summoned!” Baili Qiyu said sincerely.
Han Yunxi assumed that Long Feiye would move to accept the tears right away, but he didn’t budge. Very soon, Baili Mingxiang went over and took one of the tears to present it personally to Han Yunxi. “Esteemed Empress, please accept this. Our Baili Clan will always be loyal to the Great Qin’s imperial family. As long as the royal clan requires it, the Baili will be at your beck and call!”
Long Feiye didn’t speak, but he did take the other Tear of Holding from Baili Qiyu’s hands. Han Yunxi could only smile helplessly and take Baili Mingxiang’s offering as well. She was certain that she’d underestimated Long Feiye. Despite his sorrow, he maintained the rational thinking and cool calm of an emperor. This man had long surpassed the youth who’d stopped speaking for a year after his mother’s suicide. Now he was capable of bearing the wind and rain as well as pain and hurt.
He wasn’t heartless, but simply strong. Only strength determined the truly formidable.
The Baili Clan’s rebellion stemmed from their dissatisfaction with West Qin. Long Feiye’s actions now were to make them accept her and the West Qin royalty so they could be loyal to Great Qin as a whole. Baili Qiyu finally understood the emperor’s intentions and only felt remorse. Perhaps his father shouldn’t have listened to his elder sister at all and brought her back from Northern Li. Instead, he should have heeded the words of his younger sister who never participated in politics but had followed the emperor and empress for years.
But now it was too late to regret anything.
Long Feiye didn’t dawdle, but simply left Baili Qiyu with a single sentence before descending the mountain with Han Yunxi. His words sent waves rippling in the two siblings’ hearts, for Long Feiye had said, “Baili Qiyu, if you can take down Yuzhou Island within ten years, then your crimes today will all be pardoned!”
Yuzhou Island was a mysterious island beyond Cloud Realm Continent. For thousands of years, no one had dared to break its rules, but no one knew who had set them or the consequences of defying such regulations. Han Yunxi had been curious about the place but didn’t expect Long Feiye to set his sights on it too. It was definitely the best choice to leave the place to the Baili Clan. For one thing, they were familiar with the water. For another, they were now simply commoners and didn’t have to take responsibility for Great Qin with any of their actions. Finally, Long Feiye was too busy with the rest of Cloud Realm Continent to care about them much in the next ten years.
Giving the task to the Baili Clan was the perfect choice.
On the second day after Han Yunxi and Long Feiye’s matters, Tang Li and Ning Jing came to to bid their farewells. They were going to pick up Lady Tang and head back to the Tang Clan together. Long Feiye didn’t leave them for long as the matter of the military weapons couldn’t be delayed indefinitely.
Before they left, little Tang Tang ran in front of Han Yunxi and pointed at Rui’er in her arms. She said, “Little brother crown prince, you come down.”
Little Rui’er was clearly unwilling, but still did as he was told and stared at little Tang Tang.
“Little brother crown prince, big sister is leaving,” Tang Tang said matter-of-factly. Her adult mannerisms made everyone around her secretly grin.
Rui’er stared at her before saying coldly, “No sending off.”
The crowd burst into laughter. Little Rui’er sounded more childish than Tang Tang, but his attitude was also much more like an adult! He was simply a carbon copy of Long Feiye!
“Big sister has something to give you,” Tang Tang said.
Rui’er was about to refuse but shut up when he saw Tang Tang looking serious. He was afraid of making her cry again. Only then did Tang Tang withdraw a small hidden weapon from her pouch and hand it over.
Rui’er still deigned to entertain things like hidden weapons, so he accepted hers and said, “Wait.”
He toddled off to the Grand Tutor on the sidelines. While everyone was wondering at his intentions, Gu Beiyue seemed to understand completely and smiled. Rui’er stepped on his tiptoes and tugged at Gu Beiyue’s sleeve. Very soon, Lil Thing plopped out from its napping spot inside Gu Beiyue’s wide sleeves! As it peered up, it saw the face that resembled Papa Long’s drawing closer. It raised its hackles in fright and tried to flee, but Rui’er ordered, “Don’t move!”
Lil Thing was quite docile and didn’t bolt. As a result, Rui’er grabbed it by the tail and dragged it over to Tang Tang. She was long enamored by this small furry thing and knelt down to study it closely before recognizing it as a squirrel. In the forests of the Tang Clan, Tang Tang had seen plenty of such creatures, but she had never seen one so small and white.
She carefully stroked Lil Thing as if liking it very much.
“Tang, mouse, for you,” Rui’er said seriously.
Tang Tang was thrilled. She picked up Lil Thing, whose heart finally settled back in its chest. It had no idea it’d been given away and assumed it was only lucky to fall into this cute little girl’s hands instead!
Tang Tang seemed to be cradling a treasure as she asked, “Are you faster than my hidden weapons?”
Ever since she was strong enough to hold hidden weapons, her father had trained a team of squirrels on the mountains of the Tang Clan to train her reflexes. She was supposed to hit them with her weapons as training. Of course, her weapons weren’t strong enough to take the squirrels’ lives.
Rui’er shook his head. “You, try.”
Thrilled, Tang Tang carried Lil Thing far away before running back. Lil Thing looked doubtfully at Tang Tang, wondering what she was up to. Yet when the little girl turned and suddenly shot out a stream of paper darts, Lil Thing was stunned. It forgot to flee and was hit by the darts in the face. Although they weren’t fatal, they still hurt like hell.
If this was any other child, Lil Thing would transform into a wolf and howl at them, but it had no choice but to endure between these two children! It comforted itself that it shouldn’t be so petty with mere brats when it was over 100 years old!
Tang Tang only looked at it with disdain. “So stupid, I don’t want it.”
This was Rui’er’s first time giving a gift, and yet he’d been scorned? Rui’er didn’t bother to explain, but looked at Lil Thing and said coldly, “Stupid mouse!”
Thankfully, Lil Thing couldn’t understand them, or else it’d be angry enough to spit up blood. The adults around them just laughed. Even Long Feiye’s straight face disappeared before his son’s antics.
What would the two children think if Lil Thing transformed into wolf form before them one day?
Rui’er aimed the hidden weapon in his hands at Lil Thing. This time, the creature grew alert. When the weapon fired, Lil Thing didn’t dodge but ran straight at the projectile, only to dodge out of the way at the very last second. Its speed was impossible to see by anyone except Long Feiye and Gu Beiyue. Both Rui’er and Tang Tang gaped at the sight. It took them a while before both children turned towards Gu Beiyue. They seemed to be asking if the doctor had trained Lil Thing in his speed skills.
Gu Beiyue didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as he shook his head.
“I want it!” Tang Tang immediately changed her mind.
As she pounced towards Lil Thing, it flickered and instantly changed into a massive snow wolf! Its height was taller than a tiger and its fur spotlessly white except for a bright red sigil atop its forehead. Its eyes were red as well like a pair of precious, gorgeous amber stones. From a distance, its large, dignified body and stern expression made him the leader of all wolves, the king of all beasts!
Rui’er and Tang Tang had never seen Lil Thing transform before and were completely stunned, their expressions dumbfounded. When the snow wolf started approaching them step by step, Tang Tang shrieked and turned to throw herself at her father, hugging his thigh. Rui’er didn’t even notice her scream as his face split into a grin.
“Tang,” he said, “No sending off.”
Did he mean he wouldn’t escort Tang Tang out, or that he wouldn’t give Lil Thing away?
Tang Tang couldn’t be bothered to tell the difference. Currently she was buried in her father’s arms while looking fearfully at Lil Thing. She was quite a brave girl who didn’t even fear the likes of tigers and lions, so it was rare for Lil Thing’s powerful aura to cow her so utterly. Tang Li and Ning Jing were both left with doubts.
Rui’er was probably the only one who had endless courage. Instead of feeling afraid, he ran towards the wolf. Seconds before he could jump onto its body, it vanished. In its place, Lil Thing popped into existence and fell to the ground like a little furball. Since it was still recovering, it couldn’t maintain its wolf form for long. Rui’er gave a start before he plucked the squirrel up and started pinching its head, paws, and tails.
“Change change change,” he said nonstop, “Change, change, change…”
Lil Thing was pinched all over and only felt...pain! So much pain everywhere!
Once again, the crowd was left laughing, even Long Feiye. His stifled heart felt much better as a result. Tang Tang stared at them a while before she said, “Father, it’s a monster.”
Tang Li finally realized that Tang Tang wasn’t afraid of the snow wolf, but the “monster” who could transform shapes at will.
“Do you still want it?” Ning Jing asked.
Tang Tang shook her head.
Just like that, Tang Li and Ning Jing dallied a bit longer before leaving amidst the sounds of merriment. From that day on, Rui’er stopped disdaining Lil Thing and chased after it day after day, wanting the squirrel to transform again.
Lil Thing had only wanted to pull a prank and now regretted it utterly!
Once Tang Li and Ning Jing were gone, Long Feiye began to deal with the Xiao Clan’s sources of power in Jiangnan while pushing for tax reforms in the Ministry of Revenue. Gu Qishao occasionally dropped by the palace to play with Rui’er but always unexpectedly. Mu Linger remained in the Imperial Physician Courtyard and rarely entered the inner palace. She was discussing health care reforms with Gu Beiyue.
Everything was going smoothly until the season came for the first harvest of spring tea, when unexpected news came from Northern Li.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
long time no see! two chapters tonight, wait for the next one in an hour or so!