In this chapter, we learn more of her life in Cloud Manor and flashback to what happened 6 months ago in that rocky valley. She seems to be recovering well but we all know her emotional scars run much deeper that her physical injuries. To Gong Sun Yun's credit, everyone in his family treats Wu Bo well and try their best to to wear her down, little by little, until the day she can trust them as her family.
- Moonblossom -
Chapter 5 Part 2 of 2
Every evening, Jiang Wu Bo will visit a particular courtyard where a Gentleman will be standing guard. When he saw her, he greeted: “Miss Wu Bo, I am wondering where you are when I was told you have gone to the restaurant. I remember you could barely walk two months ago and although it is good you have regained your mobility, do remember not to overexert yourself and break Fifth Brother’s reputation (as a healer).”
Chapter 5 - Part 1 of 2
Chapter 3 - Part 2 of 2
Chapter 3 - Part 1 of 2
Chapter 2 - Part 2 of 2
Chapter 2 - Part 1 of 2
Chapter 1 – Part 2 of 2
Chapter 1 – Part 1 of 2
Prologue 2: The Second Person
Prologue 1: The First Person
“Thank you, Fourth Gentleman for your advice.”
She waited in a corner and after a while, Gong Sun Yun appeared from the inner room. His forehead was beaded in perspiration despite the cool spring weather. Fourth Gentleman took in his appearance and sighed. “Is everything still the same?”
“It is good that it is still the same. Perhaps he would wake up tomorrow.” When Gong Sun Yun spotted her, he gave her a smile and bade her to enter the room where Gong Sun Zhi was waiting for her.
When she entered the room, she noticed that the medicine bowl was empty. Gong Sun Yun must have fed the patient his medicine after transferring his energy to him. She moved a stool to the bedside and looked at the person lying on the bed. “Let us begin.”
Gong Sun Zhi started speaking to the person on the bed: “Ah Yao, I am Fifth Brother and I am here to see you.”
“Ah Yao, I am Wu Bo and I am here to see you.”
“You have lain here for half a year and it is time for you to wake up. If you do not wake soon, the other brothers are going to laugh at my poor doctoring skills.”
She repeated after him “You have lain here for half a year and is time for you to wake up. If you do not wake soon, the other brothers are going to laugh at his poor doctoring skills.”
Gong Sun Zhi went on to talk about his day. “Ah Yao, Xian Yun and I have skipped breakfast in order to rush home. Lunch was only some buns.”
“Ah Yao, I…. ate at the restaurant today.”
Gong Sun Zhi look thoughtfully at her while he continued. “For lunch, Xian Yun and I had wheat buns. When in the jianghu, sometimes there is really no choice, and one cannot take nutritious meals all the time.”
“Ah Yao… I let the waiter ordered for me today. He served me the oiliest fried soy sauce chicken and the crispiest baked biscuits. I was powerless to resist, so I ate them all. When you wake up, you would be able to try it.” End of report.
“Miss Jiang had a sumptuous lunch?”
She was very polite. “You are too humble. After getting used to the food at your manor, the food outside is simply too oily for words.”
“Since it is oily, you should take something bland for dinner. Please join us for dinner at Double Cloud Pavilion tonight.”
She thanked him and stayed another hour talking to the unconscious man on the bed. By the time she left, the skies had turned a dusky grey and night was falling. Because of the recent increase in visitors, there were more lamps being lit at night which will be extinguished the next morn. She gave some thought to the cost of candles, which should have cost the manor a pretty penny, but the people here seemed contented to see money burn. Where did Cloud Manor get its money?
Originally, she has thought that the people of Cloud Manor would be a thrifty lot behind their glamorous front. However, she found it is not the case. She guessed Gong Sun Yun could have discovered a gold mine.
Someone tugged at her sleeve. When she looked down, she saw a little boy who was her supposed younger brother looking at her. “Big..big..big sister..” He was barely eight and still has some baby fat. “Fourth Gentleman invites you to dine at Double Cloud Pavilion. Before you go there, he would appreciate it if you can make an appearance at the ladies quarters.”
Although not exactly willing, she nodded. “Sure.”
When living under another’s roof, it is best to do as one is told. Just take her ‘brother’ for instance; he was a newly-accepted disciple in the manor but he has to take on a new identity to lend credence to her cover story. Never mind, she could tolerate such a small matter. If Cloud Manor wanted to fake something to such an extent, she could comply, no problem.
Although her ‘brother’ gave her all the due respect of a real sister, she did not think she has gain any advantage because she has to give equal respect to the unconscious Seventh Gentleman, Gong Sun Yao. He was the youngest among the Cloud Manor Gentleman and supposedly one of the most ardent admirer of Gong Sun Yun.
Although Gong Sun Yun has managed to bring him home, he has been in coma ever since the inccident. From a moral standpoint, it was partly because of her that he ended up in this state, so it was only right she bear some responsibility towards him. For that reason, she has been quick to agree when she was requested to speak to him every day to aid his recovery.
Small matter. Small matter. She will not lose any meat or bone by talking to an unconscious man; this is definitely within her tolerance level.
Little Brother shook her from her reverie. “Big…big..big sister, please follow me and do not get lost again. The last time you took a wrong turn to the man’s quarters, Sixth Gentleman has scolded you. It is better to be more careful this time round.”
She made a non-committal sound and followed the little boy. She is living under another’s roof and has to follow another’s instructions. Such is the sad truth of her pitiful fate.
She, Wang Yun, former Left Protector of Bai Ming Sect, has changed her name to Jiang Wu Bo and is living incognito in Cloud Manor. Luckily, it does not take much effort to keep her head lowered, so she has tolerated everything till now. Although she was not keen to revisit her memories of that day, she felt she has attained superhuman levels for pain endurance after the incident.
She remembered vaguely of walking in the rain. She stumbled several times, not knowing how long she could last, but she has continued walking. As time goes by, she found she could no longer hear the rain and it was getting harder and harder to decipher her surroundings.
When a shadowy figure appeared about ten steps in front of her, she stopped. The figure appeared to be saying something but she could not comprehend so she did not respond. The figure came closer and reached out a hand towards her. She did not move initially but when she registered the hand was reaching for her forehead, she flinched.
The hand stopped and he noticed her shoulder.
What was he saying? She could not understand.
He reached out and sealed several of her acupuncture points.
“Miss Yun, did I come too late?”
The voice was slightly hoarse but finally, she started to catch what he was saying. She even managed a polite reply: “Not too late, at least I am still alive.”
She did not know if she has spoken out loud as he only continued staring at her. She tried again. “Gentleman Xian Yun, where is He Zai?”
“I did not pay him much notice. Perhaps, he is trying to find a way down here.”
She thought she must have walked for a long time until Gong Sun Yun and He Zai have found a way down. Apparently it did not seem to be the case.
“Miss Yun, shall I bring you back to Cloud Manor?”
The hoarse voice with its careful tone bothered her for some reason. Her thinking was not as clear as before and she has to think for a long time before she understood his meaning. Her pale lips curved up in a smile but there was no warmth in her eyes. “Gentleman Xian Yun need not fear my hatred for I bear you no grudge. It is only natural for one to save the one who is closest to them during crisis.”
The problem lies with her. She, who is a nobody to him or He Zai. The truth is simple; some things are easier said than done. Although she was happy when He Zai said he would follow her for this lifetime, she has not truly believed him in the deepest recess of her heart. What happened today was only a manifestation of her expectations.
Her heart was now as calm as water. “If I encounter a similar event, I would naturally save my own people too.”
“I could not save you the first time, or even the second time; surely I could save you the third time?”
She has grown accustomed to such polite words. “Thank you. The remaining two pieces of jade are in my sleeves.” Take them back yourself if you want to.
“Let them remain where they were.” He paused and said gently. “Would you let me rescue you?”
It took a while, but she finally understood why he was standing motionless in front of her. She lowered her eyes and laughed without mirth. “I have to trouble Gentleman then.” She finally allowed the pain to overtake her as she fell into a dead faint into his arms.
When she woke up, she was already in Cloud Manor. She could hear Gong Sun Zhi in the background. “I am really amaze she can walk so far given her injuries.”
In that instant, she wanted to groan. Did it have to be like this? Yes, she was seriously injured but her hearing was fine. Why did she have to meet this long-winded person now?
“Don’t you worry, besides the few of us, no one knows that Huang Fu Yun is still alive. It rained for six hours that day. When the rain finally stopped, Xian Yun suggested to Che Yan Yan to search for you at the foot of the cliffs. Before that, we have dressed one of our disciples in your clothes and pretended he was you. The body was badly scarred and Che Yan Yan did not suspect anything. We have buried him in situ and in another two years, Xian Yun will arrange for the disciple to be buried back at Cloud Manor under his own name.”
“Xian Yun was carrying Ah Yao and holding on to me, he was really unable to save you. The rain was very heavy and Che Yan Yan and the rest has retreated further down the mountain. We were right at the back and Xian Yun leaped down the cliff after he passed Ah Yao to me.”
“He was not trying to commit suicide. His qinggong is very good and he would not have a problem scaling that cliff normally. But given the conditions that day, it hasn’t been easy for him to go down either. When Miss Yun is able to talk, you really must thank Xian Yun.”
She tried to talk but there was no sound. So what if Gong Sun Yun went down the cliff? Had she not been lucky, all he found would have been a corpse. But Gong Sun Yun did seem to take his parental role seriously and would try to save whoever he could. Besides, it was also her wish that Huang Fu Yun disappeared since there will then be no more mental games, no more dealings with a Sect Leader who has gone crazy from practicing his martial arts. She should be grateful to him.
She estimated that Sect Leader could only last another year at most. Once he has passed his position to his successor, she would not care if she was exposed for she would then truly be a free-floating cloud amongst the wild geese in the skies.
“Do you know how long you have been unconscious? Only two days. However, I know this is not because of your good martial arts foundation. You sustained a head injury, a broken shoulder, a twisted left leg, and your organs were shaken out of place. How did you managed to walk so far? Even if I have increased the dosage for painkillers, you should still be in a lot of pain. Why did you not show any expression of pain?
Since she couldn’t talk, she decided that she need not answer him.
Gong Sun Zhi gave a small smile and hit one of her accupuncture points. “Now you can talk. Previously, I have sealed your speech point for fear you would be groaning and howling. But you can speak now.”
She stared at him for the longest time. Gong Sun Zhi waited patiently. She is now lying under another’s roof, ANOTHER’S roof. Finally, she blurted “… hurt….”
He looked innocent. “I beg your pardon? I did not hear you clearly.”
She tried again hoarsely. “…It hurts. I’m in great pain!”
Tolerate. He wanted to hear; she can humor him, no problem.
Tolerate. He wanted to hear; she can humor him, no problem.
“Did it really hurt? Why are you not crying?”
A hoarse voice spoke up “Fifth Brother should stop bullying Miss Yun.”
It was only then that she noticed Gong Sun Yun standing in a corner. He came to the bedside but she could not make out his expression with the light behind him. “You have awaken too soon which is not a good thing. Although I know it is your habit, you need to try to rest more.” Pressing his palm over her eyes, he continued. “Will this make you sleep better?”
“Xian Yun, you stay and accompany her. I like to take a look at Ah Yao now.”
He nodded and moved to sit besides the bed. But his voice still sounded hoarse; had he hurt his throat?
The warmth from his palm seeped through her eyelids. She remembered the same hands had covered her eyes when she has woken up in pain on the way back to Cloud Manor. She was battling the pain and trying desperately to stay awake but he kept repeating beside her ear: “Try to sleep a while more. The pain will be easier to bear once you are asleep.”
Now, it was indeed alright if she slept a little longer. Cloud Manor should be a safe haven for the time being and both Gentleman Xian Yun and Fifth Gentleman seemed to be true gentlemen. Recuperating here would be her best choice. She decided to indulge a little and let the warm hands lulled her to sleep. It wasn’t until much later that she found …
She has been conned!