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The Dragon

The Dragon By Nov 24, 2023 5 Comments
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Previous: Chapter 74

Chapter 75

Beyond One’s Control

Zhong Michu called out, “Ah Fu, come here.”

Gu Fuyou was talking to Yi’er, but when she heard Zhong Michu’s call, she couldn’t help but look over. Zhenmao walked to Zhong Michu’s side, hanging its head low, rubbing its forehead against her, and its ears brushed against her chin, the soft fur pressed down.

Zhong Michu gently rubbed the top of its head. Ah Fu was affectionate with people, but not as enthusiastically and clumsily as before.

Part of the reason was that it had grown up; after all, it was a Zhenmao, inherently proud and aloof. The other reason was her fault; she hadn’t taken good care of it. After returning to the Eastern Sea with the vice president and others, she was healing and in a daze for a while. During that time, Ah Fu was cared for by the Dragon Clan, who only treated it as her mount. Unlike Gu Fuyou, who played with Ah Fu, those were probably Ah Fu’s brightest days. When she recovered and went to see Ah Fu, its nature had already become much more solitary.

After whispering something in Ah Fu’s ear, Zhong Michu called, “Ah Man, come here.”

Gu Fuyou was somewhat nervous, standing in front of Ah Fu, uneasily clenching her hands. Zhong Michu said, “Touch it.”

Gu Fuyou calmed down at her gentle voice, slowly reaching out her hand, touching Ah Fu’s warm nose. Ah Fu didn’t shy away, and she moved her hand down to its chin, stepping closer, wanting to hug it.

But Ah Fu backed away. Gu Fuyou’s hand remained suspended in mid-air, her disappointment slowly sinking in. Zhong Michu said, “Ah Fu might not be used to it yet, take it slow.”

Gu Fuyou didn’t respond. At that moment, she remembered something Gu Shuangqing had described to her, a scene she had imagined in her mind.

Gu Shuangqing told her that when she was a few years old, Gu Wanpeng went out on a task and took a long time to return due to an injury. By then, she had forgotten him and didn’t recognize that Gu Wanpeng was her father. Whenever Gu Wanpeng tried to get close, she would always avoid him.

Gu Fuyou didn’t remember any of this that Gu Shuangqing told her. But after hearing it, she imagined the scene where Gu Wanpeng tried to hold her, and she resisted and ran away.

She always complained that Gu Wanpeng wasn’t gentle enough, that he spent very little time with her. In her memory, Gu Wanpeng never hugged her. When Gu Shuangqing told her this, she was mature enough to understand Gu Wanpeng’s difficulties and injuries, that it wasn’t intentional on his part. But she still felt more pity for herself, for that lonely self.

Gu Shuangqing had said, “Ah Man, one day you will understand his helplessness.”

“One day you will understand his helplessness.”

This sentence echoed in her mind, striking heavily on her heart.

She didn’t intentionally abandon Ah Fu, but she truly left it for seven hundred years. When she returned, Ah Fu didn’t recognize or feel close to her anymore.

Now the situation she and Gu Wanpeng had gone through was happening again, only this time, fate had placed her in Gu Wanpeng’s position. To truly empathize is to experience it oneself.

She finally understood, but it was too late.

Seeing Gu Fuyou turn pale, Zhong Michu called out, Ah Man, don’t worry, Ah Fu will eventually be close to you again.” She couldn’t know the thoughts that suddenly sprang into Gu Fuyou’s mind, couldn’t know her real pain.

The old Gu Fuyou might have shared with her, sought her comfort, but not anymore.

Gu Fuyou said, “Senior Sister Zhong, we shouldn’t keep Xiao Zhongting waiting. I’ll go see him.”

“You…”

Gu Fuyou didn’t give Zhong Michu a chance to speak and turned, walking straight towards the main hall. Zhong Michu’s words fell silent, gazing at the direction Gu Fuyou left, her expression like the night sky after fireworks, lonely and sad.

Yi’er, still young after hatching, couldn’t understand the concealed sorrows and joys of adults. She walked up to Zhong Michu and called out, “Mother.”

Zhong Michu looked down at her, “What is it?”

Yi’er opened her arms, wanting a hug. Zhong Michu bent down to pick her up. Yi’er wrapped her arms around Zhong Michu’s neck, giggling softly, “I missed you so much.”

Zhong Michu replied softly, “I was only gone for a little over a month.”

When she went to the Merchant’s Association in secret, she had instructed the vice president not to inform the Eastern Sea about her whereabouts. But she knew they would eventually notify them, and the Dragon Clan would find her sooner or later. She didn’t intend to hide, just didn’t expect it to be so soon. Yi’er and Ah Fu also came running here, finding this place directly.

She guessed it might have been Di Jun’s idea, fearing she wouldn’t want to return, so he sent Yi’er and Ah Fu to soften her heart.

Yi’er hummed, “I just missed you so much.” Holding Zhong Michu’s cheeks in her little hands, she earnestly asked, “Great-grandfather said he hurt you near your heart, is the wound healed now? Does it still hurt?”

Zhong Michu replied, “It has healed.”

Seeing Zhong Michu always looking towards the main hall, Yi’er asked, “Mother, what is Ah Man Mother doing?”

“There’s a guest, she’s gone to talk with them.”

Yi’er whispered in Zhong Michu’s ear, “Let’s go listen to her conversation secretly, okay?”

Zhong Michu smiled lightly and said, “Alright.”

She told Xinghan and the others, “You stay here,” and then carried Yi’er towards the main hall. Approaching it, they could hear voices speaking. They didn’t enter but sat on the railing of the corridor leaning against a pillar.

Zhong Michu placed Yi’er on her lap, put her index finger to her lips, signaling silence. Yi’er mimicked her gesture, smiling and snuggling into her embrace.

Inside the hall, Gu Fuyou had already exchanged pleasantries with Xiao Zhongting, and their conversation gradually became more focused. Xiao Zhongting said, “Miss Zhong mentioned that Lord Qing Jun wanted to see me, but I’m not sure what is so special about Xiao Zhongting that requires such attention from Lady Qing Jun.”

As the general in charge of defending Bailu City, he had already received the news about an Azure Phoenix being a distinguished guest of the Zuo family, treated with great honor, coming to Bailu City to select slaves, and that they should provide a good reception.

He always looked down on those who associated with the Zuo family. Although he himself was aligned with the Zuo family, that was a necessity. But this Azure Phoenix, with high cultivation and an impressive background, willingly stepped into the murky waters of Nanzhou. If not colluding with the Zuo family, then she had other motives.

Initially, he didn’t care about these matters. Being a minor city lord, he was far removed from such people. However, he hadn’t expected that this Azure Phoenix would trouble his benefactor to seek him out. He guessed that the Azure Phoenix’s entry into the Zuo family leaned more towards the latter reason. Based on Zhong Michu’s and his own suspicions, he was still polite in his conversation with the Azure Phoenix.

Gu Fuyou, leaning back in her chair, seemed lost in thought, still pondering the events in the courtyard. Hearing him speak, she replied with a lukewarm smile, “Some time ago, while passing through Wantong City, I was invited by the City Lord of Zuo to stay at the city lord’s mansion. There, I met a girl with willow-leaf eyebrows and phoenix eyes, elegant and attractive, and struck up a conversation because I found her agreeable.”

Upon hearing this description, Xiao Zhongting had a vague guess, and although he hid it well, Gu Fuyou could see the anticipation in his eyes, hoping she would continue.

“I found that not only was this girl talented, but she also had exceptional insight. Unfortunately, fate was not kind to her, married off into the Zuo family as a concubine.”

Xiao Zhongting’s face visibly paled. Gu Fuyou glanced at him and slapped the armrest, “I voiced my disapproval, blaming her father for using his daughter as a pawn for glory, destroying her chance at happiness. The girl argued, saying it wasn’t like that…”

Gu Fuyou paused deliberately, then continued, “So, I became curious to meet her father.”

Xiao Zhongting, looking strained, was no longer as courteous as before, “What are you trying to say?”

Gu Fuyou stood up, first smiling, “A hundred years ago, the Xiao family clashed with the Zuo family. After the Zuo family unified Nanzhou, they sought retribution, and the Xiao family was the first to be targeted. The Xiao family had to choose between honor and life.”

She circled around Xiao Zhongting, finally stopping beside him, “City Lord Xiao, you endured humiliation for the sake of your family and citizens — truly noble! You prevented your younger sister from marrying into the Zuo family, demonstrating filial piety and brotherly care. Yet, you tacitly allowed your daughter to marry into the Zuo family, sacrificing one to save many — an act of great righteousness!”

Xiao Zhongting stepped back, leaning on the tea table, crushing the teacup in his hand, blood flowing from between his fingers. Gu Fuyou’s words were praises, but to him, they were like daggers, cutting deep with mockery.

His eyes were bloodshot, veins in his neck bulging, his breathing short and ragged like a wild beast’s growl. His sister’s suicide was a lifelong regret. He resented her, the Zuo family, and most of all, himself.

Gu Fuyou didn’t let up, flipping her wrist and thumbing up at Xiao Zhongting, “City Lord Xiao is so compassionate and righteous, truly a great hero!”

Xiao Zhongting glared at her fiercely, eyes wide and bloodshot, almost beast-like. ‘A great hero,’ he thought bitterly, who sent his daughter into a den of wolves, ruining her life; a ‘hero’ who knew of her suffering but kept silent, afraid to act, still serving the enemy.

Many people don’t understand. If they wanted to praise him, they could commend his sense of duty to his country and city, his sacrifice of personal interests for the greater good, his wisdom and righteousness. But those were just empty words to him. He felt no honor in them. Instead, those words stabbed at his heart like knives.

If possible, who wouldn’t want to protect both family and country?

Xiao Zhongting’s chest heaved with emotion. After a long moment, he bowed deeply and said, “Lady Qingluan flatters me too much. I am merely fulfilling my duty as a city lord.”

Gu Fuyou responded, “City Lord Xiao, you seem to have learned to keep your composure.” She was well aware that her words were piercing Xiao Zhongting’s heart. She had spoken them intentionally to test him.

She didn’t want a partner who, in a fit of passion, would recklessly confront the Zuo family. Xiao Zhongting needed to be more composed than in his younger days, yet she also needed him to maintain his hatred for the Zuo family. Over a hundred years had made him more restrained, while his daughter, Xiao Zhi, still suffered in the Zuo family, ensuring he would never forget his sister’s vengeance or his hatred for the Zuo family.

Xiao Zhongting frowned, “What do you mean by that, Lady Qingluan?”

Gu Fuyou smiled, “City Lord Xiao, seven hundred years ago, when the Zuo family declared martial law in Nanzhou and blockaded cities to inspect travelers, thank you for letting the three of us leave that day.”

This seemed out of the blue to Xiao Zhongting. He was initially confused but gradually his expression brightened. Seven hundred years ago, a significant event had occurred; the Zuo family first took over Xuan Miao Sect, then destroyed Xiaoyao City. Families harboring resentment against the Zuo family wanted to seize the opportunity to rise and join forces with Xuan Miao Sect and Xiaoyao City against the Zuo family. The Xiao family was among them. But the Zuo family acted too swiftly, and before they could react, both Xuanmiao Gate and Xiaoyao City had fallen to the Zuo family.

He vividly remembered this event, so he also recalled that during that time, the Zuo family had declared martial law, and Xiao City was sealed off, seemingly to capture four disciples of Xuan Miao Sect. He had let three travelers leave; one of them had turned to look back at him as they departed.

He no longer remembered that person’s face, only a vague impression of their identity. If not for the fact that this person was pursued by the Zuo family and had once saved his and Xiao Yuan’s lives along with Zhong Michu, and had been in contact with Zhong Michu over the years, he might have forgotten even their name after seven hundred years. Still, the name was now a blur in his memory: “Gu… Fuyou?”

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Previous: Chapter 74

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Shakthivel
Shakthivel
7 months ago

Thanks for the chapter..

dadin
dadin
7 months ago

her revenge is taking it’s first step .. officially starting.. but I’m more curious about when michu and fuyou going to be together officially..

iviachupichu
iviachupichu
7 months ago

I love how Michu is giving Yi’Er all the motherly love that she never received herself.

Khriss
Khriss
6 months ago

Ooo I was confused when that happened, this makes so much more sense!

Doom
Doom
4 months ago

Ya’ll, after seven hundred years ppl in this novel still remember things but I cant even remember what I ate yesterday😮‍💨. Their memories are truly outstanding 👏