Volume 1, Chapter 82 Part 1: Nine Deaths for one life (02)

Yun Qian Yu’s eyes fall on Bei Tang Gu Qiu.

He is wearing a black brocade robe with a goshawk embroidered on it, flying high.  The eyes of that animal is lofty and life-like, as though it is the owner’s second pairs of eyes.  A pair of black jade pendant is hanging from his belt.  There is no engraving on the jade, which only adds to it’s appeal.

He is sitting straight, his arms resting naturally on the armrests.  His fair hands look like jade when compared to the colour of his robe.  The only color in his clothing is the silver trim on his collar.    

His chin is sharp and pointy and his lips are thin.  He has a tall nose, a pair of dark eyebrows and a face that is as beautiful as peach blossom.  He has an exceptionally handsome face, and though his facial features are flawless, nothing can beat his eyes.  Dark and blue, like a sea underneath the night sky.  His eyes look cold and unfathomable, but beautiful in a really attractive way.

His hair is arranged high, tied using a simple brocade ribbon instead of a jade headgear.

Yun Qian Yu looks at him; he carries himself in elegance and grace.  From the look in his eyes, she can tell that he is someone very capable.  She can even sense the coolness radiating from him that he tries to hide.

He looks at her at the same time she looks at him.

She gives him a curt nod before looking away. 

Something flashes in Bei Tang Gu Qiu’s eyes.  She is the first woman who looks away from him after a glance.

Long Jin who is watching everything is momentarily taken aback.  Even he couldn’t help from stealing looks at Bei Tang Gu Qiu when he first saw him.  Yun Qian Yu on the other hand, managed to look away after only first glance, that too, without showing any hint of admiration for his good looks.  Is she truly unaffected by Bei Tang Gu Qiu’s looks?

(TN:  Should we create a new ship?  JinQiu??  Hahaha.)

The truth is, none of them understands Yun Qian Yu.  She was completely unaffected by someone as handsome as Gong Sang Mo who went all over her for three years; much less now, when she finally has someone in her heart.

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Yun Qian Yu goes to sit on one of the side-chairs.

One young disciple is busy boiling tea for them.  The hall is empty save for the four of them.  The servants wait outside out of respect for Su Huai Feng.

The sweet smell of tea fills the entire hall.  Yun Qian Yu knows a snow-lotus tea when she sees one.

The moment Yun Qian Yu sits on her seat, the disciple rushes to hand her a cup of tea. 

“Please have some tea, Your Highness.”

“Thank you.”

The disciple looks at her weirdly when she thank him. 

“This tea is made from snow lotus that has been fermented for decades.  It’s one of the mountain’s specialties.  Once we leave this mountain, even a thousand year old snow lotus will not be able to replicate this tea’s taste.  It is only natural for me to thank you.”

The young disciple bows at her respectfully, “Princess Hu Guo have good eyes.”

Yun Qian Yu sips on the tea; the flavour hits her senses full-on.

“If I may ask this little brother, how long does Young Master Su plan to leave us waiting?”

The young disciple is stumped.  He looks at her, and then at Long Jin and Bei Tang Gu Qiu.  The two men have been waiting for an hour and none of them has complained yet.  Princess Hu Guo, on the other hand, has only been here for mere minutes.  What is she so hasty for?

“Answering Your Highness, our Young Master did not plan to leave anyone waiting.  These two esteemed guests came here and sits without saying a word, Fei Qing thought they were taking their time and decided to not to urge them to quickly meet our Young Master.”

Long Jin wants to spit blood when he hear what Fei Qing said.  Just because they were waiting quietly, Fei Qing did not bother to tell them that Su Huai Feng has been waiting inside?

There is no change in expression on Bei Tang Gu Qiu’s face.  It is as though he has known all along.  He did spare Yun Qian Yu a look.

Bengong knew Young Master Su would never neglect his guests like that.” Yun Qian Yu puts down her cup and stands up.  She walks into the connecting room.

Bei Tang Gu Qiu stays where he is, while Long Jin stands up and follows Yun Qian Yu’s lead. 

Fei Qing stops Long Jin, “Please wait, Your Highness.  My Young Master will only meet one guest at a time.”

Long Jin looks at Bei Tang Gu Qiu who is sitting quietly.  He returns to his seat with a huff.  By now, he understands that Bei Tang Gu Qiu knows what Su Huai Feng intends to do, right from the very start.  He only wait along with him to see what he and Yun Qian Yu will do.  He has lost the first round.

Yun Qian Yu walks along the stone corridor leading to a room.  Looks like all the residence have similar layouts, probably to keep them warm.  At the room at the end of the corridor, a man clothed in white robes sits waiting.  His robes are made of cotton and he is not wearing any accessories.  He is looking at his tea pot, pouring himself a cup of tea.  His movements remain calm and collected even after Yun Qian Yu’s entrance.  Every move he made is graceful and casual, it is clear that he is very articulate in the art of tea-making.

He pours the tea halfway before placing it in front of him.

“Please sit, Princess Hu Guo.”

Yun Qian Yu slowly walks over.  She stops in front of the table and sits quietly.

“I thought the first one would be Bei Tang Gu Qiu,” Su Huai Feng smiles.

“It probably would have been him.  Just, he was probably curious to see how bengong and Crown Prince Long Jin would fare.”

Su Huai Feng’s eyebrows are clear and smooth.  His face carries a natural trace of smile.  The way he smiles is different from Gong Sang Mo; Sang Mo’s smile is mask, a shield.  Su Huai Feng’s smile seems to come from the heart.

At this moment, Yun Qian Yu is grateful that she has decided not to use the painting.  She is now sure that Su Huai Feng would have rejected her flat out had she taken out the painting. 

“Your Highness is very honest.”

“This has nothing to do with honesty.  This is something that everyone is already aware of,” talking to smart people is really easy.  You only need to prod him a little and he would immediately understand.


Yun Qian Yu lifts the tea cup and smells the aroma of the tea.  “100 year old snow lotus.  Young Master Su is truly generous,” Yun Qian Yu mutters in appreciation as she sips on the tea.

“All three guests are esteemed and honourable, it is natural for me to serve them the best I can.”

Yun Qian Yu puts down her cup.  She understands what Su Huai Feng is trying to say.  He is lumping all three of them together, which means that he has not yet decided which one he is going to pick.

She looks at him, “May I ask Young Master Su a question?”

Su Huai Feng smiles at her warmly, “Feel free.”

“Thank you,” she pauses for a moment before asking, “What is the worst possible punishment for someone in this mountain?”

Su Huai Feng is stumped.  He thought Yun Qian Yu was going to test him, who would have thought she would ask about something so unrelated to the matter at hand? 

Naturally, he knows everything that is happening inside the mountain.  That means that he knows his Senior Uncle is about to face his punishment today.

The smile on his face disappears as he looks at Yun Qian Yu.

“Are you asking about Senior Uncle?”


“What did he tell you?”

“He said that he is going to be confined for three days, but I don’t believe that,” replies Yun Qian Yu directly.

Su Huai Feng smiles, “That means that Senior Uncle does not want Your Highness to know.”

“But you already agreed to answer my question,” insists Yun Qian Yu.

Su Huai Feng laughs, “Why didn’t you ask other people?”

“What do you think?  I did, but even the three celestials are covering for him.  Who could I possibly ask, other than you?” Yun Qian Yu’s eyes are large as she looks at Su Huai Feng without blinking.

“What makes you think I will tell you?” asks Su Huai Feng.

“You are possibly the only one person who hates seeing lovers separated,” Yun Qian Yu’s eyes are gentle as she softly replies him.

Su Huai Feng turns rigid as he regards Yun Qian Yu solemnly.

“What will you do if you know?  What difference will it bring?  Honorable Grandmaster’s decision cannot be changed.”

“I will undergo the punishment with him.”

“Even if it means undergoing ‘Nine Deaths for One Life’?” asks Su Huai Feng in surprise.

“Yes,” replies Yun Qian Yu firmly.

A storm seems to brew inside Su Huai Feng’s eyes when he remembers what Yang Ruo Yun once told him, “Since I cannot grow old next to you, I will grow old with you from the distance.  Remember this Feng, if you live, I live.  If you die, I will go with you.”

Those sentences pretty much shaped his entire life.  Those words are the reason why he tried so hard to make his life better; so that she could be proud of him, even from the distance.

Su Huai Feng blinks, “Senior Uncle will have to undergo the worst possible punishment for the sect.  He needs to undergo ‘Nine Deaths for One Life’.  If he cannot come out within 3 days, he will never come out again.”

“Has anyone did it before?”

“3 people have been sent for the past 100 years, none of them makes it back alive.”

“Where is it?” Yun Qian Yu clenches her fist, though her voice remains calm.

“There is a small pathway leading to the top of the mountain behind Honorable Grandmaster’s residence.  It will lead to a dead end.  ‘Nine Deaths for One Life’ starts the moment one jumps off the cliff.”

“Thank you,” Yun Qian Yu gets up and turns around to leave.

“Please wait, Your Highness,” says Su Huai Feng helplessly.

Yun Qian Yu turns back around, “Yes, Young Master Su?”

Su Huai Feng laughs, “You travelled for thousands of miles, is it only for Senior Uncle?”

Yun Qian Yu looks at him awkwardly, “Apologies, Young Master Su.  I thought Nan Lou Kingdom would not even be in your consideration.”

“Why not?”

Yun Qian Yu pauses for a moment before replying him, “I already talked to the Emperor before traveling.  I do not know what the other kingdoms offer you, what I do know for sure is that we probably cannot afford to outdo them.  Bottom line is, if you are interested, do come to Nan Lou Kingdom.  We will treat you in fairness and kindness.”

“I would appreciate further details.”  Su Huai Feng helplessly smiles.  Isn’t she here to recruit him?  Why does it feels like he is the one running after the other party?

“First of all, if you choose to come to Nan Lou Kingdom, we will not put any restriction on you.  If you want to leave, we will put on a farewell banquet for you.  Second of all, you can choose to serve anywhere within the imperial division or the national division.  No one will interfere with your work.  The one thing we ask is of your unconditional loyalty to Nan Lou Kingdom during your tenure.”

Yun Qian Yu gives him a deep, probing look before turning around to leave.

“I will wait for Your Highness and Senior Uncle’s safe return!” says Su Huai Feng as Yun Qian Yu is about to step out of the room.

“Let’s hope so.”

The blue silhouette disappears from the doorway.  A large smile can be seen on Su Huai Feng’s lips as he stares at the doorway.

Undergoing a trial of life and death with a loved one is also a kind of bliss.  He had never gotten the chance to feel that bliss, but someone else is about to.  That foxy girl.  She pretty much made sure he could never reject her offer.  She truly is similar to his Senior Uncle.  The type that would openly tell you they are going to try and trap you and then made sure you couldn’t say no.

When Yun Qian Yu walks out of the corridor, both Long Jin and Bei Tang Gu Qiu look at her.

She simply nods at them in acknowldgement before leaving Su Huai Feng’s residence without looking back.

A question mark hovers above Long Jin’s head while Bei Tang Gu Qiu frowns.

San Qiu waits for her outside, “Are we leaving already, Your Highness?”

Yun Qian Yu looks at him without saying a word.  Then, she heads towards Sheng Xue Tian Zun’s residence.

San Qiu follows her from behind.  Since Sheng Xue Tian Zun’s residence is located near Gong Sang Mo’s residence, he simply thought that she is returning home and therefore did not bother to say a single word.

However, when they pass by Gong Sang Mo’s residence and heads straight towards Sheng Xue Tian Zun’s residence, panic begins to set in San Qiu’s heart.  Did the princess figure it out?

Yun Qian Yu walks around Sheng Xue Tian Zun’s residence, to his backyard.  The little pathway is just right there.  The stone steps are narrow and long, meaning that only one person can go through it at one time.  The pathway curves up like a long snake.

She climbs up the little path.  It is then that Feng Ran appears in front of her, “Your Highness, are you really going to abandon the Valley for him?”

Yun Qian Yu freezes a little before saying, “We will return alive.”

“How do you guarantee that?”

Yun Qian Yu lowers her head, “Feng Ran, I must go.”

Feng Ran’s heart is teared into pieces, “Are you going to abandon everyone, including the Seven Elders?  Are you really going to follow your parents’ footsteps?”

“Feng Ran, Sang Mo will not abandon me.  Since he is confident enough to go with it, it means that he is sure he can return alive.”

“Then why won’t you just wait for his return?”

“Because I know it will not be easy.  I want to share his burden.”

Feng Ran becomes quiet.  It has not been that long and Gong Sang Mo has already managed to secure his place in her heart.

He quietly steps aside.  He made a silent oath to himself; in the process of protecting Yun Qian Yu, he must also now protect Gong Sang Mo.  Their lives are now intertwined.  He will not allow what happened to her father to happen to her.

“Wait a minute,” Ji Shu Liu’s voice can be heard behind Yun Qian Yu.

Yun Qian Yu turns around, “No one will be able to stop me.”

“I am not trying to stop you.  Here, take this,” he hands her a dagger.

Yun Qian Yu stares at it, not accepting directly.

“This dagger is forged from cold iron, it is tougher than any other metal.  The cliffsides are covered in ice, this dagger might be of help,” says Ji Shu Liu helplessly as he puts the dagger on her palm.

“I promised him I would keep you from following him, but now, I’ve changed my mind.  If I were in your place, I would want to live and die with my loved one as well.”

He left out the part where the gods would never give him that chance now.

Yun Qian Yu looks at the dagger in her hand.  She can feel it’s coldness seeping through her.  “Thank you.”

She turns around and climbs up the steps, heading straight towards the mountain peak.

“You must return safely.  I look forward to drinking Sang Mo’s plum wine,” says Ji Shu Liu.

Yun Qian Yu waves the dagger at hand, “We will.”

As Yun Qian Yu climbs up, the temperature lowers.  The coldness pierces through her heart.  She gathers her Zi Yu Xin Jing and immediately flies towards the peak.

From the distance, her white cloak blends in with the snow.  Had she not moved, Feng Ran and Ji Shu Liu would not have been able to spot her at all.

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After a moment, she completely disappears.  Feng Ran and Ji Shu Liu lower their heads.  That can only mean that she has reached the very top.

Yun Qian Yu looks at the cliff that is covered in snow.

Sheng Xue Tian Zun and the three celestials are there. 

Gong Sang Mo has just jumped off the moment she got there.  “Sang Mo!” calls Yun Qian Yu as his pale blue silhouette disappears from sight.

Before anyone even gets to do anything, she jumps right after him.

The three celestials want to stop her, but Sheng Xue Tian Zun stops them.

Yun Qian Yu’s silhouette floats down the chasm like a snowflake, closely following Gong Sang Mo.

“Why didn’t you let us stop her, Shifu?” asks Qing Ling Xian.

“Her own inner power is in the brim of completion, this is also an opportunity for her,” says Sheng Xue Tian Zun as he looks at the chasm below.  Let him be selfish for a moment.  The greater the number, the greater the chance for them to get out alive.

Qing Ling Xian immediately understands his action, “Doesn’t the owner of Yun Valley practise Zi Yu Xin Jing?  She is also close to mastering her art?”

Sheng Xue Tian Zun nods.

“Yet another talented brat,” says Qing Ling Xian in envy.

“No wonder Sang Mo likes her.  They are so alike,” adds Qing Yuan Xian.

Qing Yun Xian is the calmest out of the three, “Seems like we don’t have anything to worry about.  This is a blessing in disguise.”

“What sort of blessing?” asks Qing Ling Xian.

“We get to see the completion of Xue Lian Han Gong and Zi Yu Xin Jing at the same time.”

Qing Ling Xian nods.  The worry that has been nestling inside his heart dissipates slowly.

Sheng Xue Tian Zun sits near the edge of the cliff, “Shifu would like to wait for them here.  The three of you should return to the mountain and take care of everything for shifu.”

“Shifu, Junior Brother will only return after 3 days.  This cliff is the coldest place in the entire mountain.  You should return to your residence and wait there.  This disciple will wait for Junior Brother here,” offers Qing Yuan Xian.

Sheng Xue Tian Zun closes his eyes, “The trials that they will be facing down there will be a lot worse than waiting in the cold.”  He waves his hands and pure white light immediately engulfs him.  A pure white snow lotus hovers overhead, signalling an undergoing Xue Lian Han Gong meditation.

The three celestials knows that their Shifu will not let them talk him out of this and can only give up trying to persuade him.  Instead, they begin coming up with a working-shift.  One of them will keep their Shifu company each day.

“Let me keep Shifu company today.  Su Huai Feng will leave the mountain after three days,” says Qing Yun Xian.

Qing Yuan Xian and Qing Ling Xian nod in agreement.

And so, the two men sit near the edge of the cliff, waiting for Gong Sang Mo and Yun Qian Yu’s return.

As for the other party, Gong Sang Mo could hear Yun Qian Yu calling his name right after he jumped off.  He should have known something was up.  He will not be surprised if she jumped after him, his Shifu and Senior Brothers would not have been able to stop her.

Unfortunately, there are thick mists below the cliff.  He cannot see a single thing.

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