"Shifu, this disciple promised to introduce you to the girl that this disciple fell in love with. This is her, her name is Yu Er," says Gong Sang Mo.
"En, shifu has heard of her long before even meeting her," says Sheng Xue Tian Zun meaningfully.
"Shifu, Yu Er is smart, kind, beautiful, talented and extraordinary. Her grasp on martial arts is very high and her medical skill is unrivalled. She is truly one of a kind," Gong Sang Mo begins listing Yun Qian Yu's virtues.
The corner of Yun Qian Yu's lips twitches. Even she did not know that she has that many advantages.
Sheng Xue Tian Zun narrows his eyes at Gong Sang Mo, "Might as well adds that she is as beautiful as a celestial figure and can topple cities."
Gong Sang Mo looks at Yun Qian Yu before shamelessly saying, "I don't have to say that part; anyone with eyes can see that."
The corner of Sheng Xue Tian Zun's lips tremble; he is so in love. He turns to Yun Qian Yu, "What do you think about what Sang Mo said, yatou?"
Yun Qian Yu looks at Gong Sang Mo, "Since he likes me, it is natural that he only sees the good parts about me."
Gong Sang Mo laughs.
Sheng Xue Tian Zun gives Yun Qian Yu a probing look, "Then, what do you think about Sang Mo?"
Hearing that, she turns to Gong Sang Mo while smiling, "Just one word: Silly."
"Oh," Sheng Xue Tian Zun's eyes twinkle in appreciation. He plays with his long and white eyebrows as he looks at Gong Sang Mo. "This is the first time a girl has ever called Mo Er 'silly."
Gong Sang Mo understands why Yun Qian Yu calls him that. The smile on his face deepens.
"In what way is Mo Er silly? Come and tell me," asks Sheng Xue Tian Zun in interest.
Yun Qian Yu blinks. Even a 100-year old man loves to gossip?
"He liked me for three years and never said a word. And then, he knew he would die and he still did his best to protect me. He knew it would get him into trouble yet he still killed a junior in order to avenge me. What is he, if not stupid?" replies Yun Qian Yu seriously as she lists the reasons one by one.
Sheng Xue Tian Zun laughs while playing with his beard, "Correct. He would be an idiot if he only did one of those, and he actually did all three."
When Yun Qian Yu raised the topic of Long Xiang Luo, Gong Sang Mo quickly looked at his teacher. However, he is not looking at him. His eyes are trained on Yun Qian Yu.
"Do you think we should punish Mo Er for turning his back against the sect for you?" asks Sheng Xue Tian Zun.
She naturally does not want that to happen. However, she is not a part of this mountain. Will her opinion even count?
"Tian Zun, if I say no, will it be no?" asks Yun Qian Yu instead of replying.
Sheng Xue Tian Zun smiles at her, "Of course not. However, I am interested to hear your opinion about the matter."
"Would you like to hear the truth or a lie?" blinks Yun Qian Yu prettily.
"The truth, of course!" replies Sheng Xue Tian Zun without hesitation.
"But truths are often what one would not like to hear. Are you sure, Tian Zun?" asks Yun Qian Yu hesitantly.
"Of course!" replies Sheng Xue Tian Zun patiently.
"If you did not like what I am about to say, I hope you will not kick me out of the mountain, Tian Zun," says Yun Qian Yu uneasily.
"I will not. I have lived for over a century, I will not be petty towards a little girl like you," replies Sheng Xue Tian Zun calmly.
"Then, I will tell the truth," says Yun Qian Yu.
Sheng Xue Tian Zun nods.
"I naturally think that it is inappropriate to punish Sang Mo," says Yun Qian Yu.
It is something that Sheng Xue Tian Zun expected to hear.
"Whyever so? Didn't Mo Er broke the rule?" asks Sheng Xue Tian Zun.
"Wouldn't this be a losing transaction if you punish him?" Yun Qian Yu rolls her eyes.
"In what way?" Sheng Xue Tian Zun finds Yun Qian Yu really interesting.
"Punishing an excellent disciple over a morally questionable one, wouldn't you be the one suffering a loss, Tian Zun?" questions Yun Qian Yu earnestly.
Sheng Xue Tian Zun is momentarily taken aback before bursting out in laughter.
"I will indeed suffer a loss, but sometimes, it still has to be done."
Yun Qian Yu's heart sinks. That means that Gong Sang Mo truly cannot escape this punishment.
"Then, can I ask one thing of you?" asks Yun Qian Yu.
"It is impossible to beg for mercy for Sang Mo," says Sheng Xue Tian Zun without giving her the chance to speak.
"I am not going to ask for mercy for Sang Mo," says Yun Qian Yu earnestly.
The smile on Sheng Xue Tian Zun's face fades: Sang Mo is about to be punished for what he did for her, and she is actually in the mood to ask for something else?
"What is it?" Sheng Xue Tian Zun's voice is no longer as amiable.
"Can I bear the punishment along with Sang Mo?" Yun Qian Yu naturally notices the change in his demeanor.
Sheng Xue Tian Zun is taken aback when he hears that. Turns out that he has misunderstood her. But still, it is too early to make a conclusion about her real personality.
"What if the punishment is Nine Deaths for One Life? Are you still willing to take it with him?" Sheng Xue Tian Zun carefully eyes Yun Qian Yu's expression.
"Yes," replies Yun Qian Yu without hesitation.
When Sheng Xue Tian Zun sees the earnest look on Yun Qian Yu's face, his heart unwittingly moves. Mo Er have good eyesight.
Gong Sang Mo's heartbeat picks up it's rate when he hears that. He pulls Yun Qian Yu up, regardless of whether or not his shifu still wants to speak, "Shifu, we have been on the road for half a month and have only arrived tonight. Yu Er need to rest properly. I will bring her to you again tomorrow to chat. As for the punishment, it is not a big deal. It's not like shifu will heavily punish this disciple. Let's not scare Yu Er." Gong Sang Mo sends his teacher a look.
Sheng Xue Tian Zun understands that his disciple does not want Yun Qian Yu to know what kind of punishment is awaiting him. He does not want her to share it with him as well.
Sheng Xue Tan Zun sighs as he looks at his love-sick favourite disciple. He is just the same as that father of his!
"No, Tian Zun has not promised me yet," Yun Qian Yu refuses to leave. This is the only way she can quietly support Gong Sang Mo.
Just as Gong Sang Mo is about to figure out how to best coax Yun Qian Yu into leaving, he can hear a voice from outside, "Sang Mo!"
"Third Senior Brother!" Gong Sang Mo stiffens. It is so late, what is his Third Senior Brother doing here? He originally planned to visit him tomorrow.
Yun Qian Yu remembers this Senior Brother as being Long Xiang Luo's shifu. Don't tell her he is here to settle the score?
Something clicks inside Yun Qian Yu's head and she immediately gets up and stands in front of Gong Sang Mo, blocking him from whatever is to come.
When Sheng Xue Tian Zun sees that, his heart is eased a little. At least it is not one-sided.
Qing Ling Xian walks in with large strides. When he sees what is going on, he snaps at Yun Qian Yu, "This little girl! What are you doing, blocking Sang Mo from me?" Then, something dawns on him. "Don't tell me you think I am here to seek revenge?" The look on his face turns ugly.
Yun Qian Yu blinks at him. So, he isn't here for revenge? Why is he looking so urgent, then?
"You really thought so?" demanded Qing Ling Xian.
Gong Sang Mo pulls Yun Qian Yu backwards, "Third Senior Brother, Yu Er was just worried for me. Please do not mind her."
Yun Qian Yu looks at this hasty-looking Senior Brother in confusion. Here is another with white beard; needless to ponder, his Second Senior Brother ought to also be an old man with white beard.
"This Senior Brother of yours is old and experienced; he will not be petty towards a little girl," Qing Ling Xian rolls his eyes skyward. "But still, even if you want to kill that unfilial disciple, you should have just kidnap her and sends her to me. I will do the dirty work for you. Why did you have to personally use your own hands!"
"I was in a rush," Gong Sang Mo's heart warms up. How could he possibly let his Senior Brother kill his own disciple?
"That unfilial girl was too calculating, too treacherous. Death was too easy for her," says Qing Ling Xian angrily.
After saying all that, Qing Ling Xian finally seems to remembers that his shifu is inside the room. He bows towards his shifu to beg for Gong Sang Mo, "Shifu, no one else really knows about this matter. Perhaps, you can….."
Sheng Xue Tian Zun cuts him off, "What do you think?"
Qing Ling Xian immediately grows quiet. Everyone who commits a mistake is punished in this sect, no matter how many contributions they have.
Yun Qian Yu can sense something off.
Gong Sang Mo hastily pulls her aside, "Shifu, Third Senior Brother, this disciple will send Yu Er to rest first. I will keep you company later."
Before he even finish speaking, he already drags Yun Qian Yu to the door.
Sheng Xue Tian Zun and Qing Ling Xian can still faintly hear Yun Qian Yu's complain, "What are you so hasty for? Sheng Xue Tian Zun has not promised me yet!"
Qing Ling Xian turns to his shifu, "Shifu, did the girl beg you to spare Sang Mo?"
"No." When Sheng Xue Tian Zun remembers Yun Qian Yu's request, his eyes soften.
"No? Then what is it that she asked from you? Is it regarding Su Huai Feng?" Qing Ling Xian is thinking all the wrong things. In his mind, he would kill Yun Qian Yu himself if it means that Gong Sang Mo will stop pouring his unconditional love towards someone so heartless.
"She asked me to let her share the punishment with Mo Er," Sheng Xue Tian Zun sighs.
"What? How is that possible? Does she even know what sort of place that is? Even Sang Mo may not necessarily be able to return alive. If she tags along, she will only drag him down. No, shifu, you must not let her," decides Qing Ling Xian.
Sheng Xue Tian Zun shakes his head, "She probably does not know what sort of punishment is awaiting Mo Er. Mo Er does not want her to know either, much less puts her in the direct path of danger."
"Hai, this Sang Mo is such a fool when it comes to love," sighs Qing Ling Xian.
As for the other party, Yun Qian Yu who is getting dragged away can only say, "Will the punishment be really heavy?"
"No. Did you see my shifu and Senior Brother? Could they even bear to punish me?" Gong Sang Mo replies her casually.
"My heart is not reassured," Yun Qian Yu grips Gong Sang Mo's arm tight. If the punishment is not heavy, why was Qing Ling Xian so anxious?
"Don't worry. They must be figuring out ways right now, to punish me without hurting me."
When Yun Qian Yu remembers how protective Qing Ling Xian had seem, she believes him.
She can see his residence looming nearby and quickly turns to him, "It is rare for you to be here, go and keep your shifu company. I can go to your house by myself."
"No, I will send you first. Then, I will return to my shifu."
Since he looks so insistent, Yun Qian Yu lets him. After all, they are only a couple of steps away.
When they reach the entrance to the house, she waves him off, "Hurry and go."
Gong Sang Mo laughs, "Alright. Rest first, I will return later."
Yun Qian Yu nods. She watches him walk away until he reaches his shifu's residence. Then, just as she is about to enter the house, she hears someone calling her name.
"Princess Hu Guo!"
She slowly turns around, "Crown Prince Jin."
This is the first time she ever sees the clear-faced Long Jin looking so malevolent. His eyes are dark as he looks at her. The usual haughtiness in which he used to carry himself with is no longer there.
Yun Qian Yu wonders what happened. What is it that makes him this angry? Long Xiang Luo alone shouldn't be enough to reduce him to such a state.
What Yun Qian Yu does not know is that what happened between the impostor Long Xiang Luo and the prince of Jiu Xiao Kingdom has ruined the relationship between the two kingdoms, effectively killing any opportunities that Long Jin ought to reap from the marriage alliance.
Yun Qian Yu fixes her cloak and lets it wrap tight around her body. Even though she is the owner of a valley and should be used to the cold, this snowy mountain peak is a different matter altogether.
"Yes, Crown Prince Jin?" Yun Qian Yu is not keen to stand here for so long with someone she does not care for.
Long Jin breathes out heavily, his voice cold, "Were you the one who did it to Xiang Luo?"
Yun Qian Yu raises her eyebrows. "Crown Prince Jin, bengong has been traveling and is a little outdated on the current matters. Why? Did anything happen to Princess Long? And what does it has anything to do with bengong?"
Long Jin does not reply her and simply looks at her darkly, wanting to catch anything off on her face. However, Yun Qian Yu's face is still full of confusion as she waits for Long Jin's answer.
"Xiang Luo is dead," replies Long Jin faintly.
"Dead? How is it possible? Although bengong has never liked her, bengong never really wants her dead," exclaims Yun Qian Yu in surprise.
"How confident are you when it comes to Su Huai Feng, Princess Hu Guo?" Long Jin knows he will not get anything out of Yun Qian Yu when it comes to Long Xiang Luo's death, so he simply changes the topic.
Yun Qian Yu blinks innocently, "How about you? How confident are you?"
Long Jin trains his eyes on Yun Qian Yu before saying, "Half-half."
"Oh." Yun Qian Yu's eyes light up. What makes him so confident? Does he have something up his sleeves that can help him secure Su Huai Feng?
"Bengong is fully confident."
"Fully confident?" Long Jin looks at her in shock.
Yun Qian Yu nods. The truth is, she is just trying to scare him off. She has never even met Su Huai Feng, how confident could she even be? She has not even prepared anything and is just going with the flow.
Long Jin frowns, "Just based on that painting alone?"
"I do not plan to use that painting." Yun Qian Yu does not seem surprised that Long Jin knows the painting is in her hands.
She did bring that painting along, but she knows that it will not sway Su Huai Feng.
If Su Huai Feng is that easily swayed, she would not bother to come here to personally recruit him.
After all, if even a painting can easily sway him, what can one do when Yang Ruo Yun herself shows up?
"You won't?" Long Jin looks at Yun Qian Yu suspiciously.
Yun Qian Yu looks at Long Jin indifferently, "Don't tell me that you will think that Su Huai Feng will choose sides over a mere painting?"
A look flashes on Long Jin's eyes, "I underestimated Princess Hu Guo."
"Bengong still don't think that you consider bengong a worthy opponent," replies Yun Qian Yu. Does he really believe that she will not see through his little tricks?
Long Jin laughs as he stands with his arms behind him. "Do you know who Jiu Xiao Kingdom sent?"
Yun Qian Yu knows that for Long Jin to bring him up, that person must be someone capable, "Bei Tang Gu Qiu!"