Yun Qian Yu reacts really fast and catches him before he hits the ground.
His face looks grey and ashen, and his skin is eerily cold.
Panic rises in Yun Qian Yu's heart.
Deep inside, she knows that now that his problems have been solved, Murong Cang no longer needs to force himself to be strong, so now, his body is giving in to his illness.
Inside Murong Cang's palace, Yu Jian kneels in front of his bed, tightly grasping his grey hand.
The snow fox is howling next to Murong Cang's head, as though willing him to wake up. It is a heart-tugging sight.
Yun Qian Yu is standing before his bed, between Gong Sang Mo and Hua Man Xi.
The expressions on their faces are solemn. The air is so oppressive that the servants does not even dare to breathe loudly.
Li Jin Tian is keeping guard not far from the bed. He looks at Murong Cang while occasionally wiping his tears.
"Will there be any after-effect, imperial sister?" Yu Jian asks.
"If it goes well, he can live a little longer, otherwise, he might not even wake up." Yun Qian Yu's eyes are filled with grief. Past memories begin filling her head.
They first met in Mount Yun. Murong Cang had looked at her kindly before saying, "Yatou, I have no granddaughter. Why don't you be my granddaughter?"
"Are you very capable, yatou? Why do you look so serious all the time? Loosen up a little, act a little cuter, like other girls your age."
The grief inside her heart intensifies as she looks at the motionless Murong Cang on the bed.
"If we don't try to neutralize the poison, will grandfather still wake up?" Yu Jian asks again.
"Not likely," Yun Qian Yu replies him in honesty.
"Then, let's give it a try! Let's neutralize the poison! Grandfather is so strong, he will be able to endure it!" Yu Jian decides firmly.
"Alright," Yun Qian Yu takes a deep breath. One must know that whilst she was not very skilled in the past, her Zi Yu Xin Jing has pretty much doubled after she mastered the art from the previous dynasty. Murong Cang will not live long even after the poison is neutralized, but at least he will get to leave with parting words.
"After neutralizing grandfather's poison, imperial sister will need to take care of him for the next two days. You will have to handle the examination and the court on your own. Do you think you will be alright?" Yun Qian Yu looks at Yu Jian in worry.
"I will be alright. Do not worry about me, imperial sister. I have Brother Sang Mo and Brother Man Xi with me for the examination. As for the memorials, I will ask Scholar Lu to help me."
"Alright," Yun Qian Yu smiles. Yu Jian seems to be getting better at handling things.
"After the examination, you will need to pick your companions. Imperial sister will not force you to pick anyone," Yun Qian Yu adds. After the Rui Qinwang debacle as well as the examination, he ought to be better at reading people.
"I understand, imperial sister," the initial excitement that Yu Jian felt for those companions is no longer there. He simply frowns.
Yun Qian Yu understands his concern. Some of the people that she and Murong Cang picked are solely to show Yu Jian that there are all kinds of people out there. They want to teach him how to read people. Those kids are still young, they are not good at putting on a display. Sooner or later, Yu Jian will be able to see what kind of people they really are. They are trying to prepare Yu Jian to deal with those old foxes in the court.
"Alright, you should go and rest. Leave grandfather to me."
"No! I want to be here with imperial grandfather and imperial sister!" Yu Jian retorts back.
"The poison inside grandfather's body has already penetrated his bones. It will take one night for me to neutralize the poison. Are you sure you can be here all night and then go to the morning court, to the imperial examination and then to read memorials tomorrow?"
Yu Jian blinks, defeated. He looks at Murong Cang for a while before slowly turning around to leave.
Gong Sang Mo and Hua Man Xi both insist on staying with Yun Qian Yu, lest she encounter anything while neutralizing the poison.
In the end, Yun Qian Yu agrees to letting Gong Sang Mo keep watch of her. Hua Man Xi, on the other hand, has to leave. Both of them will need to oversee the examination tomorrow. If both of them are here, both will be tired.
Hua Man Xi understands her concern and relents. He returns to Duke Rong's manor to rest, but not before telling Gong Sang Mo that he can arrive late tomorrow. He can prepare all the necessary things all by himself, as long as Gong Sang Mo attends the very competition.
After Yu Jian and Hua Man Xi left, she orders the servants to rest as well, including Li Jin Tian. She told him that she might need to rest tomorrow and she might need him to take care of Murong Cang on her behalf. After hearing that, he quickly listens to her and retreats away.
Feng Ran orders the Yun Guards to surround the palace; not a single fly is to be let in.
Only Yun Qian Yu and Gong Sang Mo remain inside the chamber.
Gong Sang Mo looks at Murong Cang, "How long do you need?"
"Two hours should be enough," Yun Qian Yu says.
"Are you sure?" Gong Sang Mo looks at her, stunned. Didn't she say she will need the entire night?
"I only said that so that he would go to rest," Yun Qian Yu's eyes light up when she says that.
"You are really….." When Gong Sang Mo remembers her solemn face earlier on, he pinches her cheeks while laughing.
Yun Qian Yu slaps his hand away, "It might only take two hours, but I will probably exhaust my inner power. I will need to take a long rest."
"Alright, I will look after Yu Er. Yu Er can rest with a light heart!" Gong Sang Mo says, full of affection.
"Feng Ran can do the looking after. We can both rest. You will be really busy tomorrow," Yun Qian Yu does not think there is anything wrong with her words, but Gong Sang Mo's reaction proves the opposite. The corners of his lips are raised high.
Yun Qian Yu sits cross-legged in a meditating position, the thumb and the forefinger of her left hand are connected together while her right hand is left opened in a palm-up position. Purple light and a streak of gold flows out of her palm.
When Gong Sang Mo sees the golden light, his eyes turn soft. Back then, when they were trapped in Tian En Temple, Yun Qian Yu had used her inner power to help him cultivate that magical art. However, she had exerted too much force and the golden light left in her was very dim afterwards.
Although it can be cultivated again, it will take a long time, much longer than the first time.
Right now, the color of her golden light has improved. It puts his heart at ease.
Yun Qian Yu is not aware of what he is thinking of. Her entire mind is put to neutralizing the poison inside Murong Cang's body and transferring it to her own body. After mastering the magical art of the previous dynasty, she finds it easier to neutralize the poison inside Murong Cang's body. She no longer takes a lot of time, like she used to in the past. This method is faster than neutralizing the poison and storing them inside a bottle.
After two hours passed, Yun Qian Yu remains relaxed and light-natured. Gong Sang Mo finally sighs in relief. He gets up and walks out, telling Feng Ran to tell Hong Su to prepare supper.
Feng Ran no longer views Gong Sang Mo the way he used to. After he saw Gong Sang Mo willing to abandon his own life for Yun Qian Yu, his attitude towards him mellowed down a lot.
He should be happy that the little girl who used to feed him grapes is now being protected by this kind of man. It is enough for him to protect her from the sideline.
Gong Sang Mo re-enters the chamber and puts a chair right in front of the bed, facing Yun Qian Yu. Then, he starts staring at her.
Her eyes are closed, hiding that pair of brilliant eyes. Her face is calm as usual. Her fair hands look even fairer when enveloped by her Zi Yu Xin Jing's purple air. The look on her face when she is concentrating is very attractive.
Gong Sang Mo continues staring at Yun Qian Yu in that manner, his extremely handsome face very soft and gentle. It is as though he is looking at a precious treasure.
The night becomes darker. Feng Ran continues standing outside the chamber. His hair flies as the gentle autumn breeze blew by, rustling the sleeves of his white robe.
All of sudden, a silver figure standing in a dark corner catches his eyes. The man is wearing a set of silver robe that is paired with silver headgear. He is none other than Ding Hai Wang, Ji Shu Liu.
Feng Ran disappears from where he stood, and appears right in front of Ji Shu Liu, blocking his way.
Ji Shu Liu laughs light-heartedly, "Although your martial arts is not bad, you are not my opponent. I can beat you within 100 blows."
Feng Ran is not offended because he knows that Ji Shu Liu is telling the truth, "There are more Yun Guards in here, not just me. Don't tell me you think I am the only Yun Guard around?"
Feng Ran smiles and with a wave of his hand, 20 more guards appear behind him. All of them are wearing white robes, like him. All of them look extraordinary and strong. They are each carrying a bag that has been strung around their waist. Nobody knows what the exact content is, but what they do know is that it contains different types of poisons that Feng Ran especially assigned for them.
Ji Shu Liu rubs his nose as the Yun Guards train their eyes on him.
"Not really. No need to go this far, really. This king has not seen the princess for a long time. When this king went to her palace earlier, she was not there. On the way here, this king heard that her maid is preparing supper to be sent to the Retired Emperor's palace. This king is here to see if something has happened to the Retired Emperor." What he left out in his sentences is that, he is here to see if the Retired Emperor has died.
"The Retired Emperor's health is not good. Her Highness the Princess has no time to entertain you. Please leave, Ding Hai Wang."
Ji Shu Liu's eyes look past Feng Ran and are trained on the door of the chamber. He is very sure that Gong Sang Mo is also inside.
Not far from there, Hong Su and Chen Xiang are carrying the newly prepared supper over.
They are looking very calm, as though they are not surprised to see Feng Ran and the rest of the guards cornering Ding Hai Wang.
When they walk past Ji Shu Liu, they curtsy in front of him, "Greeting Ding Hai Wang!"
Ji Shu Liu continues standing with his back straight. There are layers of laughter in his bright eyes as he looks at the guards, "See, they are a lot cuter than you lot. This king will be leaving then." After saying that, he turns around and leaves.
With a wave of Feng Ran's hand, the Yun Guards returns to their concealed positions.
Hong Su looks at Feng Ran, "Supper is ready. Do I send it in or….."
Before she even finish speaking, Gong Sang Mo's voice booms in from inside the chamber, "Send it in."
Gong Sang Mo knows that Ji Shu Liu came. He did not come out because if Feng Ran is not able to deal with him, he is not worthy of being the Head of the Yun Guards. If that happens, he will find more capable guards for Yun Qian Yu.
When Hong Su and Chen Xiang hear that, they carry the supper into the chamber.
"Put them here," Gong Sang Mo points at a table.
Both of them put the dishes on the table without taking them out of their insulation boxes. Then, they quietly stand on one side.
"Both of you can go to rest. Come back here early in the morning," Gong Sang Mo's eyes does not leave Yun Qian Yu from the beginning till the end.
Chen Xiang and Hong Su looks at Yun Qian Yu before adhering to Gong Sang Mo's instructions.
Less than an incense stick time after the two left, Yun Qian Yu stops the flow of her Zi Yu Xin Jing.
Gong Sang Mo quickly gets up and looks at her.
"It is done," Yun Qian Yu nods. Murong Cang's face has returned to it's original colour. "Grandfather's body is too weak. He will live his remaining days with this weak body. He will need help even when walking."
Gog Sang Mo frowns, "This is already the best outcome. He won't have to live the rest of his days being tormented by the poison. A weak body is better than anything we can hope for."
Yun Qian Yu agrees with him. She hands him a small bottle, "This bottle contains Restoration Pills. Help me feed grandfather. Just one pill is enough, anything more than that will be more than what his body can take."
Gong Sang Mo takes out one pill before lifting Murong Cang's head and feeding him the pill. Then, he massages Murong Cang's throat to make him swallow that pill. Then, he lets him lie back down on the bed.
Yun Qian Yu gets up and tries to get off the bed. He rushes to help her.
"I am fine. I just feel a little tired," she smiles at him.
He wraps his arm around her waist and let her rest her head on his chest, "I asked Hong Su to make you supper. Eat a little before going to bed."
Gong Sang Mo drags her to the table and makes her sit.
He opens the insulation boxes' lids' one by one and the delicious aroma of food immediately wafts through the air.
Yun Qian Yu who had to skip dinner becomes very hungry when she smells the food. Hong Su is indeed unmatched when it comes to her cooking skills.
"Sang Mo, you have skipped dinner yourself, didn't you? Let's eat together!"
Hong Su knows that Gong Sang Mo is there, so she especially prepared more dishes than usual.
There are four vegetable dishes and two noodle dishes. The noodles look soft and chewy, very appetizing. There is also a bowl of ribs soup.
Gong Sang Mo scoops a bowl of soup for her, "Drink a little soup first."
Yun Qian Yu takes a spoonful of the broth and drinks it, closing her eyes in bliss with how tasty it is. Then, she takes another spoonful and offers it to Gong Sang Mo, "Hong Su's soup is really delicious. Try it."
Gong Sang Mo, who has been scooping himself some soup, immediately drinks the soup that Yun Qian Yu offers him, shamelessly sharing the spoon that she has just used.
"Not bad. It is indeed delicious!"
Yun Qian Yu looks proud, as though she was the one who made the soup.
Both of them then eats under that 'I feed you, you feed me' atmosphere.
Inside the chamber, other than the bed that Murong Cang used, there is another long couch that can be used to rest. Yun Qian Yu lies on the long couch before beckoning Gong Sang Mo over, "Come, let's sleep together."
When he sees the unparalleled beauty on the long couch, Gong Sang Mo's eyes light up. He smiles, though a small part of his heart aches with how torturous Yun Qian Yu is being.
He naturally does not reject her offer. He takes off his outer robe and takes out a blanket from the cupboard before lying next to Yun Qian Yu. He puts her head on his chest before covering them both with the blanket.
Yun Qian Yu buries her face on Gong Sang Mo's chest. Ever since the Wolong Ridge incident, she finds out that she can sleep the best when next to Gong Sang Mo.
Since she used up a lot of inner power, she falls asleep very quickly.
That is not the case for Gong Sang Mo. He lies there in torment for a long time, watching the pretty face next to him, before falling asleep at last.
When the sky starts to light up, Murong Cang wakes up.
He looks at the familiar surrounding and realizes that he is in his own bedroom. When he sees Gong Sang Mo and Yun Qian Yu who are sleeping together on the long couch, his eyes becomes warm. The girl saved his life again.
He can feel somethingfurry sleeping next to him and his heart quickly warms up. He does not dare to move lest he ends up waking Yun Qian Yu and Gong Sang Mo.
Gong Sang Mo's eyes move a little before he gets up. He wraps the blanket around Yun Qian Yu properly before walking towards Murong Cang.
"How are you feeling?" Gong Sang Mo asks while gently checking Murong Cang's pulse.
"Fine, just I am feeling very tired," Murong Cang's voice is very small.
"The poisn inside your body is gone, but your body will be really weak in the future," Gong Sang Mo lets go of his hand.
"That is the best outcome I can get," Murong Cang is not sad at all after knowing that his body will be weak.
Gong Sang Mo is very relieved when he sees how easy Murong Cang accepted his condition.
"How much longer do I have?" Murong Cang asks.
Gong Sang Mo is quiet for a moment, "Until summer next year, at most."
"I cheated death," Murong Cang grimaces.
He looks at the sleeping Yun Qian Yu, "Yatou must be really tired."
"She is fine, just a little tired. She will be fine after a little rest," Gong Sang Mo follows Murong Cang's line of sight and looks at Yun Qian Yu, his eyes softening along the way.
"Sang Mo-ah, take good care of the yatou. She is worthy of your love and care," Murong Cang emotionally says.
"I know!" Gong Sang Mo's handsome face appears really warm. He already knew that when he first saw her 3 years ago. That was why he tried so hard and schemed so much to get her by his side.
"Your eyes are really sharp, you brat. How old was the girl, three years ago? Even then, you didn't spare her!"
"Haha!" Gong Sang Mo chuckles happily. What Murong Cang does not know is that Gong Sang Mo first met Yun Qian Yu when her face was full of scars and wounds, and even then, he had liked her. She managed to attract his attention when she had calmly thanked him despite having her face ruined.
When Yun Qian Yu wakes up, she sees them chatting happily about what happened 3 years ago.
She gets off from the long couch and walks towards Murong Cang, "You have woken up, grandfather!"
"En. It was hard on you, yatou."
"I am unable to give you a healthy body, grandfather," Yun Qian Yu feels very helpless when she says that. After all, she is not a goddess.
"This is already more than enough for grandpa," Murong Cang says sincerely. After all, he originally could not live past this year, but now, he is given the chance to live until next year.
Chen Xiang and Hong Su have come long ago, preparing breakfast in the kitchen.
When Yu Jian arrives, Hong Su has just finished cooking.