Chapter 306: Worth It!
"May I come in, Yunfei?"
The warm voice that came from the other side of the door was recognized by Bai Yunfei's ears. The voice belonged to Tang Xinyun, not someone else from the Tang.
Taking his right arm off the table and fitting his sleeve over it, Bai Yunfei said, "Come in."
The door to his room slowly creaked open as the white-robed Tang Xinyun made her way inside.
"Xinyun, how's auntie?" Bai Yunfei asked in concern.
A few minutes after the group returned to the courtyard after the earlier day debacle, Chu Qingxue's old illness made a comeback, causing Tang Xinyun to worry.
Thus, Bai Yunfei had returned to his room, so he could leave her in peace and heal his arm.
"Mother's doing fine now. Even though mother has been sick for over ten years, her strength as an early-stage Soul Ancestor is more than enough for her to keep it in check. Since it's still in her body, it causes her some trouble every now and then." Tang Xinyun shook her head before taking a seat next to Bai Yunfei.
So, Chu Qingxue was a Soul Ancestor.
No wonder she looked so young. Maintaining the appearance of a twenty-something year old wasn't hard for a soul cultivator compared to a commoner.
Relieved to hear such news, Bai Yunfei changed the topic, "That's good... Xinyun, I'm still not aware of something. How did auntie get sick? Why isn't she able to get rid of it even as a Soul Ancestor?"
Tang Xinyun sighed. "I'm not clear how she did either... I only know that over ten years ago, mother came across an evildoer on one of her trips outside, but mother never revealed any details about it..."
"I see..." Bai Yunfei nodded, things like this were clearly meant to be secrets. If Tang Xinyun didn't know, Bai Yunfei wouldn't ask.
"Is there really no way to help her cure her illness?" Bai Yunfei murmured. Long-lasting injuries weren't very common to soul cultivators normally, but exceptions always existed to this rule. The corrosive energy that was in Tang Xinyun's body, for example.
"I'm not sure, my father tried everything he could at first, but nothing worked. After that... he just stopped caring..."
"Woops..." Bai Yunfei cursed. He realized that Tang Xinyun was talking about the moment when the third wife came into the picture, causing both Tang Xinyun and her mother to fall down the ranks of the Tang.
"Hey, Xinyun, will what I did today to the Hua... trouble you and auntie in any way?" Bai Yunfei changed the subject. Even though what he did was for the sake of Tang Xinyun, he wasn't aware of the finer intricacies of her family, so the consequences of his actions were completely unknown to him.
"Aren't there always troubles?" Tang Xinyun smiled. "But Yunfei, what you did today was really different than what you would normally do..."
"Eh, really? Haha, they were the ones that came knocking. It was a little sour to look at, so of course I had to teach them a lesson."
While he spoke, Tang Xinyun's head was already dipping down, "Yunfei," She whispered, "Thank you..."
"Hm?" Surprised for only a brief moment, Bai Yunfei cracked a smile, "Xinyun, why are you always thanking me? You don't need to thank me at all, I..."
He hadn't even finished speaking when all of a sudden, Tang Xinyun's hand flew forward to grab his right hand!
Completely caught off guard by Tang Xinyun's abrupt actions, Bai Yunfei didn't know what to think at first.
When he realized where she was holding, a silent curse ran through his mind. He tried to pull his arm back, but Tang Xinyun's grip was like iron around his hand. She swiftly rolled up his sleeve, revealing his grotesque right arm.
Tang Xinyun's body seemed to tremble slightly at the sight, but her left hand retained the grip she had on his palm. Her right hand slowly moved to touch his arm, as if wanting to soothe his bloody wounds and quivering muscles.
Her head tilted slightly up, looking at Bai Yunfei with her teary eyes. She looked troubled at the state of his arm.
"Yunfei... why must you always do this to yourself each time you help me? I already owe you so much. How will I ever repay you...?"
Embarrassed just slightly by what she was saying, Bai Yunfei replied, "Xinyun, what brings this up all of the sudden? You don't need to repay me at all. Everything I do for you is because..."
"Because it's... worth it?"
She finished his sentence for him with a soft whisper, eliciting a look of surprise from him.
At this moment, the tender beauty that was Tang Xinyun took Bai Yunfei's breath away. His heart stopped beating for half a second, but that half a second was all it took for courage to suddenly surge through him.
Clenching his right hand tight, Bai Yunfei's hand held Tang Xinyun's incredibly soft hand in his own.
"It's worth it to me!" He stated without breaking eye contact with Tang Xinyun.
His statement was only a sparse five words, but those five words greatly affected the female. Those words combined with the warmth from Bai Yunfei's hand caused Tang Xinyun's eyes to glimmer with emotion. Her cheeks were gaining a red hue, adding another layer of beauty that made Bai Yunfei's heart race.
He exhaled slowly. "Xinyun, I..."
"Knock knock knock..."
Like a splash of cold water, the sudden arrival of a third party dispelled the special mood in the room, shaking the two from their trance. Jerking her hand back, Tang Xinyun's face was now extremely red. She wasn't even willing to meet Bai Yunfei's gaze now, but he found it equally embarrassing.
Bai Yunfei wanted nothing more but to beat the crap out of whomever interrupted them.
"Who is it?"
As dejected as he was, Bai Yunfei's voice couldn't help but convey a bit of his current emotions as he asked.
"Master Bai, our lord wishes to speak to you in the lounge."
The elderly voice from the other side of the door caused Tang Xinyun to jolt from her seat, "Ah! It's uncle Zhong..."
The flames of anger in Bai Yunfei's heart were doused straight away. Intuition told him that if push came to shove, the old man would be more than a match for him.
Rising from his seat, Bai Yunfei moved to open the door. Greeting Tang Yongzhong with a smile, he inquired, "Uncle Zhong, does lord Tang wish to meet me now?"
There was a small twinkle of light in Tang Yongzhong's eyes when he saw Tang Xinyun inside Bai Yunfei's room. Seemingly surprised by her, Tang Yongzhong nodded his head in response to Bai Yunfei. "Yes, master Bai. When the lord heard that the disciple of master Zi Jin came to visit, he made sure to have this old one come to guide master Bai to the lounge for a small chat."
A small smile crept onto Bai Yunfei's face as he rejoiced over how useful his master's name was.
It clearly worked quite well on the Tang.
"Xinyun," Bai Yunfei turned back to the still seated female, "I'll be meeting your father, so you should rest up first. The past few days of travel were very tiring after all..."
She nodded her head. "Be careful, Yunfei...."
Unable to stop a smile from growing on his face, Bai Yunfei laughed. "I'm only going to see your father. What's there to be careful about? Am I going to be in danger?"
"No no," Tang Xinyun blushed as she tried to explain, "I meant that my father is..."
"It'll be fine. What's there to worry about? I won't fight him, so go on back and rest up. You still need to take me around the city tomorrow!"
Bai Yunfei waved his hand nonchalantly, attempting to alleviate her concerns. He then followed Tang Yongzhong out of the courtyard.
With how dark the sky was getting, the road to the lounge was filled with lanterns to light up the way. Stones that gave off a soft illuminating light were in such abundance that shadows couldn't gather.
When Bai Yunfei stepped into the lounge, he felt three pairs of eyes land on him.
Looking up, he could see the figures of three different people. The people he had met earlier today, Tang Jing and Tang Zhi, were both seated to the right while an unknown middle-aged man in purple robes sat in the chair above them. The man had white hair and a wrinkled face from age, but his eyes were unnaturally sharp as if challenging anyone who dared to look at him.
Bai Yunfei could barely feel the same intimidating aura that his senior Kou Changkong would normally radiate...
This man was Tang Xinyun's father and head of the Tang Tang Qianlei.
The moment Tang Qianlei's eyes shifted over to inspect Bai Yunfei, a shadow of doubt spread across his face, but it soon disappeared from sight just as quickly.
By now, Bai Yunfei was at the center of the lounge. With a polite nod to Tang Jing and Tang Zhi, Bai Yunfei then bowed to Tang Qianlei, "Junior Bai Yunfei pays his respects to lord Tang."
"Haha, there's no need for such etiquette, nephew Bai. Please, sit." Tang Qianlei's face broke into a smile as he pointed at an empty chair to his right. "I was absent during the day and was unaware that we'd have such a guest today. Please forgive the late reception, nephew Bai."
The man known and respected by everyone as the lord of house Tang was actually treating Bai Yunfei as warmly as he would treat family. If any outsider were to see this, they wouldn't be able to believe their ears.
Even Tang Jing and Tang Zhi found themselves with their jaws slightly ajar.
Sitting on the chair pointed out to him, Bai Yunfei smiled. "Thank you, Lord Tang. There's no helping it if someone of your stature has work to do. First master Tang Jing and second master Tang Zhi were kind enough to receive me already."
If Tang Qianlei was greeting him as an honored 'nephew,' then Bai Yunfei would greet him by his proper title. He had even decided to call Tang Jing and Tang Zhi by their proper titles.
Though his words were polite to the ears, there was an air of peculiarity to them.
Even worse was Bai Yunfei emphasis on Tang Zhi's way of receiving him into their residence. An extremely sarcastic way of mocking what had happened with the Hua earlier that day.
What Bai Yunfei said stunned the three men. None of the three had expected Bai Yunfei's to be so 'unfriendly' straight from the get-go.