Chapter 528: Ling Bi’er’s Trouble
Jiang Chen’s involuntary glance at Ling Bi’er’s chest when he heard these words almost made her want to faint in shame.
She flushed crimson as she suppressed the urge to unsheathe her sword and fall on it. Although Jiang Chen hadn’t meant to act frivolously towards her, and his actions had been a natural reaction to her sister’s words, she still felt like her body had been completely seen through by that look.
Jiang Chen coughed lightly when he saw how awkward the situation was. “Please wait momentarily, I’ll be back with some snacks.”
He was a smart man, and knew that if he didn’t duck out of sight at that moment, Ling Bi’er would be hard pressed to resolve things. She held onto a chair for dear life after Jiang Chen left, slowly patting her chest as she glared at her sister. “Hui’er, do you want to anger your sister to death?”
Ling Hui’er thought nothing of it. “Sister, this senior brother Jiang Chen is too wicked! When a beauty like you comes knocking at his door, that’s such fortune that he’s spent several lifetimes cultivating for! How dare he not give you face! Hmph! This kind of man deserves to be single for his entire life!”
Ling Bi’er was completely speechless. She’d honestly only come to trade reflections on pill dao, but now her sister had twisted her intentions into seducing a man! How would the proud Ling Bi’er be willing to accept this? “Ling Hui’er, if you spread any more groundless rumors, I’ll ground you for three years of closed door cultivation after we get back!”
This was Ling Bi’er’s ultimate move, and it had the desired effect. Ling Hui’er’s face changed drastically as she clapped one hand over her mouth, a look of horrified panic on her face. “I won’t say anymore, sis! Hui’er just thought that you felt something for senior brother Jiang Chen and so wanted to give the two of you a push. It’s a perfect match; what’s not good about it?”
Ling Hui’er hastily waved her hands with an ashen face as her sister leveled a look that could kill at her. “I won’t say a single word more, I promise!”
Ling Bi’er clutched her chest with her hands as her gentle, tender face began to drain of color. Tears began to pool in her eyes. “Hui’er, mama passed away early and papa ventured into all sorts of strange places to support the two of us. Then he was afflicted with an exotic poison when I was seven and you five. He grasped my hand on his sickbed and reminded me to bring you up well and take good care of you. After we entered the Regal Pill Palace, even the elders of the Herbal Hall were powerless in the face of this strange poison. Do you truly understand the burden on our shoulders? I wanted to gain some inspiration from Jiang Chen after observing that he is a rare genius in pill dao, but you keep leading the conversation astray and speaking nonsense. Do you think I don’t know senior brother Shen’s thoughts? Do you think I still have any time for the follies between men and women? I will not marry as long as papa is still afflicted with his poison. What would it matter if I were to dedicate the rest of my life to whoever can cure papa? Hui’er, my reputation is one thing when you start sprouting nonsense, but won’t that cause junior brother Jiang Chen to think less of us? Won’t that make papa suffer some more?”
Ling Hui’er wasn’t a heartless person as her tears started plopping down her face the more her sister talked. She grabbed onto her sister as Ling Bi’er started sobbing. “Sister, I was wrong! Don’t cry, please? It’s Hui’er who did wrong, Hui’er who acted poorly. I’ll listen carefully to you from now on sister! I love papa too, Hui’er will be just like you! Hui’er will dedicate the rest of her life to whoever can cure papa’s poison too!”
The two sisters hugged each other tightly and cried together.
It was Ling Bi’er who came back to her senses first as she suddenly realized how unseemly it was to be bawling like this in Jiang Chen’s territory. She wrested her emotions under control with great effort and wiped away the tear tracks that trailed down her cheeks before helping her younger sister. “Don’t cry, Hui’er. No matter what, I’ll find the spirit herb that’s the antidote to papa’s poison on Mt. Rippling Mirage this time.”
The two sisters were both a bit embarrassed for a while. After all, this was Jiang Chen’s residence, and although he wasn’t with them at the moment, it was still rather embarrassing for the two of them to have engaged in a crying session like this. It was a good thing that it took a while for Jiang Chen to return with some spirit fruits. The time had given the two the chance to grasp some degree of equanimity.
“My apologies, junior brother Jiang Chen. Please excuse our behavior.” Ling Bi’er’s voice was a bit subdued, whereas Ling Hui’er hid behind her sister and looked at Jiang Chen with bright eyes.
“Junior sister Hui’er is cute and innocent, with a deeply endearing temperament. Why would I have to excuse her behavior?”
Ling Bi’er’s clear eyes snuck a glance at Jiang Chen as she sighed dejectedly. “Since junior brother Jiang Chen is about to go into closed door cultivation, us two sisters will take our leave first.”
Ling Hui’er suddenly stepped out from behind her sister to walk in front of Jiang Chen. “Senior brother Jiang Chen, since everyone says you have the highest pill dao potential in the younger generation, do you dare let me quiz you?”
Jiang Chen laughed heartily. “What would junior sister Hui’er like to test me with?”
“Do you know of an unparalleled poison amongst the list of rare and exotic poisons in the world called Divine Befuddlement Miasma?”
Jiang Chen started. Why would Ling Hui’er suddenly raise this poison as a topic? He caught a sudden tremor running through Ling Bi’er’s body in his peripheral vision as her sister brought it up. It seemed that she was equally interested in this topic, but was just too embarrassed to bring it up. He thought briefly, “I once heard a learned expert speak of all the rare and exotic poisons in the world, and the Divine Befuddlement Miasma is hard pressed even to rank in the top 100 out of all poisons that exist. It’s not a particularly strong poison, so it seems a bit over the top to call it an unparalleled poison, no?”
Ling Bi’er’s body shook again when these words were spoken, barely managing to stay on her feet. Ling Hui’er however, had an incredulous expression. “Not even in the top hundred? Senior brother Jiang Chen, are you making stuff up? I’ve heard that no one can cure this Divine Befuddlement Miasma!”
It truly was difficult for this poison to rank in the top 100, but perhaps it was a more obscure and hard to cure poison in the Divine Abyss Continent. Jiang Chen smiled carelessly and nodded. “I only heard the expert speak of it casually. Its rank may not be accurate.”
He naturally didn’t want to argue with a little girl. Indeed, the slight expression that had appeared on Ling Bi’er’s face dimmed immediately after he spoke these words, and Ling Hui’er hopped from foot to foot in her anger. “How can you speak so firmly of things you’ve only heard of?!”
Jiang Chen only smiled at Ling Hui’er’s censure. Arguing with a little girl was a futile and exhaustive effort. He would never do something so pointless.
Ling Bi’er however, was someone intelligent within and beautiful without. When she saw Jiang Chen act thus, she guessed without a doubt that there was something that he wasn’t speaking of. When she came to this conclusion, she was struck by an impulse and blurted out, “Junior brother Jiang Chen, did the expert you spoke of ever say if there was a way to cure this poison?”
She was deathly afraid that Jiang Chen would think that she wasn’t being sincere, so she solemnly performed the curtsy of one asking for tutelage. “Junior brother Jiang Chen, Bi’er sincerely requests your knowledge and will be gratified if I receive any pointers.”
Ling Bi’er was different from Ling Hui’er. If it’d been Ling Hui’er, Jiang Chen certainly wouldn’t taken her seriously and just waved the matter away. But Ling Bi’er wasn’t one to easily ask for help, and thus if she did, it was a serious matter indeed.
Although Jiang Chen didn’t want the spotlight, Ling Bi’er had come knocking and was requesting his aid so sincerely that he wasn’t at liberty to continue to playing the fool. “I suppose one could identify the Divine Befuddlement Miasma as an exotic poison. The crux of the poison’s complexity lies in the fact that it’s an amalgamation of many poisonous gases. There are even instances of various Miasmas coming together to form a unique one. As such, the antidotes and cures required for each Miasma is also unique. This complexity is why it is listed among the rare poisons. Those afflicted with it will see their consciousness sink into a foggy state, spending their days in a coma. If one has ways to extend life, then the patient can hang on. But If the patient is poor and without such methods, then they are unfortunately destined for death.”
Jiang Chen was familiar with the Miasma, and his words were only the shallowest theories behind it. Yet these words were enough to send Ling Bi’er’s chest heaving with feeling. If it wasn’t for the fact that she was used to controlling her own emotions, she probably would’ve already burst into tears.
In all these years, she had broken her heart with worry over her father’s matter. She’d flipped through almost all of the tomes in the Regal Pill Palace, but had never found an inkling of the cure to the Miasma. All these years, she had held onto her belief in the cure, but her hopes had been dashed year after year. She’d visited all of the elders in the Herbal Hall in search of aid, and even Elder Yun Nie, one who had made slight study of the Miasma, was helpless after seeing her father’s symptoms.
In the entire Myriad Domain, the sect most adept at poison was the Walkabout Sect. She’d visited them in person once when she was 17. However, no one had paid any attention to her there. There were a few elders who seemed a bit interested, but placed the condition of taking Ling Bi’er to be their dao partner and have her offer up her body first before coming to the Regal Pill Palace for a look.
They only said they would take a look, and had left the matter of whether or not they could cure her father untouched.
Ling Bi’er was the type who rather die to preserve her chastity. Even a foreign man touching her hand would elicit a vehement reaction from her strong personality, much less offering up her body. How would she ever agree to using her body in exchange for a promise to come evaluate her father? Of course, she never agreed to anything of the sort.
But from then on, she swore that she would even be willing to become the servant of the one who could cure her father’s Miasma, and if no one did, then she would remain chaste her entire life.
That vow was also a signal to those old men with lewd thoughts in their heads that although she could sacrifice herself for her father, she wasn’t a girl that anyone could easily philander. You will never hoodwink me with a promise!
And now, she had received information about the Miasma from a newly inducted disciple. Although it was just a few words, it was more dependable than anyone she’d met before since Jiang Chen’s description of the symptoms were an exact match for her father’s. It was as if he’d seen her father with his own eyes. She was certain that Jiang Chen had absolutely not known of her father’s matter before this.
The spark of hope that had been extinguished again and again involuntarily flickered to life in her heart. She wasn’t willing to give up even the slightest bit of hope. Her voice shook slightly as the anxiety for a favor and worry of losing hope again warred in her expressive eyes. “Junior brother Jiang Chen, according to what you say, is there a cure for the Miasma?”
She felt her entire body grow weak after asking this, barely able to remain standing. The storm of emotions roiling through her made her both anxious to know the results, and also deathly afraid that Jiang Chen would say that there was no cure possible.