As soon as Jin Zi covered his face, Mu Linger ducked her head and didn't dare to look anymore. After a few moments of silence, Jin Zi said irritably, "If you can't sleep, think about how to answer my question."
Mu Linger simply turned over and buried her head in the warmth of the tiger. Only then did Jin Zi drop his hand to look at her, his eyes filled with helpless doting. Many times, he was obviously angry and wanted to explode, but he couldn't do anything about her. The two of them stopped talking as the entire world stilled. Only the north wind howled endlessly outside. It wasn't clear whether Mu Linger fell asleep, but Jin Zi kept staring at her until he lost consciousness. It had been days since he rested, days where he'd been soaked in rain and snow. Actually, he was already suffering from a severe chill but holding on through sheer stubbornness.
The next day, Mu Linger woke up to see Jin Zi gone. She quickly ran into the bedroom to see Jin Zi standing next to the bed, staring blankly at that woman. He looked up as she entered but didn't speak. Mu Linger drew close to take the woman's pulse, then checked her injuries. "She won't lose her life," she concluded. "It's only internal injuries, so she should wake up soon."
"Have the white tigers bring you down the mountain. I opened up a path on the way up, so it should still be there despite last night's snow. You should leave," Jin Zi said.
He was chasing her off again!
A furious Mu Linger rejected instantly. "I'm not leaving!"
"Then what are you staying for? You're in the way!" Jin Zi was unhappy.
"I'm guarding my medicinal fields until the Jade Butterflies come. What's it to you? How am I in your way?" Mu Linger retorted.
Jin Zi suddenly spun around and started to speak, but held back. He looked at her coldly and she returned the stare with no fear. As rage simmered between them both, Mu Linger assumed Jin Zi would curse at her again, but he simply said, "This has nothing to do with you, get out first."
Mu Linger creased her brows and puffed up her cheeks. She glared at him before turning on her heel to stalk off. Jin Zi even added, "Don't come in if you have nothing to do."
Mu Linger had already reached the door when she suddenly turned around, voice cold. "I was the one who cleaned out this house. If it's anyone who should leave, it's you. Get out this instant and carry that woman away with you!"
Jin Zi had no words. He simply picked up the woman princess-style and strode towards the door. Mu Linger's eyes nearly fell out at the sight. She followed after him and slammed the door when he was out, cursing foully, "You carry anyone you please, shameless!"
She then leaned against the door and slid down until she was sitting on the floor. Her heart felt both miserable and cold—she hadn't felt so wretched even when Qi gege cast her aside. Always she was able to quickly let go and recover her energy to keep looking for him, but when facing Jin Zi, she couldn't. She hated this stuffy feeling, as if she was stuck in a mud pit and kept sinking deeper—not because she couldn't climb out or lacked the strength to escape, but because she didn't know how. She only wanted to escape and never see him again.
She buried her head in her knees.
Outside, Jin Zi stood for awhile until he couldn't hear anything from indoors. His irritation was written all over his face before he simply tossed the woman in his arms into the snow. Looking around, he didn't know where to go and simply sat leaning back against the door, his face frightfully gloomy.
After he sat for a while, the woman actually moved and slowly turned over to sit up. Jin Zi regarded her coldly and didn't speak. When the woman stood up, she suddenly discovered Jin Zi nearby and thought to flee, but the beasts prowling around the premises immediately stood on their haunches, included her own snow leopards and wolves. What was more mocking than being betrayed by the beasts you trained yourself? Jin Zi's lips curved into a smirk before he rose as well.
"Who are you? Where did you come from?" his voice was usually low and icy, but this time he raised it on purpose. Even inside, Mu Linger could hear him speak and quickly stood up to peek out the window.
The woman looked around her and calmed down. She had fled to Cloud Realm Continent to escape an arranged marriage and climbed the snow mountains yesterday via Wintercrow Country before discovering a medicinal field. She never thought she'd run into the long-missing young master of the Ling Clan.
If she was destined not to escape, she might as well take a gamble. If she could grab this man and bring him back to Black Forest, no one would force her marriage and she'd end up as the female master of the woods. Her heart leaped up at the thought.
She said, "I come from the Mysterious Continent. My name is Feng Ying (凤英), and I'm the eldest daughter of the Feng Clan. Your name is Ling Ge (凌戈), the sole heir of the Ling Clan's ninth generation. Only you have the talent of subduing tigers in the entire Mysterious Continent. On the other hand, I can command all beasts except the tigers. We were arranged to be married but you were abducted when you were less than three years old."
Mu Linger was stunned by the words, but Jin Zi remained expressionless and mute.
"I began searching for you around the world when I turned thirteen. I never thought to ran into you here. Nor did I think…hahah, that you'd treat me like this all for a woman!" As Feng Ying spoke, she almost shed tears. "The two families have both been looking for you for over a decade. Everyone gave up except me. I wanted to find you and bring you home."
Mu Linger was even more alarmed, but Jin Zi showed little reaction. He only asked frostily, "Why should I believe you?"
"By the fact that I know you have a scar on your right wrist," Feng Ying declared.
Jin Zi finally showed a trace of shock. He never expected this woman to know such a secret. Yet she kept going. "This scar will only grow along with you, slowly spreading towards your palm."
"Just who are you?!" Jin Zi finally lost his cool. This made Mu Linger realize Feng Ying was telling the truth.
"I already explained it clearly. I am your designated fiancée!" Feng Ying suddenly looked at Mu Linger, who was hiding behind the windows. "Who is she? What's your relationship with her?"
Mu Linger froze and ducked away, leaning against the window frame at a loss. Very soon, she heard Jin Zi's reply.
He said, "She's my friend."
Jin Zi half believed, half doubted Feng Ying's words. He could tell it wouldn't be easy to pry the truth from her lips, so rather than question her, it was better to meet her tricks with his own.
"A friend?" Feng Ying smiled coldly. "You'd hurt me so much for the sake of a friend?"
"I didn't know who you were yesterday," Jin Zi retorted. "If you knew me, why didn't you tell me earlier?"
"Did you give me any chances to talk?" Feng Ying pretended to be angry.
Yesterday he was so busy getting revenged for that damned girl that she got no chances to explain herself. She was forced to apologize before asking about his origins. She refused to believe the stupid girl was his friend. Unless he liked her, why would he place her above the importance of his own birth origins? These two are probably a couple who got into an argument.
No matter their relationship, even if they were married, she had to get rid of that girl. Marrying him would mean she could own the entire Black Forest! No matter what methods it took, what lies she speed, she had to seize this chance!
Jin Zi didn't argue with Feng Ying but simply asked, "Where is the Ling Clan located in the Mysterious Continent?"
This guy knows how to master tigers but doesn't know a thing about his origins. I bet he doesn't understand a thing about the Mysterious Continent. Feng Ying's eyes flashed slyly before she said, "Will you come back with me?"
"You haven't answered my question yet," Jin Zi said coldly.
"Will you fulfill your marriage agreement with me?" Feng Ying asked.
Jin Zi regarded her icily and didn't reply. Mu Linger leaned against the wall and felt that the entire world had quieted down as she waited for an answer.
But Feng Ying hesitated and pretended to get teary. "Ling Ge, you like that girl, don't you?"
Jin Zi still didn't speak.
"Fine! If you like her, then just pretend you've never met me! I'll leave and go back by myself. I'll pretend you died and never look for you again." As she spoke, she really turned to go.
Jin Zi was about to speak when Mu Linger suddenly pushed open the door and shouted, "You stop right there! He doesn't like me and I don't like him, we're just friend! He'll go with you!"
Jin Zi creased his brows. "What right do you have to decide for me?"
This was the first time Mu Linger had faced Jin Zi's wrathful eyes with such courage. She wasn't stupid enough to completely trust Feng Ying's words, but this was a chance to go to Mysterious Continent and find his own family! She believed in Jin Zi's intelligence. He wouldn't be tricked by Feng Ying, but simply use her to track down his origins. Jin Zi was such a willful man who did as he pleased that he shouldn't be tied down to Northern Li or an official's post. Nor should he stay back for her sake. He should go back to where he truly belonged. She was too petty and too weak. After loving once, she didn't dare love again…
Mu Linger grew serious. "Jin Zi, you should go. Northern Li doesn't suit you."
Her simple words were enough to shatter Jin Zi's heart to pieces. If he wanted to leave, he would've left ages ago, not work bitterly in Northern Li for the past two years. So she knows that Northern Li doesn't suit me! He laughed coldly. "Mu Linger, shouldn't you clear accounts before I leave?"
"In Tiger's Prison, you owed me a night. In the mountain cave, you owed me a lifetime. The deadline passed a year ago. Mu Linger, I'm very sorry to tell you that I'll include all the interest too. Don't you think of moving from my side a step in this lifetime!" He suddenly drew close to her and said, word by word, "You, come with me."
At last he'd turned ruthless.
After beating around the bush for two years, they were back at the beginning again. It was like a tangled knot that couldn't be untied no matter how they twisted and turned the threads. Mu Linger only felt listless all over, her mind in a mess. Actually, she had never forgotten what happened in Tiger's Prison or the cave and even prepared herself to pay it back one day. But now he had caught her off-guard.
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Unless he liked her, why would he place her above the importance of his own birth origins? These two are probably a couple who got into an argument.
bruh, if even strangers think you and your man are a couple, you're probably on the way to becoming a real one pretty soon