In the end, Yun Qian Yu made the right guess; Gong Sang Mo did not return until the next morning.
He has to explain everything that happened in details to his shifu and Senior Brothers.
The Three Celestials who wanted to get pointers from Gong Sang Mo immediately lose hope when they finds out what he had to go through. Taking the challenge means one thing for certain: death. They are so old that it is uncertain if they can succeed, death is more likely.
They can only try to take in more disciples and see if anyone can be like Gong Sang Mo.
Gong Sang Mo suggest to only take people who can reach the 9th level of Xue Lian Han Gong. He also advised them to take down as few disciples at one time as possible. If some of them are greedy, they might use their fellow disciples as stepping stones to live. Wouldn’t that be a big insult to the trial and to their sect?
He and Yun Qian Yu does not count. They are pretty much one person, hence, them ignoring their own lives to make sure the other lives.
Sheng Xue Tian Zun nods in agreement. They already took in too many disciples in the recent years, it will be easy for some to hide their true characters. In order to prevent such things from happening, he will put in the new rules to the engravings at the entrance. He will also announce the trial of ‘Nine Deaths for One Life’ as the final stage of cultivation for Xue Lian Han Gong.
Upon returning to his residence, Gong Sang Mo looks at Yun Qian Yu who is sleeping sweetly. His eyes soften. He quietly takes off his outer robe and takes out a separate quilt to prevent the coldness in his body from stirring her awake.
Then, he lies down and takes her straight against his chest.
By the time Yun Qian Yu wakes up, Gong Sang Mo is sound asleep.
She does not wake him and quietly gets up. She takes a bath and then puts on her clothes before going out to see the eagles.
When the eagles see her, they eagerly swoop down towards her, causing snow to rain upon her body.
She laughs as she shrugs the snow off her hair and dress.
In her happiness, she finally looks her age.
She takes the two eagles for a stroll around the mountain. She has been here for 5 days, and yet, she has never seen the mountain in broad daylight.
Other than the palace-like buildings, another landmark catches her eye. A huge training ground.
All the buildings here surround that training ground. The ground is made of smooth stone and there are nine large carved lotus structures surrounding the training field.
It looks clean and holy, very awe-inspiring.
At the moment, the training ground is already full of disciples.
Yun Qian Yu is very eye-catching with her two eagles. Although they have never seen her before, they know that a beautiful celestial-like princess has come to their mountain. They even heard that she is the love of their Senior Uncle’s heart. Their Senior Uncle also warned them off harming the eagles yesterday, so now, seeing the two eagles obediently following her, they can safely deduce that she is Yun Qian Yu.
Many of them stares at her out of curiosity.
Due to their distraction, the training ground becomes a big mess, with kicks and punches missing their marks.
“If you watches on, Your Highness, no training will be done today,” Su Huai Feng walks over to her while laughing.
Yun Qian Yu looks at him, “They can’t even concentrate properly, what is the point of practicing?”
She turns around and walks away.
Su Huai Feng rubs his nose awkwardly and follows suit, “Even the iron-hearted Senior Uncle could not resist your allure, much less these people.”
The corner of Yun Qian Yu’s lips twitches. Who knew Su Huai Feng could be so laid-back?
“What are you doing here so early in the morning, Young Master Su?” asks Yun Qian Yu.
Su Huai Feng smiles as he looks at her.
“Tell me it’s a coincidence and I will not believe you,” adds Yun Qian Yu, without waiting for Su Huai Feng to speak, effectively killing that excuse.
“You are different from what the rumors say,” laughs Su Huai Feng.
“Rumors are not credible, to begin with!”
“I never knew you are this blunt,” says Su Huai Feng.
“Have you heard this one saying, Young Master Su?” asks Yun Qian Yu while pursing her lips.
“Oh, which saying?” Su Huai Feng raises an eyebrow.
“There is no need to take side-roads with smart people,” replies Yun Qian Yu.
“Huh!” Su Huai Feng is momentarily stunned before he breaks into laughter.
The disciples they encounter along the way are shocked to see Su Huai Feng laughing. All of them stares at the two people in disbelief.
Yun Qian Yu spares him a look, “Can you tell me what happened between you and Miss Yang?”
Su Huai Feng suddenly stops laughing.
“What is there to tell? Is there a single person out there who doesn’t know the story?”
“I told you, rumors are not credible,” replies Yun Qian Yu calmly, implying that she will only believe what comes out of Su Huai Feng’s mouth.
Su Huai Feng looks at her, “The story is long; why don’t you join Huai Feng for a cup of tea, Your Highness?”
“Alright! I love listening to stories. Sang Mo told me loads of it, during our journey here,” replies Yun Qian Yu good-naturedly.
The corner of Su Huai Feng’s lips twitches. His Senior Uncle is actually a story-teller? Love can truly change a person!
When they get to Su Huai Feng’s residence, Fei Qing, his attendant, looks at Yun Qian Yu in surprise. His master only went out for a while and actually returns with Princess Hu Guo in tow? He greets them before quickly prepares them some tea.
“Fei Qing, bring the kettle in. I will personally boil the tea,” says Su Huai Feng.
Fei Qing is stunned. His master wants to brew the tea himself? Nevertheless, he calmly brings the kettle in.
There is no other way: the mountain is too cold. All guests are to be entertained inside, where it is warm.
Su Huai Feng invites Yun Qian Yu to sit, and instructs Fei Qing to serve her pastries.
“You haven’t had breakfast, no? You should eat some snacks.”
“Thank you,” Yun Qian Yu did not expect Su Huai Feng to be so considerate.
Su Huai Feng sets up everything he needs to brew the tea and sits back down when he is finished.
Yun Qian Yu slowly eats the pastry; it actually tastes like snow lotus.
“I met Yun Er when I was returning home to visit my family,” begins Su Huai Feng.
Yun Qian Yu expected discrepancies, just she did not expect it so early into the story. They met when he was visiting his family, not when he left the mountain to cultivate.
“Back then, Yun Er was around the same age as you are right now. She has just entered maidenhood, she was at the best years of her life. She snuck out of her house to visit her relative’s house in Wu Ji back then. On the way there, her money was stolen. I first met her when she was staring pitifully at me while I was eating noodles.” Su Huai Feng cannot help the smile on his lips. “I asked her and found out about her predicament. She was all by herself, with no money with her. Since my home was in Wu Ji as well, I decided ro travel with her. We talked a lot during the journey home. I found out that she was proficient in art and chess and possessed many opinions which were unheard of from women. We exchanged many opinions.”
When he got to that part, Yun Qian Yu realizes that they were destined to fall in love with each other.
“When we reached Wu Ji, I sent her to her family home in the city. After that, I showed her around the city. It was then that we confessed our feelings to each other. Not long later, her family sends people to send her back to her home. Before she left, I promised her I would visit her in Gu City the next time I was to be allowed home by the sect.”
Su Huai Feng momentarily stops.
“The next time I left the mountain, which was near the end of the year, I expressed my wish to my parents. I wanted to go to Gu City to propose a marriage proposal to her family. My parents agreed. Nevertheless, our love was destined to crumble. Yun Er’s uncle was murdered a while before. When we got to the Yang Residence in Gu City, her aunt saw my father’s jade pendant, which was similar to that of the killer’s. Not only did they object to the marriage proposal, they were also convinced that my father was the one who killed her uncle.” Su Huai Feng’s face was desolate as he hand Yun Qian Yu a cup of tea.
“What really happened?” asks Yun Qian Yu as she takes the cup.
“The jade was one-of-a-kind. My father is the only known person who owns it. It’s impossible for it to be duplicated. However, my father never killed anyone. Besides, when the uncle was killed, my father was at home, preparing for my uncle’s wedding. Her aunt was the witness to her uncle’s murder back then, but other than her, there was no way for us to verify what really happened. My father told them he was at Wu Ji City during the time of the murder, but they didn’t believe him. The rest, I believe, is history.”
Yun Qian Yu sighs as she holds the tea-cup.
There is no such thing as perfection in this world. You can love all you want, if the gods decide against it, you will be apart no matter what.
“Did you ever investigate that matter afterwards?”
“Of course I did. However, no one really knows what happened back then, other than her aunt.”
Yun Qian Yu is quiet.
“Is that why you don’t want to work as an official?” asks Yun Qian Yu.
“How did you know?” asks Su Huai Feng in surprise.
“Because you have never sincerely treated everyone who has come to recruit you,” Yun Qian Yu raises an eyebrow.
“Your Highness sure is perceptive.” Su Huai Feng laughs bitterly. This matter is his inner demons. He always thought that being a genius is pointless; because no matter how smart he is, he still fails to clear his father’s name. He still fails to marry the woman he loves.
“Would you like to hear my suggestion?” offers Yun Qian Yu.
“I’d be honoured,” replies Su Huai Feng.
“I think, it means that you are better off taking an official post. It will give you the authority and power to thoroughly investigate the murder. No one can commit the perfect crime; there will always be traces left behind. There must be something that you have overlooked. Something that you cannot do as Young Master Su and Qing Yun Xian’s favourite disciple might be doable if you are Nan Lou Kingdom’s official,” says Yun Qian Yu firmly.
Su Huai Feng’s eyes light up, “Your Highness is very capable. You can offer someone some comfort while also recruiting them.”
Yun Qian Yu smiles, “I am just telling you that I am baiting you. Whether you want to take the bait or not, it is up to only you.”
“Haha,” Su Huai Feng laughs. “I must say, your arguments are pretty tempting.”
“Of course. I am not only Nan Lou Kingdom’s princess and the owner of Yun Valley, I am also good at medicine; especially at prognosis and diagnosis.” Yun Qian Yu is not at all modest.
Fei Qing walks in from outside, “Your Highness, Senior Uncle Gong invites you to go back and have breakfast with him.”
Yun Qian Yu nods before getting up, “Thank you for your pastry and tea.”
Yun Qian Yu walks out, only to stop at the exit. She turns around to face Su Huai Feng, “My bait is made of gold and is heart-shaped, I hope you will consider it.”
The corner of Su Huai Feng’s lips twitches, this is the first time someone has said as much to him. Good to know that this fish is worthy of gold.
After receiving Su Huai Feng’s reassurance, Yun Qian Yu leaves.
Su Huai Feng is not merely humoring Yun Qian Yu. He truly is considering her offer. If he did not get rid of his inner demons, he will not be able to do anything in this life of his.
When Yun Qian Yu leaves Su Huai Feng’s residence, she is greeted by Gong Sang Mo who is standing near the gate.
“Did you achieve your purpose?” Gong Sang Mo fixes Yun Qian Yu’s cloak.
“It should be.”
“Huai Feng is not someone one can easily acquired,” Gong Sang Mo raises his eyebrows.
“Well first, you have to look at who the recruiter is,” replies Yun Qian Yu haughtily.
Gong Sang Mo laughs as he pinches her nose. Then, he frowns, “Huai Feng gave you pastries made of snow lotus?”
Yun Qian Yu blinks at him, “What is your nose made of?”
Gong Sang Mo cannot believe his ears. He looks at her in grievance, “Yu Er just gave me a backhanded compliment!”
“I was praising you.”
“Why didn’t it sound like one?”
“Every single word was uttered to praise you.”
“Say it again…”
“Haha,” Yun Qian Yu laughs before running from him.
Gong Sang Mo runs after her while smiling brightly. Yun Qian Yu looks more and more happy nowadays, a far cry from her previous ice-maiden countenance. She looks more real, more approachable.
When they return to Gong Sang Mo’s residence, breakfast are already served on the table. Yun Qian Yu sits down before appreciatively saying, “It smells so good.”
Gong Sang Mo hands her a pair of chopsticks, “If it smells good, eat more.”
Chen Xiang and Yu Nuo are shocked by Yun Qian Yu’s words, “This is the first time Your Highness ever said that.”
Feng Ran cooly replies them from the sideline, “If we don’t feed you for three days, you will praise even the smell of porridges.”
The girls roll their eyes at him, “Can’t you let us be happy for a while longer?”
“I was just scared that you two will consider yourselves to be on Hong Su’s level,” retorts Feng Ran.
“Hmph!” It is rare for Chen Xiang and Yu Nuo to be rendered speechless.
Yun Qian Yu eats while listening to their little squabble, her face lighting up in a smile.
Ying Yu whispers to Man Er, “Look, Mistress is smiling more and more lately.”
Man Er nods, “En, Xian Wang is indeed capable. I truly look up to him.”
The two girls secretly put Gong Sang Mo on a pedestal.
Somewhere on the mountain, Qing Yun Xian finish his breakfast and visits Su Huai Feng in his residence. Nobody knows what the two have been chatting about, but what they do know is that Qing Yun Xian leaves the residence with a pleased smile on his face.
As for Qing Yuan Xian who is keeping Sheng Xue Tian Zun company, he asks his shifu, “Shifu, you really like that Yun Qian Yu girl?”
Sheng Xue Tian Zun pats his beard, “Why? You don’t like that girl?”
“That girl is likeable, sure, but this disciple cannot understand why shifu likes her so much. After all, she has only been here for five days.”
“Did you see the two eagles’ affection towards her?”
“Yes, but what does that has anything to do with everything?”
“Animal are perceptive creatures, they can easily see through people’s masks. It has only been three days and yet the eagles are already so fond of her. It means that her heart is truly clean and kind. She is the type that will never mistreat people. Once she takes you in, she takes you into her heart. Mo Er has good taste,” explains Sheng Xue Tian Zun.
Qing Yuan Xian nods in understanding, somehow feeling he has learned to read people better from this conversation alone.
Just as Yun Qian Yu and Gong Sang Mo finish their breakfast, Su Huai Feng comes to visit.
Yun Qian Yu looks at him, “You have come to your decision so quickly?”
“Huai Feng have considered Your Highness’ words carefully and has finally come to a decision,” replies Su Huai Feng.
“What will it be?” asks Yun Qian Yu curiously.
“Your Highness told me that I might be able to do more as an official of the Kingdom than when I am not. Then, can you do something that Huai Feng always thought was impossible? If you can, then Huai Feng will believe everything you said.”
Su Huai Feng ignores Gong Sang Mo’s angry face as he says all that.
Yun Qian Yu is interested now, “I am always under the impression that there are only things that one does not want to do, and not things one cannot do. Say it, what is it that you want me to prove?”