Chapter 1296: [Linger] Collapsing from illness

Mu Linger was actually scared, but Jin Zi didn't do anything. He was already exhausted to his limits and his head felt heavy. Chills began to wrack his body as he released Mu Linger, took off his outer robes, and nestled into the bedding. Mu Linger was incredulous. She stood frozen until her legs were sore and Jin Zi seemed asleep, but still didn't budge. Her pounding heart finally stilled as she realized she was scaring herself for no reason!

Looking around, she discovered that all the thatch in this tent was spread on the ground and covered with sheepskins, leaving a single pile of thorny firewood. It was hard to even find a place to sit. Either she'd scoot to a corner or sit right next to Jin Zi. After some hesitation, she went for the corner.

As the night drew on, the temperatures dropped and Mu Linger's legs and hands began to freeze. She had to stand up and rub her hands together for warmth while stamping in place to keep warm. After a while, Jin Zi simply lifted the bedding. Mu Linger was frightened and subconsciously backed away. 

Jin Zi only looked at her coldly, causing her to duck her head and not move.

"Get over here!" Jin Zi snapped. He didn't even want to call her stupid anymore. Wouldn't standing there in the middle of the night make her sick from the cold? Wasn't she always so fierce and ferocious? Why was she such a stickler now? Why didn't she snatch the covers from him herself? 

Wouldn't he give them up if she did? 

She's stupid beyond belief!

Mu Linger still didn't move as if she didn't hear him. Jin Zi could see her lips were already turning purple from the cold and exploded again. "Didn't you hear me calling for you?" he hollered. "Do you want me to say it for the third time?"

Mu Linger still didn't move.

Jin Zi tilted his head, closed his eyes, and fell silent for a while before he said, "Come here. It's time to pay back the night you owe me."

Mu Linger tightly pursed her lips and looked about to cry, but still didn't budge.

"Come here yourself, don't make me act," Jin Zi turned ruthless.

Mu Linger's head jerked up, her watery eyes filled with tears that threatened to overflow. 

Still, she didn't move.

At last, Jin Zi got up, walked over, and undid her belt. The moment she felt her cotton jacket loosen, Mu Linger shut her eyes and raised her head, stubbornly preventing her tears from flowing down. Jin Zi finished taking off her goose yellow jacket before picking her up princess-style. He clearly felt her trembling, but didn't speak and carried her to the sheepskin bed before pulling the covers over her head. 

Mu Linger immediately felt wam beneath the covers, but her heart might as well be ice. She huddled up into a ball and trembled lightly, afraid to imagine what would happen next. Jin Zi laid down behind her but didn't touch her again. He only stared blankly at the roof of the tent. 

Mu Linger waited a long, long time in dread but didn't sense any movement from Jin Zi. She carefully opened her eyes, which were full of complex emotions. There was unease and joy, but also suspicion and confusion, along with a bit of pain and traces of tears. She couldn't help thinking back to that night at Tiger's Prison. He had discovered her fake pregnancy and sat on her body like a hooligan to inspect her stomach. She struggled like death until he warned her to keep quiet and calm down. Later the two of them got him, but he suddenly pressed her down again and sealed her lips with a kiss to avoid her cries alerting Uncle Cheng. 

Just like that, he found out the truth about Ning Jing's pregnancy. Helpless, she could only beg him for help but he shamelessly asked her for one condition.

He said, "How about sleeping with me for a night?"

She slapped him then and there, but she still agreed to his terms in the end. She clearly remembered how he'd brought her back to the rooms and threw her on the bed before bullying her. She was so scared she cried and begged him to stop, but he only punched the bed beside her head and shouted at her. 

Although she didn't mean to remember, she still recalled his words. 

"“If you were scared, why did you agree to me in the first place? Why did you agree?! Motherf**king--why can’t you cherish yourself more? How am I supposed to treasure you like this?!”

Just like that, he helped her conceal the secret of the pregnancy while she owed him one night. 

She was very clear what kind of night he meant.

With Jin Zi not moving, Mu Linger felt apprehensive. She couldn't see through him at all. She was so tired but didn't dare to sleep, nor did her body dare to relax.

Abruptly, Jin Zi said, "Mu Linger, are you asleep?"

Mu Linger's heart chilled. She didn't dare answer.

Jin Zi slowly turned over and wrapped his arm around her from behind, his body pressed against her own. Perhaps the sheepskin was too warm, but Mu Linger felt that everything started heating up with close contact. She could clearly feel his hand slowly wrapping around her waist and tightening its hold; feel his body against her own; feel his long legs tangled with hers; feel herself being slowly confined in his arms as she got warmer and warmer.

But that was all.

His hands didn't wander and simply circled her waist, holding her tightly until all fell quiet.

Is that it?

This is the one night he wanted?

Mu Linger's eyes widened. She wasn't sleepy at all anymore. A long, long time later, she heard him murmur in her ear, "Little fool, sleep well. Don't be afraid, I couldn't bear to do that to you."

His voice was so soft and gentle that it was completely different from his icy self. They sounded more like the words of a lover, or outright delirious ravings. Mu Linger's hidden tears finally fell from her eyes at the sound.

"Jin Zi…" she choked up as soon as she spoke. "Why are you so good? And so stubborn? What am I supposed to do with you?"

Jin Zi, I gave all my love to Qi gege. It's all gone now! How am I supposed to love you?

Mu Linger felt so wretched she broke into low sobbing. But Jin Zi didn't hear her, nor did he sense her cries. His fever was so high that he'd turned senseless. His entire body was scorching hot, and his face was red. Mu Linger took off the covers and turned around, preparing to ask him some questions. Yet she soon perceived his abnormality and realized it wasn't the covers that were too warm, but his body that was on fire!

As soon as she touched his forehead, she was terrified by the sheer heat and almost slapped herself. She was a pharmacist but remained completely clueless when the person right next to her got a fever. She quickly took his pulse and shed tears at what she found.

Jin Zi had caught a severe chill which had worsened over successive days. That's why he was like this now! Heaven knows how much he suffered just to find her! 

She had never panicked before a patient, but now she did. "Pills, where are my pills?" she muttered to herself, "Where are they?!"

Luckily she had the habit of carrying her medicine pouch with her everywhere, so she ignored the cold to grab it off the ground. Grabbing a cluster of dry herbs, she rushed outside and went to pound on the old matron's door.

Knock knock knock! The old matron hurried to the entrance and was scared stiff by her crying face.

"Miss, what's the matter?"

Mu Linger didn't realize she was still crying as she spoke. "Jin Zi's sick. I have to, I have to make medicine for him, hurry…"

The old matron understood and quickly brought Mu Linger to the kitchens and helped start a fire. Feng Ying had long heard the knocks and slipped away while the duo were in the kitchens. She entered Jin Zi's tent and looked at the jacket on the ground, then at the man huddled inside the covers. "Sick?" she mused.

She carefully drew close and saw that Jin Zi was hugging the quilt and muttering to himself. Leaning in, she only heard a name: Linger.

Even though he's sick like this, he's still thinking of that damned girl.

Feng Ying's jealousy was about to burn herself up. She was the top beauty of Black Forest, so why did she have to marry someone she didn't love? Why couldn't she marry Black Forest's noblest man instead?

Cunning flashed in her eyes before she took off her clothes to hug Jin Zi.

"I'm Linger, I'm right here." She entangled her limbs around him and took his hand to touch her body. 

"Linger…Mu Linger…" Jin Zi's eyes were squeezed shut as his consciousness wandered. He had no idea that Mu Linger had left the tent and assumed she was still by his side and in his arms. His arms tightened their grip as before and wrapped themselves around her waist. 

All he wanted to do was hold her and trap her, that was all.

But the person in his arms remained restless. She took his hand and guided it down inch by inch while caressing him with her fingers. In the end, he broke away. "Linger, no…I don't want to force you, I don't."

"Linger, be good…just let me hug you."

"Linger, why didn't I meet you earlier? Why…why…"

Feng Ying had a good idea of his relationship after hearing these words. Her jealousy towards Mu Linger intensified! She broke free of his hands and boldly undid his belt, teasing him shamelessly. Right when Jin Zi prepared to pull her hands away, she suddenly leaned over to whisper in his ear.

"I'm willing, I like you!"

Jin Zi froze at the words, but quickly turned her over to pin Feng Ying beneath his body. His brows were creased tightly from a splitting headache, but he still slowly forced open his eyes. He wanted to see her say those words with his own eyes.

Although he did his best to hold on, his vision was blurred and he couldn't discern the person beneath him. Instead, there seemed to be multiple figures obscuring her form. He lowered his head to rest against her body just as the wooden door opened, but remained unawares.

It wasn't until something shattered that he was startled awake. Looking over, he saw a tearstained Mu Linger standing by the door. Her hands were hanging in the air, and a bowl of medicine had spilled all over the ground, the bowl reduced to pieces.

"Linger…" he murmured, then froze and looked down to see the woman beneath him. Immediately he was wide awake. Both he and the female were naked, so just then what…what had he done?

Feng Ying looked towards Mu Linger with a mocking grin. Although this damned girl had shown up too soon for her to cook the rice, having her witness them personally wasn't too bad! She waited for Mu Linger to turn and run away. But…

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Ruyi's Thoughts

i realized that top-tier beauties in cnovels like this one are either 1) first class bishes or 2) maligned protagonists. there is no in-between...

anyways, this bish just signed her death warrant, cause i can't see either one of our fledging couple letting her off easy. feng ying, you're still too naive for a petty villainess...