Chapter 1300: [Linger] My little sister

Gu Qishao gifted Jin Zi and Mu Linger a brocade box. Han Yunxi and a few recognized it because it was identical to the one presented at Gu Beiyue's wedding! Back then she and Mu Linger had snuck a peek inside. So had Gu Beiyue, the recipient of the gift. Meanwhile, Qin Min had no servants before moving to Yunning, so she had helped Gu Beiyue personally clean up a few rooms and found the box for a curious look as well.

Tang Li and Ning Jing were very curious to know its contents. After all, Gu Qishao wouldn't give an ordinary gift. Long Feiye had no interest in Gu Qishao's presents to others, nor was he paying attention to the wedding. He was actually waiting for Ning Cheng's congratulatory gift so he could pin down the messenger. 

Although Jin Zi hadn't given Ning Cheng an invitation, nobody knew whether he contacted him privately. He and Ning Cheng had basically grown up side-by-side, so would Ning Cheng miss Jin Zi's wedding? Even then, wouldn't he at least send a gift? As long as he could detain the messenger with the present, Long Feiye would figure out a way to trace him back to Ning Cheng. He didn't care whether Ning Cheng wanted to stay or leave, but the man had to fulfill the promise owed to him.

Jin Zi accepted the box and said coldly, "I'd like to trouble Guard Xu to give thanks to the Prince of Yu on behalf of myself and my wife." Then he made to open the box.

"Don't open it!" Han Yunxi and Mu Linger exclaimed at the same time. Gu Beiyue remained calm as if he'd never gotten such a gift himself nor knew its contents, while Qin Min watched without a change in expression. The two of them were equally serene and unmoved. 

"Why?" Jin Zi asked.

"Because, because…" Mu Linger stopped halfway, unable to voice the reason. Thank goodness Han Yunxi was sharp enough to offer an explanation.

"The wedding isn't over yet, so why rush to open the presents? Hurry and send the bride into the wedding chambers, it'll be bad if you miss the auspicious hour."

That wasn't enough to convince Jin Zi. Instead, his curiosity was piqued. If this was anyone else, he didn't care, but he had to look at Gu Qishao's present straight away. Ignoring the two females, he simply opened the box. Mu Linger shut her eyes while Han Yunxi looked hopelessly at the sky; Gu Beiyue's lip twitched while Qin Min stole a glance at him and decided to continue playing oblivious. Jin Zi looked at the contents with a complicated expression and didn speak for a long time.

Theirs was a grand wedding on the grasslands complete with banquet, three large circles of feasts, and countless bonfires. But only a few of them were inside this tent. Outside rose the lively noise of a sleepless celebration night, while inside Jin Zi's silence turned the room exceptionally quiet. Mu Linger's ears were starting to turn red while she silently cursed Jin Zi in her heart. What are you looking at? Haven't you stared at it long enough? Hurry and shut the box and pretend nothing happened!

But Jin Zi suddenly looked at her and handed over the box. "Mu Linger, this isn't a congratulatory gift. It's something Gu Qishao gave you."

"Ah?" Mu Linger blurted out in alarm before her face flushed. What is Qi gege doing? Making trouble?

Han Yunxi rested a hand on her forehead, speechless at Jin Zi's actions. Gu Qishao's causing trouble, but Jin Zi's playing along too? He should at least hide in the bedroom first before showing Mu Linger those kinds of things! How is she supposed to have any shame looking at it in public?!

Jin Zi held the box towards Mu Linger in both hands, but he was so tall that she still couldn't see it when it was right in front of her. Of course, she was afraid to look too. She quickly shut the lid before accepting it.

"Aren't you going to look inside?" Jin Zi asked coldly.

Mu Linger was furious. What's he playing at? She was about to retort when he said lightly, "He bought a dowry for you. Although it's late, you should still take a look."

Everyone was startled by his words while Mu Linger just gaped.

Dowry?

What…

She quickly opened the box and saw a letter lying in side with "Dowry" written in big characters. She recognized it as Gu Qishao's handwriting at first glance! Opening up the envelope, she saw a tiny bottle inside that was also very familiar.

Once upon a time, she had casually given Gu Qishao this bottle along with a life-saving pill. She lied to him that the pills were hidden inside and to only open it when he was on the point of life and death. Actually, it not only contained her most precious pills, but also a slip of paper confessing her feelings. Back then she had wished that Qi gege would know her thoughts one day. But now she just wanted to laugh. Why had she been so dumb? Qi gege was so smart that he would've seen through her at a glance.

Now he'd returned the bottle to her? Had he ever looked inside? What kind of dowry was this? Had he planned to give her a clear rejection on her wedding day? 

Besides Mu Linger, no one else knew the significance of the tiny bottle. Jin Zi asked lightly, "Did he give you medicine?"

Mu Linger looked up and instantly met Jin Zi's beautiful eyes. His gaze was full of earnestness and curiosity, as well as the ever-lingering attachment she could spot at a glance. She knew he wanted to know the contents of the bottle. His eyes saw through her heart, which had started aching uncontrollably. She didn't want to open it. She didn't want to explain anything or let him see! But she didn't know how to speak in front of all these people, much less embarrass him.

Her…heart hurt!

While she was still scrambling for answers, Jin Zi suddenly took the bottle from her hands. Mu Linger's tears almost overflowed. But! She saw Jin Zi pour out a small mound of gold dust from the bottle! 

There were no pills or confession slip. It was a bottle full of gold dust! Very precious, very rare, priceless golden sand! 

Jin Zi particularly disdained Gu Qishao and naturally disliked his gifts, but still privately admired the man for his present of golden sand. Leaving aside the care shown in the gift, it was very difficult to find enough gold to fill a bottle. 

Everyone else was taken aback by the gift too.

Han Yunxi couldn't help laughing. "Linger, do you like the dowry gifted by your Qi gege?"

Before Mu Linger could answer, Tang Li crowed, "Linger, do you like the jin zi[1] gifted by your Qi gege?"

As soon as he finished, Ning Jing stomped on his foot. Will this guy die if he doesn't talk once in a while? Mu Linger had pestered Ning Jing so much that she'd almost gone mad in Tiger's Prison. She knew best of all how deeply the girl felt about Gu Qishao. If Mu Linger had yet to accept the gift, Tang Li's words were simply pouring salt on her wounds!

Pained by her foot, Tang  Li didn't dare to say another peep. 

But even Jin Zi asked, "Mu Linger, do you like it?"

Mu Linger looked at him and didn't say a word. Immediately the atmosphere grew tense. Everyone was frightened, especially Han Yunxi. She still didn't know why Mu Linger had decided to get married and was afraid the silly girl had decided on impulse. Would Gu Qishao's impulsiveness then ruin this wedding completely?

Love was a person's private affairs, so it was fine to be impulsive.

But marriage was a different thing entirely. If you were impulsive about it, the consequences would be serious.

Mu Linger really was quiet for a bit too long. She seemed to be making an important decision and needed time to think. Soon, not even Han Yunxi, but everyone else began to worry. Ning Jing kept shooting Han Yunxi looks, but what was she supposed to do? Annoyed, Ning Jing started crushing Tang Li's foot! Who told you to be a big mouth! Why ask so bluntly? Why make things difficult for Linger! Why give Jin Zi the chance to ask Linger that question that way!

Tang Li endured the pain as best as he could, wishing that Mu Linger would talk already. Ning Jing wouldn't spare him otherwise! 

But while everyone panicked, Jin Zi remained calm. He slowly and methodically put the golden sand back in the bottle and waited patiently. If Mu Linger wanted to consider the question seriously, even at her wedding ceremony, then he could wait. He would wait until she figured things out and thought them through. 

After the gold sand was replaced, Jin Zi hesitated before opening up the letter in front of the crowd. Only then did he realize the message was meant for him. There was just one message, but Jin Zi stared at it for a long, long time:

Jin Zi, 

My little sister's frank, foolish, and ignorant to the ways of the world. Hopefully, you'll tolerate and cherish her more. You have my endless gratitude.

The message was signed, Your bro, Gu Qishao.

Jin Zi fell in a daze before he slowly recovered his senses. For some reason, his chest felt particularly stifled. Even all of Mu Linger's hurtful words in the past didn't leave him feeling so miserable. To put it plainly, he was distressed.

This was such a warm letter, but also completely cruel. Entrusting Mu Linger to him meant that Gu Qishao had rejected her completely. He looked at Mu Linger and felt more anguish than hurt.

This poor creature, she's been completely denied and cast aside.

But he still forced a smile and put on a heartless air before presenting her with the letter. "Mu Linger, look. Gu Qishao really doesn't want you anymore. You can stay with me in the future. I can probably, barely, force myself to take you in."

None of the others could read the contents of the letter, but Jin Zi's words made everyone including Long Feiye crease their brows. 

How much did Jin Zi have to love her to force himself despite her feelings for someone else?

Mu Linger looked at Gu Qishao's handwriting before tears started streaming down her face. She raised her head at Jin Zi and stammered, "Jin Zi, can you not force yourself…"

"No," Jin Zi cut her off fiercely.

"But…but…" Mu Linger seemed scared as her sobs intensified. "But…but Gu Qishao already abandoned me two years ago, and I…I don't want him anymore, either."

Jin Zi was stunned.


1. This is a pun. Jin Zi's name (金子) can literally be translated to "bits of gold" or "gold dust."

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Ruyi's Thoughts

Long Feiye had no interest in Gu Qishao's presents to others, nor was he paying attention to the wedding. He was actually waiting for Ning Cheng's congratulatory gift so he could pin down the messenger.

He didn't care whether Ning Cheng wanted to stay or leave, but the man had to fulfill the promise owed to him.

remember when a few hundred chapters ago you could ship LFY with the other male leads as a joke? when i read this sentence, i started thinking to myself, "ah, so his majesty prefers his defected general over his long-time love rival, hmm..."

and oh, dear Jin Zi. you see, you're not completely unwanted either...