Gu Qishao was still convinced that Ning Cheng had Han Yunxi under duress, while Gu Beiyue was still oblivious to anything going on around Cloud Realm Continent at the moment. Before he even finished his sentence, Gu Qishao had already cut him off.
“That’s their business! It’s got nothing to do with me! But Ning Cheng tricked me, so things aren’t over between us yet!”
A complicated gaze flickered past Gu Beiyue’s eyes, though he didn’t press the issue. Perhaps Gu Qishao would only be willing to discuss the matter with Han Yunxi personally. The most important thing right now was meeting her in person. With Long Feiye’s personality, how could he ever allow Ning Cheng to imprison Han Yunxi for so long? Unless Han Yunxi was willing to stay under house arrest rather than forgive him? But even if she did forgive him, how was she supposed to deal with the duty of reviving the West Qin Dynasty?
The ignorant were blameless. She could still be herself while she was clueless to her identity, status, or responsibility. Now that she knew, could she be as carefree and unrestrained as the past? Gu Beiyue had no idea what Han Yunxi would choose, but he knew that her choice would be his own.
“How are you planning to deal with Ning Cheng?” Gu Beiyue asked.
“It’s best if he dies in Bai Yanqing’s hands. Otherwise, it’ll be more miserable to die in mine!” Gu Qishao said icily.
“Let’s go!” Gu Beiyue intoned. No matter what, they had to see the princess first. Very soon, they were on their way to Three-Way Black Market again.
In truth, Gu Qishao was a heartless, unconscionable fellow. Even now, he had yet to remember Mu Linger. Meanwhile, the girl herself was being forced northwards in a patch of woods. In the carriage, Ning Jing’s face was ashen, her legs tied together. Mu Linger was bound all over and sitting by her side. As the carriage abruptly gave a jolt, the duo crashed forward uncontrollably.
“Ning Jing, careful!” Mu Linger cried as she threw herself sideways to cushion her blow. Forget about Ning Jing, even a normal pregnant woman couldn’t stand to be jolted about so fiercely!
Mu Linger ended up falling flat on her face, but as soon as the carriage smoothed out, she raised her head and struggled into a sitting position. “Ning Jing, are you alright?! Still good?”
Ning Jing was scared herself, but fortunately, she didn’t fall. Otherwise, the consequences would be unthinkable. “Nothing major!” she said in a fluster.
“That’s good, that’s good!” Mu Linger was a hundred times more anxious than she was. But it wasn’t long before the carriage gave another jolt. Luckily, this time it was only a minor bump. Despite that, a jolt was a jolt. If this kept on, Mu Linger was afraid to imagine what’d happen as a result.
“I’ll go talk to them!” she declared in a huff.
“You can’t!” Ning Jing stopped her harshly.
“Your womb…” Mu Linger shut up at the sight of Ning Jing’s glare.
“I can guarantee 100% that those two are from the Di Clan. Moreover, they’re extremely familiar with the layout of Myriad Merchant Hall. No matter what, we can’t let them know that I’m pregnant.”
“But…!” Mu Linger couldn’t stop worrying!
“There’s no time for buts!” Ning Jing said decisively.
Mu Linger decided to risk it all. “Then I’ll tell them that I’m the one who’s pregnant, and for them to stop rocking about!”
Ning Jing couldn’t help but roll her eyes as she scolded, “You’re still an unmarried virgin. Aren’t you afraid of ruining your reputation?”
“I’m not! It doesn’t matter anyways,” Mu Linger said optimistically.
“Why not?” Ning Jing didn’t understand. She was forced to drug Tang Li because she’d rather be cursed than wedded off in a marriage alliance to some rich old man.
“Because the person I like doesn’t like me, so it doesn’t matter how good I am. It’ll make no difference if I turn rotten,” Mu Linger wasn’t sad at all as she stated the facts.
Ning Jing suddenly realized that Mu Linger was a rather interesting girl. But she was still rational. “Those two people aren’t simple. It won’t be easy to trick them! They’ll know the truth as soon as they get someone to check your pulse!”
“At least we can trick them for now. They’re heading north, which means their destination is Northern Li. It’ll take at least three to four days to get through this mountain, so there’s no way they’ll be able to find a doctor,” Mu Linger intoned. “Ning Jing, I can promise you that another day of jolting around like this will lose you your baby!”
That banished all of Ning Jing’s doubts. Mu Linger was right. If they couldn’t even make it past these few days, then what was the use of worrying about the future?
“Then...I’ll have to trouble you,” Ning Jing averted her gaze from Mu Linger.
“It’s what I should do! I owe you!” Mu Linger grinned, before she started to shriek. “Ahhh...ahh...ahhhhhh!”
Ning Jing hastily covered her ears. This was simply too much for screaming. Soon enough, the carriage stopped as well.
A man wearing a black face mask raised the curtains and demanded, “What’s with the damned screeching?”
Ning Jing tried her best to identify the voice, but it was in vain. Two masked men had kidnapped her and Mu Linger that night without alerting anyone except the servant girl on night duty. She thought she was the only victim until they left Three-Way Black Market and Mu Linger appeared. Anyone who could slip into Myriad Merchant Hall without disturbing the guards while pinpointing her quarters with accuracy--as well as knowing Mu Linger was staying there too--must be an insider. As to who it could it, Ning Jing had no guesses. If she hadn’t experienced it herself, she would doubt that the Hall had insiders at all.
Both of the masked men had used a technique to change their voices, making it impossible for her to identify them. She only knew that it was an old man and his younger partner. The older one had kidnapped her and spent his days sitting outside the carriage. He was extremely harsh to them both. Meanwhile, the younger man had kidnapped Mu Linger and was in charge of driving the carriage. He rarely spoke more than five sentences at a time.
Mu Linger burst into tears. “I’m begging you both…” Before she finished, the old masked man had already lowered the curtains to ignore her. Unresigned, Mu Linger began to plead again. “I’m begging you both, please change to another carriage. If this jolting keeps on, the child in my womb will…”
The man driving the carriage abruptly stopped at her words before raising the curtains to stare at Mu Linger. Both she and Ning Jing were surprised, but there was no time to worry about that now. Mu Linger sobbed as she cried, “Sir, I’m begging you, the child is innocent! If anything happens to my baby, you won’t get any good out of kidnapping me anyways. Sobsob…”
Mu Linger’s bright, limpid eyes were quite affecting when she pretended to cry. It’d be impossible for the two men to doubt her. The older one gave a snort. “Gu Qishao’s seed?”
Mu Linger hadn’t considered the problem, but she nodded without hesitation at the misunderstanding. “It’s Qi gege’s. Please, as long as you can preserve the child, Qi gege will do whatever you guys want!”
“Interesting! Hehe!” the old man glanced at the younger one, whose eyes grew sinister.
“Having a baby without marrying first? You have no shame. What a slut!”
“Gu Qishao doesn’t know that Linger bears his child. Protect it and you’ll have an extra counter no matter what happens,” Ning Jing spoke up next.
The old man seemed moved, but the young man remained indifferent until Ning Jing added, “Sirs, if Mu Linger suffers a miscarriage in the middle of the wilderness like this, both mother and child could lose their life. Don’t regret it then!”
Mu Linger continued to weep. “Qi gege...sobsob...Qi gege, where are you?”
She’d started out acting, but her tears had touched on her wounded heart. Now it was impossible to hold herself back. The more she cried, the sadder she felt. Her pleas for “Qi gege” were enough to break a person’s heart. Even Ning Jing almost fell for her tale.
The old man chuckled. “Don’t even think of changing a carriage. We’ll just watch where we drive!”
“If you die, then it serves you right!” the young man chimed in.
The curtains were dropped sternly after that, but the carriage didn’t jolt as much as before. Their speed had fallen as well. Mu Linger silently exhaled and made a face at Ning Jing, who relaxed and grinned back.
Ning Jing murmured, “Mu Linger, I think the person who kidnapped you holds a strong grudge.”
Mu Linger gave a start before she suddenly realized something. “Manager Jin!” If there was anyone in Myriad Merchant Hall who had designs against her, it’d be him!
“If that’s the case, why did they kidnap you?” Mu Linger asked.
Ning Jing couldn’t figure it out either. Judging from the two men, they seemed less like master and subordinate and more like cohorts in crime. Ning Jing couldn’t guess who in Myriad Merchant Hall would want to kidnap her and knew Manager Jin.
“T-they’re not thinking of selling us off to Wintercrow Country as slaves, right?” Mu Linger asked in a frightened voice. Wintercrow Country was not only famous for its battle horses, but its slave markets as well!
“Neither of us would fetch a good price in Wintercrow Country, but we can be used to threaten Myriad Merchant Hall and Han Yunxi,” Ning Jing replied.
As they chatted, the carriage suddenly slowed to a stop. This time, it was the young man who entered. He looked at Mu Linger coldly but didn’t say a word. Ning Jing grew afraid, but the courageous Mu Linger only glared back without showing a trace of weakness.
“I’m very valuable!” she declared.
“Yes! Very valuable!” the young man echoed with a grin.
“You--what do you want to do?”
The man didn’t reply, but suddenly grabbed Mu Linger and placed her in a sitting position before loosening all her bonds except the ones around her legs. Then he tossed her a canteen of water and two cold mantou before withdrawing. Mu Linger rejoiced. Once she was sure the man wouldn’t come in again, she quickly used the hot water in the canteen to warm a mantou and handed them to Ning Jing.
“Hurry and eat them, quick!”
“I can’t eat this much, you eat too,” Ning Jing murmured back.
“I’ll only give you one, there’s no more even if you want more!” Mu Linger murmured before she wrapped the other mantou in a handkerchief and hid it away. “We need to save this for emergencies, who knows what they’re planning.”
Ning Jing’s eyes, which had been icy since her youth, suddenly warmed. She felt like crying.
Meanwhile, Tang Li and Fifth Elder had set their suspicions on Manager Jin.
“He’s supposed to pay his debts but never showed up. Who else could it be but him?” Tang Li said with a sinister expression. After searching through all of Willowflower Alley, he’d found nothing.
Fifth Elder was about to speak when a little pageboy dashed in. “Fifth Elder, Tang Clan Head, there’s news of Uncle Cheng!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
I mentioned this on Discord but did you know Ju Jingyi and Zhang Zhehan (main stars of Legend of Yunxi) are reuniting in a new period drama called....wait for it....The Blooms at Ruyi Pavilion? Hahahaha! It's old news by now, but they were seen interacting pretty well at the drama's booting ceremony. Boy, I wonder if they'll let me make a cameo? xD
(P.S. Tang Li's actor, the super talented Wang Youshuo who I didn't recognize in his completely different role in Young Blood, is supposed to be part of the cast too! Woot! I'm quickly becoming a fan of his acting skills.)
All that aside, gotta get another chapter out. Votes seem close between double releases for a week VS all 12 bonus chapters at once--get your say in quick!