Just what was the matter for the proud and overbearing Bai Yuqiao to kneel in front of Ning Cheng?
Bai Yuqiao said, “Ning Cheng, as long as you agree, I’ll buy you any wine you want!” As if sensing this wasn’t enough, she added, “Other things are fine too! As long as you help me!”
Would she do anything that hurt Jun Yixie? Ning Cheng would never believe Bai Yuqiao that easily, so he only said impatiently, “If you’re not telling me what it is, just go. I want to rest.”
A desperate Bai Yuqiao lowered her voice and said, “Help me rescue a person!”
Ning Cheng couldn’t help but laugh. “Miss Bai, aren’t you thinking too highly of me?” He was under surveillance in the army himself and had to even watch every word he said. How was he supposed to save someone when Bai Yuqiao couldn’t? Had she come here just to amuse him? Ning Cheng pointed at the exit, indicating that she should leave.
Bai Yuqiao quickly rose to her feet and lowered her voice even further. “Help me save Su Xiaoyu. As long as you can help her get out of Northern Li, I’ll agree to anything! Ning Cheng, I’m not joking with you!”
A complicated look settled in Ning Cheng’s eyes. He never expected Su Xiaoyu to pop up in this conversation. If it was saving her, then Bai Yuqiao really was helpless since Su Xiaoyu equated to the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion in Jun Yixie’s eyes. He hadn’t asked after the girl recently, but these days he’d visited her every two days and even interrogated her once.
“Hehe, you’re not kith nor kin with that girl, so why save her?” Ning Cheng arched his brow at Bai Yuqiao. “Miss Bai, are you betraying your senior brother?”
Bai Yuqiao had thought of all sorts of methods over the past few days, but none of them were foolproof ways to rescue Su Xiaoyu. Without a way to ensure the girl’s safety, she’d ended up finding Ning Cheng. For the sake of her little sister, she could only choose to turn her back on her senior brother. Although she’d liked him since young, it was only a one-sided affection. She was logical enough to put that aside for her own flesh and blood. Moreover, her sister had suffered enough by her hands. She had to repay her somehow, or else she wouldn’t be able to wash her sins clean even if she died!
When Bai Yuqiao didn’t speak, Ning Cheng asked, word by word, “Why should I believe you?”
Bai Yuqiao lowered her head and gritted her teeth. She seemed to hesitate. Ning Cheng waited a long time, but no answer came. He felt that something was off about the girl, but couldn’t tell what. Still, he didn’t want to get tangled up with her so late at night. If she really needed his help, she’d come again.
Instead of chasing her out, he simply turned to leave, but Bai Yuqiao finally blurted out the truth. “Ning Cheng, I’m begging you to save my little sister! Su Xiaoyu’s my sibling, I only found out the other day that she has a half ruyi tattoo on her back--the perfect match to mine! She has to be my missing sister!”
Ning Cheng looked back in disbelief, but Bai Yuqiao chose this moment to turn around and strip off her robes, thus revealing her back. He abruptly shut his eyes, angry. “Put your clothes back on!”
“Ning Cheng, if you don’t believe me, then look at this with your own eyes! The tattoos on my back and Su Xiaoyu’s are a pair! I’ve already made arrangements so you can go see hers right now!” Bai Yuqiao said earnestly.
Ning Cheng didn’t want to look, but his eyes had still glimpsed a flash of the large tattoo on Bai Yuqiao’s back. He didn’t see it clearly, but he knew it was there. Thus, it was very possible that she was telling a truth.
“How do you want me to save her?” Ning Cheng asked.
Bai Yuqiao quickly got dressed and approached him. “Help me distract Jun Yixie for two days. As long as he leaves Skyriver City for two days, I have ways to bring Su Xiaoyu away!”
In fact, she could even bring her away tonight, but she was clear that escaping Skyriver City wouldn’t place her out of Jun Yixie’s clutches. Once Jun Yixie discovered Su Xiaoyu’s origins, then they as sisters were equally doomed. Under these circumstances, she didn’t dare to take the risk.
It was as easy as turning over a hand for Ning Cheng to get Jun Yixie out of the way. He only had to give the man a few handwritten lists and get him to the town next door to withdraw money from Cloud Realm Trade Consortium’s private banks. Jun Yixie would leave without exception. Of course, Ning Cheng wouldn’t waste such a good chance. He had too many things that needed Bai Yuqiao’s help.
Cautious and careful, he said, “Get Ning Jing here to see the tattoo in detail. I only trust her.”
“Alright, I’ll do it right away,” Bai Yuqiao was thrilled.
Many things were much easier to do at night. Bai Yuqiao immediately found Ning Jing, who was also prudent and cautious. She joined Bai Yuqiao in Ning Cheng’s tent after making sure it wasn’t a trick, then followed her to the prisons. Bai Yuqiao made up an excuse for the nurse to use acupuncture treatment while she and Ning Jing hid in the shadows. Su Xiaoyu was still sleeping, but these days the nurse had poked her with needles and fed her medicine very often. Her three meals had improved as well, though she had no idea this was Bai Yuqiao’s work. She assumed Ning Cheng was helping her behind the scenes instead.
Ning Jing looked closely at the details and determined that the tattoo on Bai Yuqiao’s back was really a perfect match for Su Xiaoyu’s. Both of them had been distorted by the growth of their bodies, so they weren’t recent additions. She could only gasp internally that such a thing was even possible. It had come upon them so suddenly, but this was a timely chance. With Su Xiaoyu’s secret in their hands, she was certain Ning Cheng would make very good use of Bai Yuqiao!
When they returned to Ning Cheng’s tent, all Ning Jing did was nod her head for him to understand. Like Ning Jing, he was pleasantly surprised by this new development. Before Bai Yuqiao could speak, he said, “It’s impossible for Jun Yixie to leave the army in the near future. This matter requires further thought and discussion.”
“How long do you need?” Bai Yuqiao asked quickly.
“It’s hard to say. Perhaps I’ll discuss it with you after I think it over,” Ning Cheng replied.
Bai Yuqiao was already satisfied that Ning Cheng was willing to believe her and help. She was about to bid farewell when Ning Cheng suddenly called out, “Miss Bai, isn’t it time for you to get rid of the poison in my body as a show of good faith?”
Ning Jing was alarmed by the comment. She had been trying to figure out what kept Ning Cheng by Jun Yixie’s side, but never expected it to be poison!
Bai Yuqiao’s expression looked troubled. “Ning Cheng, I won’t hide this from you, but the antidote you’ve been taking everyday is a slow-acting poison of its own. Right now, even I don’t know what kind of toxin’s in your system. The true antidote is in my brother’s hands.”
“You two--!” Ning Jing couldn’t stand it, but Ning Jing pulled her back with a cold laugh.
“Alright, I’ll trust you. Wait outside, I need to say a few things to Ning Jing before you send her back.”
Bai Yuqiao didn’t dare to refuse Ning Cheng anymore and nodded. “Take your time, I’ll wait.”
Ning Jing never thought she’d get a chance to speak with Ning Cheng so soon. As soon as Bai Yuqiao was gone, she whispered, “Big brother, is it safe here?”
“For now it is,” Ning Cheng’s voice was low too.
“Big brother, what’s the deal with your poison? Can Han Yunxi cure it?” Ning Jing asked anxiously.
Of course she could, but would she be willing?
“I won’t die,” Ning Cheng muttered back. “Ning Jing, the enmity between East and West Qin was all a misunderstanding. It was the Wind and Black Clans who instigated the war.”
Ning Jing knew Ning Cheng had things to say, but never thought this would be the first! She had never dared to believe such a thing would come from her brother’s lips! He had always been attached to their nation’s grudge and his only goal was to avenge and revive the country! Now he’d denied it all in one breath.
“Brother, how did you find out?” she asked.
“Jun Yixie said it himself. He’s not a descendant of the Wind Clan, but the Black Clan! He was cheated by Bai Yanqing, who only wants to sow discord between East and West Qin. What Jun Yixie wants is Cloud Realm Continent,” Ning Cheng replied.
Ning Jing was even more stunned. So as it turned out, the long lost Black Clan...was Jun Yixie! Who knew how Han Yunxi would feel after learning the news. But she had no time to think, nor did Ning Jing have time to tarry. Although Bai Yuqiao was keeping a lookout, she couldn’t do so for long. Staying here too long would mean being discovered by the night watch and raising Jun Yixie’s suspicions.
“I used secret code to write this information on the silver drafts I sent out, but I fear they haven’t reached Myriad Merchant Hall yet. Once the 30,000 horses reach the Ning Clan troops, I’ll have to pay Jun Yixie the soldiers’ pay and provisions. Within 10 days of getting the money, he’ll set out with his troops against the Northern Li emperor.”
Ning Jing listened in silence.
Ning Cheng continued, “It’ll take 20 days for the horses to reach the Ning Clan, so we only have a month.”
“Brother, you want to…” Ning Jing couldn’t help but interrupt.
“Before the horses arrive, you and Mu Linger must leave this place. You only have 20 days,” Ning Cheng said seriously.
“What about you?” Ning Jing grew anxious.
Ning Cheng smiled coldly. “Naturally, I’m going to accompany Jun Yixie north.”
Ning Cheng hadn’t been planning to pay Jun Yixie, but if he was aiming for the north, then Ning Cheng didn’t mind lending the money so he could stay arrogant and self-important a while longer.
“Within this month, Myriad Merchant Hall will receive my message. They will do their best to cooperate with the princess,” Ning Cheng was certain.
He had written two lines of information on the silver drafts. One detailed the truth about East and West Qin and Jun Yixie’s identity, while the other told the Di Clan to obey Han Yunxi’s orders without question. Seeing Han Yunxi was akin to seeing himself!
As soon as Jun Yixie moved his armies, the Di Clan and East Qin’s army could sit and wait to reel in the catch! Without Ning Cheng’s orders, no one in the Di Clan would dare to move the troops on their own. Thus, Ning Cheng wasn’t concerned about the Ning Clan troops.
Now his only worry was whether Long Feiye and Han Yunxi would make a move against the Di Clan after news of his alliance with Jun Yixie spread. Internal strife would only make them suffer losses! Moreover, once Myriad Merchant Hall received the silver drafts and a ceasefire occurred, Jun Yixie might grow suspicious in turn. If he could somehow get the truth to Han Yunxi’s group faster, then the Di Clan and East Qin’s forces could preserve their numbers. If they didn’t fight amongst themselves to begin with, Jun Yixie would never wonder why they started and stopped.
“Long Feiye will definitely dread the 30,000 battle horses and prepare his troops for battle. However, he wouldn’t risk so much to start a flat out war.” That was his prepared excuse to convince Jun Yixie.
Once Ning Jing understood everything, her heart was full of mixed feelings. Finally, she said, “Brother, there’s something...I lied to you about.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Kudos for Ning Cheng! Amusingly enough, I find him more endearing and realistic these days because he actually has to struggle to accomplish his goals, and he does it well while balancing so many different factors including his own poisoning, message to HYX, ensuring the safety of his sister + Mu Linger, and manipulating Bai Yuqiao. Sometimes LFY comes across as unreal to me because he's always so perfect and mastering every little thing, or already has a bunch of emergency plans in the bag for unexpected situations. I hope the author gives more "struggles" to our male and female leads too, just so they can shine in situations like these, hehe...
...or am I being masochistic? >o>
Ahhhhh......okay okay, anyways, onto the next chapter now!