Yun Qian Yu slowly walks next to Gong Sang Mo along the path lined by osmanthus trees. A tall silhouette can be seen walking next to a slender one; just below his shoulders. As winds billows their clothes, the two beautiful people created a scene that is akin to a celestial painting.
"It was I who recommended you to His Majesty." Gong Sang Mo admits, his hands tuck behind him.
"It is okay." Yun Qian Yu's voice is apathetic as usual. She knows what Gong Sang Mo is implying.
He helplessly laughs, "Are you capable of showing any other reaction? Anger perhaps? Displeasure?"
Yun Qian Yu raises her head and look at him, "If I really do that, will you regret recommending me to His Majesty?"
Gong Sang Mo is startled, and then he flashes an easy-going smile, "You are indeed observant, nothing can escape you."
Yun Qian Yu trains her beautiful pair of eyes to the horizon, "What you did was not wrong. I could not bear to leave Yu Jian. Rather than helping him when he encounters trouble, I might as well accompany him from the start."
Gong Sang Mo's brilliant phoenix eyes gazes at Yun Qian Yu, "Ever since the time of our ancestors, the Xian Wang manor does not interfere with the matter of imperial succession. We will only act if the country's peace is jeopardize."
"Xian Wang need not feel guilty." Yun Qian Yu saw that coming from the very start. If it hadn't been that way, Murong Cang wouldn't have been so worried. That is why the imperial family is unperturbed even though Xian Wang Manor controls half of their soldiers.
Gong Sang Mo is relieved now that he had admitted to everything. "Qian Yu, we have known each other for three years."
"Yes, it has been three years."
Qian Yu reminisced everything that happened three years ago. She time-travelled to this place during spring, where the scent of osmanthus filled the air. But back then, she was hovering between life and death, she was not leisurely like she is right now.
"Then, are we friends?"
"Of course!" Yun Qian Yu lifts her eyes and looks at Gong Sang Mo, wondering what it is that he is trying to say.
"Then, can Qian Yu not formally address me as Xian Wang?"
"Oh?" Qian Yu pauses. She looks down, pondering for a while. "Then, from now on, I shall call you Sang Mo."
"Alright!" Gong Sang Mo smiles, his phoenix eyes are overflowing with delight. When he smiles, he looks unparalleled. Everything pales in comparison when put next to him. His eyes usually carries warmth, but they are completely different from the way he looks right now. His smile is so earnest and vivid, it makes him looks a lot more attractive. Yun Qian Yu unnervingly stares at that man; once one looks at him, it is really hard to look away.
Gong Sang Mo looks at her while smiling with both his eyes and his lips. "Do I look that good?"
Yun Qian Yu nods, shamelessly admitting that. "Beautiful things need people to admire them," she says, as a matter of fact.
Gong Sang Mo knows Yun Qian Yu means what she says; she is purely appreciating. He secretly sighs on the inside; such a handsome face, other maidens all salivates upon seeing him and yet her…. Is it because she is too young? But she will be of age in just a few days. The way her mind works can be trickier than an old demon; but why is she so clueless when it comes to affection between men and women? Seems like the road to chase this wife of his is still long.
The two people already reach the main entrance.
"Sang Mo, we are here." Yun Qian Yu stops. Gong Sang Mo can see a horse-drawn carriage in front, pulled by four white horses. There is the crest of Yun Valley on top of that carriage. The horses are controlled by a forty-year-old something old man. He is neither imperious nor submissive. Behind the carriage, 4 handsome men wearing white robes and 4 beautiful maidens wearing pink dresses are riding on eight white horses.
"Uncle Chai." Yun Qian Yu walks in front of the carriage and greets the middle aged man.
"Master of the Valley." Uncle Chai bows as he greets Yun Qian Yu. After that, he turns to Gong Sang Mo who is standing next to the entrance. "Greeting Xian Wang."
Gong Sang Mo nods. He had always known Yun Valley isn't simple, but he never thought that even the housekeeper will be so extraordinary. With just one look, he already knows he is Xian Wang. Gong Sang Mo watches the watery blue silhouette entering the carriage. She puts down the curtain at the door. Gong Sang Mo takes out a box from his sleeves and puts it inside the carriage through the window.
"Your birthday present."
Yun Qian Yu's eyes are trained on that square box. She knows what is inside without even opening it. The thirteenth day of the eighth month is her birthdate, similar to her date of birth in the past life. Three years ago, her birthday was three days after she travelled to this world. Gong Sang Mo coincidentally visited her that day to see how her wounds were. After knowing it was her birthday, he asked her what she wanted.
Without thinking, she told him she wanted a Ye Ming pearl. She is quiet in nature and the one thing she couldn't get used to upon coming here was the dimness of the candles and lanterns. It was not comfortable for her who likes to read books.
On the day after, Gong Sang Mo sent her a fist-sized Ye Ming pearl. Last year, he also gave her another one. This year, too.
"Thank you!" Yun Qian Yu will never reject the things that she likes. She does not like that many things anyway. Besides, she has this firm trust in Gong Sang Mo; perhaps because he was the first person she saw and was also the person who saved her life. She has this preconceived trust in him.
A delightful expression floats out in Gong Sang Mo's face, "As long as you like it!"
"I like it." Yun Qian Yu didn't even bother to hide her liking.
Uncle Chai looks at Gong Sang Mo before jumping into the carriage, he quickly orders the horses to run away.
The carriage has long disappears from sight and yet Gong Sang Mo still stands there, staring at the direction it went to.
A man in black robes appears behind him. That man kneels, "Reporting to wangye, another letter comes from the old wangye, pressing wangye to return to the capital."
Gong Sang Mo rubs his temples as he murmurs, "It has been three years. It is time for me to return to the capital."
The man in black is quickly overjoyed, he no longer has to be the recipient of the old wangye's poisonous mouth.
The carriage heading to Mount Yun travels on a leisurely pace. Even though the road is rocky and uneven, the entire carriage is lined with thick paddings on the inside. Yun Qian Yu leans on the paddings and closes her eyes.
Mount Yun is two hundred li away from the capital. The mountain isn't that high and the road is not steep. The entire mountain is lush with trees. Mount Yun only have two residences, one is the one bestowed by the imperial family to Yun Clan and the other; the imperial family's villa. There are a lot of carriages waiting at the foot of Mount Yun, they are all scattered over there, waiting for the time. Most of them are the people who participated in Situ Han Yi's elevation's banquet.
Their only aim is, Yun Qian Yu, the Master of Yun Valley.
Yun Valley is not only famous for their medicinal arts, they are also famous for being rich. A lot of the people there are hungry; now that a big piece of meat is dangling right in front of them, how can they not act?
A luxurious carriage is coming from afar. A young man wearing red robes is leaning on the door lazily. His face looks like a painting, his looks are above average people and yet the way he conducts himself isn't in sync with his looks. A piece of leaf is dangling from the corner of his lips, his two feet moving everytime the carriage moves. The coachman tries his best to keep the journey smooth.
"Feng Yue, what is going on in front? Go and take a look."
You cannot see the person, you can only hear his voice, "Yes."
Almost immediately, a black silhouette appears in front of the carriage. "My prince, those people are the martial arts practitioners who participated in Feng Yun Manor's Situ Han Yi succession ceremony. According to rumors, the first thing Situ Han Yi did upon his appointment was to break his engagement with his fiancée in favor of Miss Bai Fei Xu. His fiancée was the master of Yun Valley who disappeared three years ago. All these people are toads waiting to eat swan's meat."
"Oh? I heard Situ Han Yi's fiancée is an ugly thing."
"My prince, apparently not. These people said that she is beautiful, like a fairy. She is even more beautiful than her mother who used to be the number one's beauty. She seems to have strong martial arts power as well."
The eyes of the man in red twinkles. "Interesting. That Situ Han Yi has name but not abilities. That person lives under his eyes for three years and he didn't have a single clue. He even pushed out this big chunk of meat with his own hands. Seems like Feng Yun Manor is going to have it's end because of him."
He spits out the leaf in his mouth and put down his two legs. He pats the coachman's shoulder, "Let's go, let's appreciate the beauty."
The coachman looks at the shoulder that has just been touched by the master. A flattered expression floats in his face, he quickly directs the horses in a more earnest manner
The edge of Feng Yue's lips is raised, forming a smirk. The prince is always interested in beauties, especially the innocent ones.
Feng Yue looks in front. There is a carriage with Yun Clan's emblem passing through the mountain path. Feng Yue squints his eyes, how lofty.
"My prince, Yun Valley's carriage is here."
The man in red quickly looks up, his eyes full of spirits. At the same time, everyone else who waited half a day also stirs, excitedly gathering.
Killing Fowls to Warn the Monkeys
Uncle Chai steers the horses without looking around, as though he didn't see the bunch of tigers eyeing them. A group of men and women who follows the carriage from behind also display similar indifference.
Seeing the road in front being blocked by the crowd, Uncle Chai frowns. "Master of the Valley, the road is blocked."
Actually, what he is truly asking is whether or not he should act on them. And if so, how heavy-handed should he be?
The crowd quickly trains their eyes on the inside of the carriage after Uncle Chai said that. Remembering that goddess-like face, they cannot help but gaze at the carriage in anticipation.
"Oh, it has only been three years and people already forgets the rules of Yun Valley." A light, lazy voice comes from inside the carriage. The crowd remembers the previous rules of Yun Valley, suddenly feeling a burst of fear. But still, Yun Tian is dead. Everything lies on that fifteen year old girl. No matter how strong she is, she cannot outdo some of the people here who have been training for decades.
The fear that once infested the people's heart quickly disappears.
A lecherous looking man steps forward with a sleazy smile on his face, "Who are you trying to scare? You little maiden want to copy your father's murderous threats? Rather than that, you better show us your pretty face and enthralls us to death." His words quickly attracts the laughter of the crowd.
"Come! Come! Let me see your face!" The man becomes even more encouraged by the crowd's reaction.
Everyone is waiting for the humiliated and angry reaction from the person inside the carriage.
"Chen Xiang, recite the rule of Yun Valley for him to hear." Yun Qian Yu did not give the crowd the reaction they anticipated, instead her voice is very casual and calm.
Chen Xiang stands in front of the carriage, her pair of eyes looking at the crowd in derision. "Yun Valley only has one rule and that is; people who angers the Valley Lord will have a life that is worse than death." Chen Xiang presses on the last part, her eyes looking at the man somewhat in compassion.
Yun Tian was the one who imposed that rule, he was actually a pretty easy going person. If he feels good, everything else is good, but if someone dared to anger him, then even death is a piece of luxury. Yun Qian Yu approves on that rule. She will not mind people who does not harm her, but should someone dares to do anything, she will not be light-handed. After all, she was just a young girl when she had to take charge of their household in her past life.
"Feng Ran, what are you waiting for?" Yun Qian Yu's voice can be heard from inside. Now that a person volunteered to be the fowl that is to be killed to warn the monkeys, she shall take full advantage of this opportunity; as to not waste the other party's good will.
"Coming!" a man's voice casually answers. White mist forms in front of the man who mocks Yun Qian Yu earlier before it quickly disappears.
The crowd is startled. There is another person there? Why couldn't they sense that person's presence?
While they are busy pondering that, the man from earlier on is now screaming in pain. His skin and flesh is rotting in a lightning pace. Looking at that man who smells fishy like blood, they suddenly feels the urge to throw up.
At that time, a young man shrouded in white robe appears in front of the carriage. His facial features are outstanding; he looks exquisite and extraordinary. The smile on his lips are uninhibited.
"Lord of the Valley, did I do well? He will have to suffer the rotting of his flesh for one month before he dies."
The entire crowds are shocked. That voice and the voice who replied to her earlier on is clearly the same! This young man is the one who caused that bloody scene?
"Just from hearing the voices outside I can tell that it isn't a lovely view." Yun Qian Yu's voice remains calm.
"Hehe, I only make it this bad because I know Master will not be looking. This is actually Feng Ran's latest creation, this is the first test. The effects are still a little unsatisfactory, I will implement new changes. Once it's perfect, I will give Yun Valley's guards a bottle each!" Feng Ran flings his sleeves with a face full of dissatisfaction.
"En, you had made a big progress." Yun Qian Yu praises him.
"Thanking Master of the Valley. Feng Ran's Art of Poison is only two or three points over ten when compared to Master."
Everyone cannot stop themselves from sweating upon hearing the two people's conversation, their bodies turning cold. Looking at the man who is rolling on the ground, they can no longer make out his face. And that kind of method is only three out of ten points compared to the master of the valley's skills? They quickly steps back.
The four men on horses that follows the carriage from behind makes their way in front, their voices are uniform as they greet the man named Feng Ran: "Greeting Leader Feng."
The people in the crowd gasps, that young man is actually the leader of Yun Valley's guards? He is so young and yet he is already that capable in the arts of poison. Before he shows up, they cannot even detect his presence; such an incomprehensible martial art ability. Even the desire to watch a drama disappears, the crowd quickly disperses like birds. That little girl looks warm and fragile on the outside, but she is actually even scarier than her father.
Seeing the place that is gradually getting empty, Feng Ran rubs his nose, "Seriously, just that little of a move and they're already running."
He walks towards the man on the ground who by now is like muds, that man is still alive. "Being able to be the subject of test for this poison is the fortune your family accumulated for eight generation."
Feng Ran looks up and stares at the only carriage that hasn't leave. He lock eyes with the man in red before he laughs, "So, even the first son of Duke Rong is interested to test Feng Ran's poison?"
There is not a single strand of fear in the eyes of the other party. Seems like the rumors about him being dandy and only cares about beauties are true.
"This prince is only here to see a beauty, I am not interested in your poison." Hua Man Xi jumps down from his carriage and makes his way to the other carriage.
Feng Ran blocks him with his body.
"The beauty of Yun Valley that is like clouds, this prince might as well visit Yun Valley out of courtesy. It ought to be a worthwhile trip."
Feng Ran refuses to budge. Hua Man Xi looks at Feng Ran who is right in front of him, and then towards the carriage behind him that is silent. "This prince will definitely gives you a visit if an opportunity arises."
""There is no time like the present day, might as well have a go at it!" Feng Ran's eyes are cold, he dares to mess with his mistress? Did he view him, this Yun Valley's guard as decoration?
Hua Man Xi looks at Feng Ran fearlessly.
"Feng Ran, step back. Duke Rong's prince is here to escort the emperor back to the palace." Yun Qian Yu can sense the anger radiating from Feng Ran. He is really furious.
Hua Man Xi's pair of phoenix eyes hardens. His father has forbade him from leaving the capital for three years now. The order to leave the capital to escort the emperor this time is done in secrecy, how did she find out?
"My prince, His Majesty and Yu Jian has packed. They are only waiting for you now, you should not delay anything any further."
The way Yun Qian Yu puts her words not only means that she is well-acquainted with the emperor, it also showcases her good relationship with the imperial grandson Murong Yu Jian; they are so close she can address him by his name. As far as he knows, only one person other than the emperor can call Murong Yu Jian by his name like that; the exceptionally handsome and crafty-smiled Xian Wang, Gong Sang Mo.
"Feng Ran, let's go. I am hungry." A little bit of grievance can be heard from Yun Qian Yu's lazy and unbothered voice.
When Feng Ran heard that, the murderous look in his face disappears and is replaced by a smile. "Hong Su has long prepared snacks, it is only waiting to be eaten by mistress." Feng Ran turns around and face the four white-robed guards behind him, "What you standing there for?"
Uncle Chai who has been quiet, gently whips the horses and leads the carriage away.
Hua Man Xi stares at the carriage while rubbing his chin. "Such a pity I didn't get to see the beauty? I heard she has an appearance that can ruin cities and overturn kingdoms."
Black lines appears on Feng Yue who is right behind him. My prince, you really have the guts to provoke just about anyone! That person just now was the Master of Yun Valley ah!
Before Man Hua Xi even gets to board his carriage, a ridiculing voice speaks up, "You are still alive after provoking her. You are so lucky."
Returning to Yun Valley
Upon hearing that familiar voice, Hua Man Xi quickly turns his head towards the source of that voice. "You wretched fox, will it kill you if you don't mock me upon seeing me?" Black lines appear on Hua Man Xi's face as he grits his teeth.
"No, it won't kill me, but it won't make my mood good either." Gong Sang Mo's ethereal face appears from the other side of his carriage's curtain. The bored nature of his tone makes Hua Man Xi even more upset.
"You came at the right time, my hand is coincidentally itchy. There was that Feng Ran just now, but that little fox inside the carriage saw right through me. Now that Xian Wang is here, this prince will have to trouble Xian Wang to practice with me." Hua Man Xi rolls his sleeves as he grits his teeth.
'Pa' The carriage's curtain is put down. "The emperor has been waiting for a long time, are you going to keep His Majesty waiting?"
Hearing that, Hua Man Xi is immediately discouraged. Seems like he will not be able to vent today. Suddenly remembering something, Hua Man Xi suddenly gloats, "Gong Sang Mo, are you returning to the capital? Your butt must be trembling in fear!"
Remembering that old man in Xian Wang's manor who loves taking care of Gong Sang Mo's behind in the past, Hua Man Xi suddenly feels pleased.
"It has been hard for you, you keep worrying about it (TN: His behind.)." Gong Sang Mo's warm voice is full of smiles.
Under Hua Man Xi's gaze, Gong Sang Mo's carriage slowly travels away. By the time Hua Man Xi finally understands what he means, the carriage is no longer in sight.
"Woah ****, who keeps thinking about your……" the word 'behind' is pressed back down by Hua Man Xi.
"Let's go! Head to the imperial villa!" Hua Man Xi angrily jumps onto his carriage. "Nothing good will come out of meeting this smiling fox! I'll pay everything back to him once we're back in the capital."
Feng Yue who is behind him silently gazes at the sky. My prince, you already know that Xian Wang is a smiling fox, must you go and provoke him each time? He really sells you short. Such a strong mentality despite all the setbacks.
The entire wulin is swallowed by a storm today; one that involved Feng Yun Manor and Yun Valley. Predictions about whether or not Feng Yun Manor will fall runs rampant. There are also talks about how Yun Valley has never fallen and is in fact taken care of really well by a little girl. People are even more cautious about them now than when Yun Tian is still alive. The person who was used to warn the rest about Yun Valley is the proof of Yun Valley's heavy-handed action.
(TN: Wulin means martial arts circle.)
The words 'Yun Qian Yu' echoes in the entire wulin even though majority of them haven't even seen her face.
At this very moment in Yun Valley, Yun Qian Yu is eating a large variety of snacks prepared by Hong Su. She is so pleased she closes her eyes. That cold face that rarely displays any other expression looks really pleased at the moment.
Chen Xiang, seeing Yun Qian Yu finally putting down her chopsticks quickly steps forward and report her something, "Mistress, the elders of the valley are here. They have been waiting for a long time."
Yun Qian Yu opens her eyes, "Why didn't you tell me earlier?"
Chen Xiang laughs, "The elders forbade us from interrupting Mistress when they heard you were eating. They said they don't mind waiting for a while."
Everyone within the valley knows the Master loves Hong Su's culinary skills. Everytime she returns to the valley, she will happily feasts on them. By then, everything that happens within the valley is no longer important; allowing the Master to eat her fullest is the most important thing.
Yun Qian Yu gets up and washes her hands before heading to Yun Pavillion.
Yu Nuo and Ying Yu carries trays full of Yun Valley's grapes and follows her from behind.
In the hall of Yun Pavillion, seven lively and enthusiastic old men quickly gets up after Yun Qian Yu enters. They bows and greets her, "Greeting the Master of the Valley!"
"Respected elders, didn't Qian Yu told you to forgo formality? All of you are the elders who had watched my father since he was a child. It is with your blessing that Qian Yu manage to live in peace."
"That was Master's pitiful affection. We must not forget the formality." All seven of them are very stubborn. If Qian Yu's grandfather hadn't saved them and brought them back to Yun Valley to teach martial arts and medicines before giving them such respectable positions, they don't know if they will even be alive by now.
Yun Qian Yu is helpless upon hearing them, she sits on her seat. Only then did the rest of the elders sit on their respective seats.
The oldest elder goes straight to the point and asks, "Master, why did you promise to wade through the imperial family's muddy water?"
The second elder is also curious and asks, "If Master could not bear to leave Murong Yu Jian, we could just assign a couple of guards to guard him in the dark."
The other five elders look at Yun Qian Yu, waiting for her explanation. In their eyes, Yun Qian Yu isn't just a fifteen year old girl, the way her mind works may even exceeds them old folks. So, there must be a reason behind her action.
Yun Qian Yu eats the grape that has been peeled off by Yu Nuo; her large phoenix eyes blinks while her long eyelashes flutters. "All elders know what kind of person Rui Qinwang is. The emperor only has half a year left, will the eight year old Murong Yu Jian be able to fight Rui Qinwang who has a lot of descendants and wields a lot of power?"
The third elder quickly speaks up, "That is the matter of the imperial family, it has nothing to do with us Yun Valley."
Yun Qian Yu looks at the third elder, "If Rui Qinwang becomes the emperor, what will happen to the world?"
The third elder frowns, "With Rui Qinwang's ambitious heart, he will not be satisfied with just this. He will definitely try to touch the other three kingdoms."
"Will the other three kingdoms be easily vanquished?"
"Of course not." The third elder answers without thinking. Only an idiot will agree to that.
"Then if all four kingdoms are embroiled in a war, what do we need the most? Wealth and medicinal arts; which are coincidentally what Yun Valley is best known for. Will we be left alone by then?"
All seven falls into a deep silence, they did not think that deep. Their Yun Valley has never interfered with any outside affairs, but just because they won't doesn't mean that others will let go of this big piece of meat.
Yun Qian Yu adds, "Besides, Rui Qinwang's hands have already reaches Feng Yun Manor."
The elders finally understands, "Master created a big fanfare today, sacrificing fowls to intimidate monkeys. Was that to deter people away?"
Yun Qian Yu nods, "Now that my engagement with Situ Han Yi has been broken, Yun Valley can no longer continue to remain latent, I do not wish for stray cats or dogs to come into Yun Valley for their own personal benefits. Yun Valley isn't idle enough to accommodate them."
The first elder nods his head, "Since it is like that, we no longer have any doubts. If Master encounters any problems from now on, do not hesitate to come to us."
The second elder adds, "But Master must bring Feng Ran and the rest of the guards to protect you. What happened to your parents must not happen again. You are Yun Valley's only bloodline."
The rest of the elders nods in agreement. After all, the palace is the center of power. They cannot bear to have anything befalls Yun Qian Yu.
Yun Qian Yu nods; she knows what happened to her parents back then were a blow to these elders. If she wasn't born, these elders perhaps would have followed her parents' footsteps. By then, Yun Valley would have truly vanished.
"I still need to trouble all elders with a few matters." Yun Qian Yu thinks of the purpose behind her return this time.
The eyes of several elders quickly lights up. They, this bunch of old men, still have use to Yun Valley.
Yun Qian Yu watches their expression; her heart promptly warming up.
"Didn't Yun Ze accepted a lot of abandoned children these past years? I need twenty children at around ten years old who practices martial arts; even better, if they knows the art of medicine. After this, those twenty children will no longer have anything to do with Yun Valley."
The eldest elder says, "Master need not worry. All these children were raised in the valley outside Yun Valley. There are a lot of them who are around ten years old, and all of them have never entered the valley."
Yun Qian Yu nods in agreement, "Now that Yun Valley is back, a lot of people will come to seek medicinal help. Open up the station outside Yun Valley. Let the children take care of the outside things, I want to see their capabilities. They are to treat people according to the way Father did."
Yun Qian Yu gets up and walks outside, "I shall go and meet Father and Mother first."
Translator’s Note: Chapter 7, 8 and 9 are sponsored by Karen!