Gong Sang Mo continues to slightly bends his body and maintains eye-contact with Yun Qian Yu. If he trace even the slightest of doubt in Yun Qian Yu’s face, he will weeds it out and kills it.
However, at that very moment, the soft sound of a sword slicing through the air can be heard from behind Yun Qian Yu.
Without even waiting for Yun Qian Yu’s reaction, he pulls her straight into his chest by the waist. He used his other hand to seize the incoming sword and holds it in between his fingers. The sound of cracking can be heard and before time, the Jue Shi Sword in Long Xiang Luo’s hand breaks into two and falls into the ground. Only the hilt of the sword is left in Long Xiang Luo’s hand.
“Senior Uncle, you actually broke the sword shifu gave me!” Long Xiang Luo looks at Yun Qian Yu who is nestled in Gong Sang Mo’s embrace in envy and hatred.
“You dared to lift your hands on her; leaving you alive is me giving the Third Senior Brother some face. Do it again and I will not be courteous.” Gong Sang Mo’s eyes are icy. It is clear that he is really angry.
“You actually want to kill me because of her?” Long Xiang Luo asks in disbelief.
“If you continue to be willful, I do not mind doing so.” Gong Sang Mo indifferently replies.
“Senior Uncle, did you know that she has poisoned my imperial brother with Xiao Yan poison?” Long Xiang Luo furiously says.
“Then why don’t you tell us where this Xiao Yan poison came from and why she would use it on Long Jin?” Gong Sang Mo looks at her coldly. Does anybody know how scared and worried he was when he found out that Yun Qian Yu had been poisoned with Xiao Yan. He thought she would leave him, just like his mother.
Words are left stuck in Long Xiang Luo’s throat as she looks at Gong Sang Mo. She knows she is in the wrong, but she really didn’t think Gong Sang Mo would be protecting Yun Qian Yu to this degree. Things are not as simple as she thought it was. The way Gong Sang Mo, who usually hates physical contact, wraps Yun Qian Yu around the waist and into his chest is so out-of –character for him. When she chased after Yun Qian Yu just now, she saw the gentle and loving way he looked at her. That made her so upset and brought up her urge to kill that girl.
She has known him for eight years. Back then, she went to San Xian Mountain to seek apprenticeship and had accidentally witnessed Senior Brother Lu forming a matrix formation around Gong Sang Mo. The then 10 years old Gong Sang Mo managed to break that formation within only one incense stick time. She fell for him right then and there. She originally thought Gong Sang Mo would be her Senior Brother, who would have known that he was actually her Senior Grandfather’s disciple. Even so, his identity as her Senior Uncle did nothing to stop her affection towards him. They both have special backgrounds, they cannot be restrained by the rules of disciplehood. However, the moment she entered the sect, he left both the sect and the Xian Wang manor to seek experience outside. She has chased after him for so many years and he kept on ignoring her. Now, seeing him doting on Yun Qian Yu this much….. How can she accept this! However, remembering her imperial brother being poisoned, she forces herself to calm down.
“Senior Uncle, we are in Nan Lou Kingdom. If the Crown Prince of Mo Dai Kingdom got poisoned in Nan Lou Kingdom, how will your emperor explain this to everyone? I bet Senior Uncle too does not wish to sever our two kingdoms’ relationship because of this matter.” Long Xiang Luo tries to reason.
“Yes, we are in Nan Lou Kingdom, but what do you mean by us having to explain things? A wangye from Jiu Xiao Kingdom went missing. They suspected Mo Dai Kingdom and therefore poisoned the kingdom’s Crown Prince. Putting it like that sounds more believable. Besides, not everyone can have Xiao Yan poison. If we investigate carefully, we might even have the list of people who owns them.”
Long Xiang Luo seems to have overestimated herself when going against the black-bellied Gong Sang Mo.
Yun Qian Yu looks at Gong Sang Mo in surprise, this is the first time she is witnessing the cunning him. Why does it looks better than the usual, gentle and warm him?
Long Xiang Luo finds it hard to believe that the one speaking just now was Gong Sang Mo. Was that really him?
“Senior Uncle, please tell Princess Hu Guo to cure my imperial brother based on our same-sect relationship,” Long Xiang Luo tries to compromise.
She cannot afford to be haughty this time. She can only be proud before because of her position as the princess of Mo Dai Kingdom. However, if anything happens to the Crown Prince because of her, the empress will never let her off. Even though the empress is her maternal aunt, she is more than sure the empress will treasure her own son over her niece.
Yun Qian Yu who is buried against Gong Sang Mo’s chest tries to struggle out when she hears that. However, Gong Sang Mo hugs her even tighter.
“Have you ever heard the instances of anyone being cured by Xiao Yan poison?” Gong Sang Mo asks while restraining Yun Qian Yu.
Long Xiang Luo freezes; how can she forget that? That poison was personally given to her by her little aunt, it naturally has no cure. What should she do? However, upon remembering what Yun Qian Yu said about her waiting until the day after tomorrow, she is determined to grasp on what little chances she has to save her imperial brother.
“She told me she has a way!”
Gong Sang Mo looks at the person in his embrace before loosening his hand.
Yun Qian Yu finally manages to poke her little head out of his chest, “I can cure the Crown Prince off the poison.”
Long Xiang Luo is immediately filled with delight, “See, Senior Uncle. She said it herself, she can cure him!”
Gong Sang Mo appears shocked by Yun Qian Yu’s words, but he is actually laughing inside. She is a fox in everything but love matters.
Understanding the plan, he lets go of Yun Qian Yu. Yun Qian Yu fixes her cloak before turning to Long Xiang Luo, “I can cure the poison, but my condition remains standing.”
Yun Qian Yu is putting everything very clearly: She can take care of the poison, but what she wants must be delivered first. If not, all the talks are for vain.
“Senior Uncle.” Long Xiang Luo immediately turns to Gong Sang Mo for help.
“Do not tell me you are going to let me down.” Yun Qian Yu asks while looking up at Gong Sang Mo.
Gong Sang Mo looks at Yun Qian Yu’s large pair of eyes, wanting to laugh on the inside. How can he bear to let her down? If anything, he will be the reinforcement!
“No. You are doing this for Nan Lou Kingdom and I am Nan Lou Kingdom’s Xian Wang. How can I forsake you? I will be scolded by the common populace!”
Yun Qian Yu nods her head in satisfaction. Then, she turns to Long Xiang Luo, “Did you hear that, Princess Luo?”
Long Xiang Luo’s phoenix eyes are trained on Gong Sang Mo in disbelief; he is really not helping her. Her seductive face becomes more and more contorted.
She looks at Yun Qian Yu fiercely, “Are you sure you want to do it this way, Princess Hu Guo?”
“Of course!” Yun Qian Yu replies without hesitation.
“Are you sure you don’t want to use this chance to ask for anything else?” Long Xiang Luo persistently asks.
“There is no need for me to.” Yun Qian Yu confidently replies.
“Do not regret this.” A ruthless light flashes in Long Xiang Luo’s eyes.
“I have never done things I would regret.” Yun Qian Yu firmly says. This has always been her personality; no matter if things are right or wrong, she would never made decision that she would regret later.
“Alright, before the day end, on the day after tomorrow, you will get what you want. Can you cure my imperial brother now?” Long Xiang Luo sighs.
“What are you hasty about? He will not die in one or two days. I will treat him once I see what I want.” Yun Qian Yu clearly will not give in until she sees what she wants.
Hearing that, Long Xiang Luo clenches her fist only to realize that she is still holding the hilt of her sword. She looks at what remains of the sword before angrily flinging it to the ground, “I hope Princess Hu Guo will keep her words.” After that, she turns around and immediately disappears.
“Of course I will. I does not wish to create trouble for Nan Lou Kingdom.” Yun Qian Yu mutters under her breath.
Her eyes fall on the sword lying on the ground. She walks towards it and picks it up, “Is there any Yun Guards nearby?”
A white-robe Yun Guard immediately appears in front of her, “Take this and carefully keep it away. It will come to use in the future.” Yun Qian Yu hands the broken sword to the guard.
The guard accepts the broken sword before concealing himself once more.
“You won’t let go of even this?” Gong Sang Mo good-naturedly laughs.
“Since she dared to be so arrogant in front of me, there will be a day when she can’t cry even if she wants to,” A calculating expression emerges in Yun Qian Yu’s calm face.
The current Yun Qian Yu is feeling very enlightened. Perhaps it’s because of the way Gong Sang Mo treated Long Xiang Luo, or maybe it’s because she finally got the answer to her confusion, or maybe she is happy that she is having her first awakening of love. Whatever it is, Yun Qian Yu’s mood is really good at the moment.
“Having a good mood?” Gong Sang Mo is used to Yun Qian Yu’s indifferent look. Even though she still looks placid at the moment, he can sense her good mood radiating from her. Why is she so happy? Because she managed to handle Long Xiang Luo?
“En!” Yun Qian Yu turns around, happily acknowledging that fact. Her beautiful eyes twinkle like stars as she looks at Gong Sang Mo. The more she looks at him, the better her mood becomes.
Even the smart Gong Sang Mo turns muddled upon seeing the sight of a pleased Yun Qian Yu.
The eyes in which she looked at him are full of questions. A bright smile suddenly blooms on her face. Her beautiful face that is enough to ruin kingdoms is now blooming like a luxurious peony; unparalleled and peerless. Her round eyes are narrowed like crescent moon; even her rows of narrow teeth are exposed.
Gong Sang Mo is taken aback a little. He has seen her smiling at Yu Jian before and had aspired to be the receiving end of her smile one day. However, seeing her smiling that brightly at him makes him feels overwhelmed by the grace he is getting. Overwhelmed by the grace he is getting! Overwhelmed by the grace he is getting ah! He feels like his heart that can sweep over tens of thousands of soldiers cannot stomach this one smile.
Yun Qian Yu looks at the frozen Gong Sang Mo and kindly leaves him some parting words before flying away: “I still have to attend the morning court tomorrow.”
When Gong Sang Mo regained his composure, Yun Qian Yu’s silhouette is already gone.
San Qiu slowly creeps out of the dark corner and reminds the unmoving Gong Sang Mo, “Master, the princess has already returned to the palace. Shouldn’t we be going home too?”
“San Qiu, why do you think Qian Yu is so happy?”
“Ah?” His Master has really turned muddled; he has lost his soul while standing here. So even his heroic Master would have this day!
“Master, it is clear that the princess is happy because she finally figured out her feelings for you.” San Qiu feels helpless.
“Of course! This subordinate dare not lie to you!” San Qiu reassures him.
“Ha ha!” Gong Sang Mo laughs out loud. It is true; perseverance pays off! As long as she understands her heart, his road will be smooth in the future!
San Qiu helplessly looks at the sky after glancing at Gong Sang Mo who is smiling all the way back to their manor.
Upon returning to her palace, Yun Qian Yu sends Man Er, who is on night duty, off. By then, she has regained her composure, but her mood is clearly still good.
After taking a short bath, she lies on her bed, hugging her quilt. After closing her eyes, she realizes that she is not sleepy. Her eyes move about while her lips curl up. She has no idea what time it is when she finally falls asleep.
When Chen Xiang wakes up early the next morning, she looks at the chamber that shows no signs of movement. Then, she curiously turns to Ying Yu who is carrying in bath water, “At what time did Mistress returned last night? Why is she still sleeping?”
“I asked Man Er and she said Mistress returned in less than two hours.” Ying Yu is curious just the same.
“I will wake Mistress up now. The morning court is going to assemble soon.” Chen Xiang says while entering the chamber.
Yun Qian Yu is still sleepy after being woken up by Chen Xiang. Once she is fully conscious, she realizes that she has overslept. She quickly gets up and bath. After that, she changes her outfit into her official dress before letting Yu Nuo do her hair.
The moment she is done, Yu Jian arrives, looking a lot better.
“Imperial sister, what will we have for breakfast today?”
Hong Su enters from outside, “It is still early. It is better for Your Highness to drink porridge first. Breakfast will be served after the morning court.”
“Sure! The porridge made by Hong Su jiejie is really good!”
Hong Su laughs, “Thank you for the praise, Your Highness.”
After drinking their porridge, the two of them hurries to the morning court.
On the road, Yun Qian Yu reminds Yu Jian to be careful and not to step on anything like yesterday.
Yu Jian nods, his face turning pensive. After arriving in the hall, Yu Jian casually stands behind tile from yesterday. Yun Qian Yu stands by him.
The agenda of the morning court today is filled by the kidnapping of Jiu Xiao Kingdom’s 7th wangye and the injuries sustained by his envoys. The fuss that the 3rd wangye, Bei Tang Yun made yesterday has also raised a lot of doubts regarding Yu Jian and Yun Qian Yu’s capabilities.
The people from Rui Qinwang’s faction are especially agitated: this is their chance to create a fuss!
“Your Majesty, Princess Hu Guo promised to bring the 7th wangye back within 3 days. That is very inappropriate of her!”
“Oh, in what way is it inappropriate?” Murong Cang simply asks.
“The 7th wangye went missing without a trace. Let’s not talk about 3 days, we may not even be able to find him within 7 days! There are only two days left. If Princess Hu Guo cannot keep her words, wouldn’t it only embarrass Nan Lou Kingdom?”
Yun Qian Yu steps forward, “Do you have a way to look for him?”
“This official does not.” The official replies in embarrassment.
“Since you cannot do it, you think bengong cannot do it as well. Is that so?” Yun Qian Yu gives him a glance.
“Don’t tell us Princess Hu Guo can?”
“Of course bengong can.”
“Alright. If Princess Hu Guo manages to find Bei Tang Ming within 3 days, I will give you 100 kowtows and acknowledge my fault. However, if you fails….”
That official pauses for a moment, “Then, I would like to ask princess to leave the morning court.”
“You are the cabinet’s Grand Scholar, Jiang Hong Wen?”
“Yes, this official is Jiang Hong Wen.”
“No wonder you are the Grand Scholar, you are good at calculating things.”
“I cannot understand the meaning of princess’ words.”
“If bengong loses, bengong will have to leave the morning court. If Grand Scholar Jiang loses, you will have to kow-tow 100 times. However, is there anyone here who will really force you to kowtow 100 times when the time comes? The emperor? If you dies, the emperor will only come off as cruel. Isn’t this arrangement too biased towards Grand Scholar Jiang?”
Jiang Hong Wen’s face reddens. He looks at his fellow officials before looking towards the emperor, “If so, how do princess think we should arrange this matter?”
“Since this is a bet, it needs to be fair. Whoever loses needs to leave the morning court!” The end of Yun Qian Yu’s sentence sounds harsh and ruthless.
Jiang Hong Wen freezes. He steals a look at Rui Qinwang. Then, he embraced himself and says, “For the sake of Nan Lou Kingdom’s reputation, this official is willing.”
“What does your willingness has anything to do with Nan Lou Kingdom’s reputation? If bengong wins, how can a man like you who is lesser than a woman even has the cheek to stand here?”
Yun Qian Yu turns to the rest of the officials, saying, “Today, all of you here are our witnesses. If Bei Tang Ming does not return by the end of the day tomorrow, bengong will leave. If he does, Jiang Hong Wen will! When the time comes, I do not want to hear anyone begging for him. Anyone who does that will not be welcomed in court!”
Jiang Hong Wen pales. He has a bad feeling about this.
“So everything is set.” Murong Cang sets everything at just the right timing.
Yun Qian Yu retreats back to Yu Jian’s side.
“The envoys from Mo Dai Kingdom will arrive this evening. How is the preparation, Yu Jian and Qian Yu?”
“Imperial grandfather, grandson has made the arrangement last night. Duke Rong’s son has already gone to accept them. No incident is going to happen this time,” Yu Jian reports.
“Good!” Murong Cang nods in satisfaction.
After the morning court ends, all of the officials eyes are on Jiang Hong Wen. They discover that the morning court will be lively when Princess Hu Guo is around. From time to time, someone will lose their official hats!
After Yun Qian Yu and Yu Jian returns to her palace to have their breakfast, Yun Qian Yu gives Yu Jian homework. It is a list of 36 plans personally written by Yun Qian Yu. Then, she looks at the painting given by Gong Sang Mo.
The painting is simple and smooth; a little bridge overlooking a small stream, a straw house surrounded by bamboo fence and a purple-dressed beauty standing by a tree, looking into the distance. There is yearning in her eyes, layered in anticipation.
A poem is a must in a good book or painting. A sentence is inscribed in the painting, ‘If two people’s hearts are in tandem, they will be as good as families.’ The handwriting is very beautiful and elegant, one can tell that it was written by a woman in just one glance. The word ‘Yun’ is used as signature. It should be the name of the painter.
After inspecting the painting in details, Yun Qian Yu cannot make out any other meaning other than it representing a woman’s longing.
Gong Sang Mo told her this painting will come to use soon, but how?
Just when Yun Qian Yu is wondering about that, Feng Ran walks in while carrying a pile of information.
Seeing Yun Qian Yu looking at the painting in curiosity, he takes out a report from the pile he is carrying. “Mistress, this is the information about that painting.”
Yun Qian Yu immediately takes that report. Only then did she knows the origin of the painting.
The painter of this painting is a woman who lived in Gu City. She is the primary daughter of the Yang Clan, Yang Ruo Yun. ‘Yun’ is her penname. She is a famous talent from Gu City who is looked up by a lot of people.
(TN: The character that is used in her signature (筠) can be pronounced as both Yun or Jun. Since her name has Yun (云), I decided to choose Yun.)
3 years ago, Yang Ruo Yun went to Wu Ji Mountain to visit her aunt and bumped into San Xian Mountain’s Qing Yun Xian’s most prized disciple, Su Huai Feng. The two of them fell in love with each other. However, when Su Huai Feng went to Gu City to bring up marriage proposal to her family, they found out that Su Clan and Yang Clan has been enemies for generations. Both clans object to the marriage proposal and Yang Clan sent off Yang Ruo Yun to their ancestral land.
This painting was painted by Yang Ruo Yun when she was in the ancestral land. She sent it to Su Huai Feng, signifying her will to never marry if the groom is not him. Su Huai Feng made the same vow; the two of them swears to not marry if they cannot be with each other.
Su Huai Feng can be considered as someone with high talent. He is someone who is highly educated and knowledgeable. This year, he will go down the mountain after finishing his cultivation. Actually, he is qualified to leave the mountain long ago, just he wasn’t willing to and has been dragging it until now.
San Xian Mountain has a very famous reputation in the whole continent. Disciples that comes from it are coveted by a lot of people, especially those from under Qing Yun Xian. They are famous for being knowledgeable. Imperial family members from all kingdoms will compete to get them.
Seeing all that, Yun Qian Yu finally realizes the significance of the painting.
This painting was stolen by someone who has other intention. Su Huai Feng once said that he will personally thank whoever it is that finds that painting. Because of that, everyone who are waiting for Su Huai Feng to leave the mountain are all looking for that painting.
Yun Qian Yu trains her eyes on that painting. Will love really make people disregard everything and fly straight into the fire?
She is suddenly reminded of Gong Sang Mo. If it was her and Gong Sang Mo, will it also be like this?
At that very moment, San Qiu arrives with her favorite grapes.
“Yes, princess!” San Qiu immediately steps towards her.
“Where does Xian Wang manor grows their grapes?” Yun Qian Yu looks at San Qiu’s robe that is soaked with dew.
“In a manor outside the city. 3 years ago, wangye found out that princess likes to eat grapes. He ordered this subordinate to search for all kinds of grapes and plants them in that manor. He even instructed the construction of a greenhouse, so we can get grapes anytime we want.”
Yun Qian Yu freezes. Gong Sang Mo planted these grapes for her! He even started doing so three years ago! Don’t tell her he really fell for her in first sight? Yun Qian Yu remembers that her face was maimed back then; it was full of wounds and cuts.
San Qiu goes on, “Princess may not know this. This subordinate isn’t originally named San Qiu. Wangye changed this subordinate’s name to San Qiu after meeting you three years ago.”
The corner of Yun Qian Yu’s lips twitches, “Don’t tell me there is another guard out there with the name ‘Yi Ri’?”
(TN: San Qiu (三秋) means three autumns. Yi Ri (一日) = means one day.)
Serene: Chapter 60 is sponsored by Michael.