The usually mellow phoenix eyes are so cold that it penetrates Long Jin's bones. He disappears from where he stands and suddenly appears right in front of Long Jin, his hand wrapped around Long Jin's neck.
Long Jin is stunned by Gong Sang Mo's strength.
"Since Yu Er allowed you to leave, this king will follow her wish. But, this king wish to give you a lesson on whose room you cannot simply enter and what kind of person you must not offend."
Gong Sang Mo's voice is really pleasant to the ears, like beads of pearls, but upon closer inspection, it contains traces of malice.
The moment he finishes speaking, Long Jin gives out a groan. He clutches his chest as he leaves the relay station.
It must be said: Long Jin and Long Xiang Luo, this pair of siblings, are really unlucky today. One is dead while one is injured.
Gong Sang Mo takes out a brocade handkerchief and cleans his hand thoroughly. Then, he turns the handkerchief to dusts, letting it fly with the wind.
He looks at Yun Qian Yu's room that is still brightly lit. He sighs. A girl that is too smart is not cute at all. But who told him to like this smart girl, to begin with?
He pushes open the door and walks inside. The murderous expression from earlier on has long disappeared. Instead, he looks gentle and amiable like still water. "Yu Er!"
Ever since Yun Qian Yu engraved the character 'Yu' on Gong Sang Mo's pendant, his way of addressing her changed. It changed to Yu Er. This can be considered as a petname that belongs exclusively to him, no one else addresses her as such.
He looks at her, deep in love.
He knew Long Jin was here from the very beginning. He wanted to attack him, but Yun Qian Yu seemed to have something to say to him, so he simply held back. He will unconditionally support everything that Yun Qian Yu want to do.
He heard everything that were said between the two people. His heart moved when he heard Yun Qian Yu saying that they were each other's counterparts, rather than each other's weakneses. His heart had almost jumped out of his chest. How many people desired this kind of tacit understanding, this kind of mutual love, yet very few managed to obtain them.
He feels like the decision that he made 3 years ago, one that was done after just one glance, was really right.
Everything is worth it.
"What happened to Long Xiang Luo?" Yun Qian Yu looks at Gong Sang Mo.
"Dead," Gong Sang Mo replies simply.
Although Yun Qian Yu could almost guess it, she is still surprised when she hears that from him.
She falls in deep silence. She slept too soundly last night. She didn't know that Gong Sang Mo had left and had done such a big matter.
"I already asked people to impersonate her, there will not be any trouble!" Gong Sang Mo explains.
"Must you do it yourself? I could have asked people to do it for you!" Yun Qian Yu is worried about Mount San Xian's rules. After all, Long Xiang Luo was Gong Sang Mo's 3rd Senior Brother's disciple.
"Don't worry, 3rd Senior Brother will not blame me. When the time comes, I will personally admit fault in front of shifu," Gong Sang Mo casually says.
Yun Qian Yu is still worried, "Your shifu…."
Gong Sang Mo cuts her off, "My shifu treasures me very much. He will not bear to punish me too heavily."
Yun Qian Yu is not reassured by his words. That means that he will still be punished. Will Mount San Xian's punishment be light?
"Sleep, we will be busy tomorrow," Gong Sang Mo smoothly changes the topic, knowing she will not stop worrying about him.
She looks at him. After a while, she says, "Alright."
By the time Long Jin returns to the inn that he is staying at, one of his subordinate gives him a report, "Your Highness, Princess Long has returned to the posthouse."
"She has returned?" he asks suspiciously while clutching his chest.
"You are hurt, Your Highness?" his helper finally notices that something is wrong.
"It is no big deal!" Long Jin waves him off. He stares at the floor. After a while, he says, "Send a message to Rui Qinwang, this prince agrees to his proposition. The only condition is, this prince wants Gong Sang Mo's life."
The helper hesitates a little, "Are you sure that is possible, Your Highness?"
Long Jin laughs a little, "Even if this prince cannot take his life, there is always someone out there who can. If Nan Lou Kingdom changes owner, the little emperor will die. Everyone around him will die as well, including her. Do you think Gong Sang Mo will want to continue living after she dies? Will he still has the mood to deal with this prince?"
His helpers whisper to each other, this seems to be quite a drastic yet useful measure.
Long Jin leans on his chair. Yun Qian Yu was right in something: he is someone who schemes in the dark. But what is wrong with that? Once he stands at the very peak, will anyone question how he gets there?
His heart writhes a little and he ends up spitting blood.
His helpers panic upon seeing that scene and quickly order someone to summon the physician.
Long Jin shakes his head, "No need. It is internal injury. I only need to recuperate."
He secretly curses Gong Sang Mo in his heart; how heavy-handed.
"Order our people in the posthouse to enter the palace tomorrow to bid the emperor farewell. We will return to our kingdom. We will merge with the envoys along the way. This prince needs to return this time. Send people to look after Xiang Luo. Stop her from creating more trouble."
After leaving those instructions, Long Jin sends his people away, leaving him alone in his room. He sits cross-legged on the long couch, trying to heal his internal injury.
Early the next day, the people at the relay station prepares Yun Qian Yu and the rest a hearty meal. After breakfast, they continue their journey.
By noon, they reach the city in which Wolong Ridge is located at, Wolong City. The people there have received the news long ago. The Magistrate of Wolong County has been waiting for them in the entrance of the city for hours.
"Wolong County's Magistrate, Guo Shu Huai greets Princess Hu Guo, Xian Wang and Duke Rong's shizi."
"Please get up," Yun Qian Yu says.
They follow the Magistrate to the government office of Wolong County.
"When did you know that Jiu Xiao Kingdom's 7th wang has been kidnapped by the bandits of Wolong Ridge?" Yun Qian Yu asks the moment she sits down.
"His guard went to this official for help, but this official was helpless, so this official told him to directly ask for help in the capital."
"Why did you tell him to go ask for help in Hu Wei Camp instead of the city?"
"This official thought that he would most probably be dead before he could reach the city," Guo Shu Huai directly says.
Light flashes in Yun Qian Yu's eyes; there is a hidden meaning in his words.
"What is the situation right now?"
"This official has sent people to guard the entrance of Wolong Ridge. Nobody has entered or leave," Guo Shu Huai quickly says.
"You mean you haven't gotten anything?" Yun Qian Yu frowns.
"How long have you been holding this post, Magistrate Guo?" Yun Qian Yu changes the topic.
"How long have the Wolong Bandits been at large?"
"8 years long."
"Why aren't they eradicated yet?"
"First of all, the terrains of Wolong Ridge pose us trouble. There are chasms on three sides. The only way there is through a passage called Xian Tian. As the name suggests, it is very narrow. Only one person can go through it at one time. On it's two sides are very narrow cliffs around 100 metre high. To pass through that narrow strip is harder than to climb a cliff."
(TN: Xian = Line; Tian = Heaven)
Yun Qian Yu looks at Gong Sang Mo whose eyes are flashing brilliantly.
Guo Shu Huai continues speaking, "Second of all, the Head of Wolong Ridge's bandits is someone with really strong martial art. He is a very mysterious figure, no one has directly seen him. His men are also well-practiced in martial arts. The men in our government office are nothing compared to them."
"Why didn't you send a memorial to the court to send people to deal with the bandits?"
"This official sent at least 3 memorials each year for three years, but none of them reach the emperor. Perhaps, they didn't even reach the capital. One must know that this is practically impossible unless they have a backing in the capital."
Yun Qian Yu gives Hua Man Xi a pendant, "Go and investigate everything. No one must be spared."
Hua Man Xi takes the pendant, "What about the bandits?"
"Sang Mo and I will handle it. We need to finish this once and for all if we do not want this problem to persist."
Yun Qian Yu then, gives Hua Man Xi the Shang Fang Sword, "If anyone tries to obstruct you, you can kill first and investigate later. It is up to your deliberation."
To be daring enough to block the county magistrate's memorials, they ought to have a strong backing.
Hua Man Xi understands her. He looks at the pendant and the sword in his hands and sighs; the girl sure trusts him. She actually gave him these two important objects.
After Hua Man Xi leaves, Yun Qian Yu and Gong Sang Mo allows Guo Shu Huai to lead them to Wolong Ridge.
Wolong Ridge is 10 miles away from the city. The road gradually becomes more rugged as they travel.
The government officers in charge of guarding the entrance are surprised when they see Guo Shu Huai leading a pair of beautiful man and woman to them. They must be the famed Xian Wang and Princess Hu Guo. They are excited; they never thought they will get to see them who are pretty much a deity-figure in the kingdom.
Yun Qian Yu looks at the narrow pathway in front. It is really a path that leads you straight to the heaven. The path is like a fine line that is drawn on a painting.
Gong Sang Mo asks their troops to guard the entrance while Yun Qian Yu asks Guo Shu Huai to lead the government officers back to the city.
The officers are really weak at the moment. Yun Qian Yu does not want any unneeded casualty that is bound to happen if they are to battle with the bandits.
Guo Shu Huai offers them an officer who knows the terrain.
Yun Qian Yu accepts his offer.
After Guo Shu Huai left, Yun Qian Yu says, "What do you think of Guo Shu Huai?"
"He is brave, smart, gutsy."
"You think so too?"
"It is clear that the Wolong bandits are backed by someone in the capital. That is why his memorials never reached the capital. Bei Tang Ming must have tried to intimidate the bandits using his identity prior to being kidnapped, but the bandits kidnapped him anyway. Why would their master allow them to provoke someone who has such identity? Besides, four days have passed and the bandits have not made any movement. Is that normal? Besides, it is said that Bei Tang Ming was kidnapped while he was traveling and it was done by the bandits of Wolong Ridge. How do we know for sure? The only way is to flatten the bandit's base."
Gong Sang Mo slowly analyses the situation.
Yun Qian Yu nods, "The purpose of the perpetrator is to get rid of the bandits of Wolong Ridge."
"Correct, but who could that be?" Gong Sang Mo asks.
"Guo Shu Huai," Yun Qian Yu confidently says.
"How are you so sure?"
"Woman's intuition?" Gong Sang Mo laughs.
Yun Qian Yu looks at Gong Sang Mo unhappily, "Do you know how accurate a woman's intuition is?"
Gong Sang Mo chokes a little, a tender light can be seen flashing on his star-like eyes. He gives her a devastatingly handsome smile, "Are you angry?"
"Do I look like I am angry?" she gives him an eyeroll.
Gong Sang Mo laughs for a moment before turning to a dark corner, "Yi Ri, go and investigate Guo Shu Huai."
"Yes." In the blink of an eye, Yi Ri disappears from the spot.
"Let's go. I want to see what these Wolong Ridge bandits are up to!" Gong Sang Mo pulls Yun Qian Yu to walk to the side of the cliff.
At this moment, at the bandits' lair, a minion rushes into the master's chamber.
"Master, there is a letter!"
A man who is wearing a black mask reads the letter, his face gradually changing. He jumps up, "Did we kidnapped anyone lately?"
"No. You ordered us not to leave the mountain. The kids are very honest and obedient!"
"This is bad. Someone is targeting Wolong Ridge!" the man says.
The minion jumps up, "What happened, master?"
"Jiu Xiao Kingdom's 7th wang, Bei Tang Ming has been kidnapped, and his people said that it was done by us. Princess Hu Guo, Xian Wang and Hua Man Xi are on the way here, perhaps, they already are!"
The minion grows worried.
"When did this letter come?"
"Why did it took so long?" the master grumbles over not having the time to make a careful deliberation.
"Quick, gather everyone over. And send some people to check if there is anyone at the entrance," The master calmly says.
The moment he says that, another minion rushes in, "Master, there are a lot of soldiers at the entrance of the ridge. They doesn't seem to be regular troops!"
"We are finished. Too late," the master sits on his chair.
After a moment, he leaps up again, "Gather everyone!" He says, rushing outside.
Gong Sang Mo and Yun Qian Yu, on the other hand, are climbing up to the other side of the cliff. Their clothes are fluttering about while their hair dances gracefully, they do not look tired at all. It is as though they are only here to watch the view.
After looking at what is below them, they look at each other in surprise. Then, they both drift downwards.