The two played around for a while before Ji Tianqing said, “Regardless, you have something to show after going back to your sister. This is a good thing.”
Li Kuanglan sighed. “Is that a good thing? I simply can’t tell.”
“Of course it is! Do you think she’d still recognize you as her sister if you ignored something she ordered so seriously?”
Li Kuanglan was silent. “Say Tianqing, can this be considered a sacrifice for the family?”
“But she’s my sister. Does she have no familial love for me at all?”
“To her, she’s doing it for your own good.”
“My own good? But she never asked if I was willing before using force to pressure me.”
Ji Tianqing said, “Your will is no longer that important. She does have familial love, but it isn’t for a single person… it’s for the entire Li family. What she wants is the family’s prosperity, and for it to become a major clan after a decade. Whoever blocks this path will be kicked away, even her own sister.”
Li Kuanglan laughed wryly, “I’d rather not have such familial love!”
“Is that why you dress like a man and focus only on swordsmanship?”
Li Kuanglan nodded silently.
Ji Tianqing remained silent for a while before saying, “I didn’t understand before, but grandpa told me once that every clan throughout history had done the same thing... rowing upstream and never stepping back. They couldn’t allow their family and clan to gradually fall into decline. The other members of the nobility wouldn’t hold back just because you choose to avoid certain methods. The only exceptions to this rule are the Zhang and Zhao clans. Just like the Imperial clan, these two are like dragons in the sky. Their families would produce numerous geniuses in every generation, and these scions would always rise up to turn dangerous situations around. Grandpa said we should just follow old traditions if we don’t have the talents of those two clans.”
“I understand this reasoning, but I can hardly accept it.”
“There’s no other choice, is there? If you think about it carefully, it’s not that bad.”
Chuckling, Ji Tianqing suddenly groped Li Kuanglan’s chest. “That changed pretty quickly, have you decided to accept reality?”
Li Kuanglan gnashed her teeth and pounced over, pressing Ji Tianqing down under the water.
Moments later, the latter rushed out of the water, shouting, “Timeout! I’ll catch a cold if this keeps up. Seriously, do you need to go all out? Unlike a certain person who was so resigned last night. Humph, who knows what state you’d be in if I hadn’t saved you when I did. I wouldn’t have helped had I known you’d forget favors like so… Mmm...”
Li Kuanglan dunked her into the water, drowning out the last part of her sentence. Releasing her grip only after a good while, she said, “Humph, you’re not my match right now. Better not provoke me or I’ll take your clothes away and make you run around naked!”
Ji Tianqing’s eyes shifted about, and then all of a sudden, she cried out at the top of her lungs. “Qianye, save me! Someone’s doing bad things, aren’t you going to control her?”
This shout shocked Li Kuanglan out of her wits.
Flustered, she tried to cover Ji Tianqing’s mouth, but the latter dodged to the side. “How long are you going to peep? Save me and I’ll let you see as much as you want!”
Qianye didn’t know whether he should go out or not. He was standing behind a tree—not to mention peeping, he wasn’t even listening in on their conversation. It was just that Ji Tianqing’s loud voice poured into his ears. It wouldn’t be entirely true to say that he wasn’t engaging in voyeurism because he had inadvertently seen them when he had first arrived. With Qianye’s eyesight, a single glance was enough to notice every minor detail and never forget them. There was little difference between a glance and a prolonged stare.
Since he had been called out, it would be wrong not to walk out. Yet, Qianye couldn’t really walk out because—despite her saying that she would let him look to his heart’s content—he might be beaten to death afterward.
Qianye was unwilling to make an appearance, but Li Kuanglan was so flustered that she let Ji Tianqing slip away from her grasp. “Stop shouting and I won’t attack. How’s that?”
“Deal!” Ji Tianqing was quite straightforward.
Having reached a truce, the two came ashore and got dressed.
Although Qianye never looked at them, he could outline their activity just by the sounds.
Li Kuanglan acted quite naturally after the initial loss of composure. It had been more than once that she was intimate with Qianye. Ji Tianqing also walked ashore calmly and clothed herself while facing Qianye. There were no origin fluctuations around her, which meant that she wasn’t channeling her disguising powers. This was her true self, and Qianye needed only to poke his head out to see everything.
Very soon, they finished dressing and arrived beside Qianye. Ji Tianqing patted his shoulder, saying, “I’ll give you this for your sincerity.”
With that, she stuffed a palm-sized clamshell into Qianye’s hands.
“What’s that?” Qianye knew nothing apart from the fact that the clam was still alive. However, the shellfish was exuding dense waves of vitality and clearly not an ordinary creature.
“I don’t know, either. It’s definitely good stuff, nonetheless, and I only found a couple of them at the bottom of the lake. You didn’t rush to my rescue when I needed you, so you’re not getting the rest.” Ji Tianqing stuffed five more of the same clams into her spatial storage.
Qianye smiled wryly. He didn’t try to justify anything and merely put the clamshell away. How was he to go out under those circumstances? Actually, he was already finding it inappropriate that he had accidentally seen Ji Tianqing’s body. Fortunately, the girl had her back toward him, so he only saw her rear-side. This was a barely acceptable outcome.
Li Kuanglan looked up at the sky, saying, “It’s late, we should hurry on!”
Ji Tianqing also agreed. The three thus packed up their things and set out on their way.
After confirming their direction, Ji Tianqing took the lead through the forest, with Ji Tianqing in tow, leaving Qianye alone. The two just waltzed off as if nothing had happened just now.
Qianye wanted to ask what had happened last night, but the two girls walked away in due haste. They had almost run out of his sight in the blink of an eye. Qianye followed with a wry laugh, knowing that they were denying him the opportunity to ask.
The trio spent the entire day in transit. They only stopped a couple of times to collect resources, and even then, they would not stop for long.
The resources in the core region of the Great Maelstrom were vastly superior to that of the outer regions. Both Qianye and Ji Tianqing had stuffed their spatial gears full in the area with ten times the gravity.
The night was soon upon them. The three continued traveling for another hour before picking a place to pitch camp.
At this point, the gravity was only four times that of the empire. The group felt relieved of a heavy burden, and every movement felt incomparably relaxed. Qianye was still feeling a bit sore, however, as he was still in the process of recovering from the fatigue. He really wanted to know what had made him so tired.
He had already recalled that, just like before, he was preparing to help Li Kuanglan with his blood core. Meanwhile, Ji Tianqing was causing mischief nearby and almost set things on fire. This young miss had always been this way—she was never afraid of causing trouble since she was never the one to suffer.
The last thing he remembered was Ji Tianqing sealing his mouth and feeding him a large amount of liquid—nothing thereafter. The dreams and memories he had experienced were so fragmented from reality that he couldn’t find a single clue.
At this point, the camp had been set up, the fire lit, and Li Kuanglan was roasting meat on the flames. It was once again time to face one another. The trio descended into an odd silence where none of them spoke.
Thus, a wordless dinner went by and midnight closed in. The frigid night in this area was no longer as bitter. Although it was still much stronger than recorded by the Empire, even Li Kuanglan could get through it without intimate contact with Qianye.
Qianye could finally hold back no longer. “What did I do last night?”
The two girls exchanged glances and countless thoughts.
Afterward, Ji Tianqing asked, “Do you not remember anything?”
Qianye frowned, not knowing whether to speak the truth. After some deliberation, he decided to speak honestly despite knowing he might not get the truth in return.
“I remember you feeding me something, then nothing else.”
Ji Tianqing snorted. “You want to get away with all the bad things you did just by saying you don’t remember? You think it’s that easy?”
Qianye started to sweat. A feeling of restlessness emerged from his heart as he asked, “What bad things? Can you be more specific?”
Ji Tianqing just about to speak when Li Kuanglan stopped her. “Don’t listen to her nonsense, all she knows is to scare other people.”
Qianye should’ve felt relieved, but for some reason, he just couldn’t feel at ease. He thought back silently for a moment, and then looked toward Ji Tianqing. “Was it white-fruit wine that you fed me?”
Ji Tianqing poked her tongue out. “You even remember that! How did you know that was white-fruit wine? Did you try drinking it while I wasn’t looking?”
Qianye ignored her interruption. “Why did you make me drink that?”
Ji Tianqing wanted to say something, but Qianye stopped her and turned to the tense Li Kuanglan. “You tell me.”
This increased her nervousness even further—she looked down at her trembling hands, unable to gaze into his eyes. This stoked Qianye’s suspicions even further. He raised Li Kuanglan’s face by the chin and asked word by word, “What happened last night, tell me! Don’t leave out a single thing!”
Li Kuanglan’s expression fluctuated wildly. Her eyes darted about as she did her utmost to avoid his eyes. However, Qianye was so powerful that she couldn’t escape.
“Last night…”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Legion ED: Moxie