"All lord Tang has to do is say the word, and this junior will accomplish it!!"
The look of solemnity on Bai Yunfei's face made Tang Qianlei feel like Bai Yunfei was afraid of an impossible task to be given to him. "Worry not, this is not a hard task. I said it before that I had yet to conclude the matter of betrothment in the Swallow Province. But it still must be done. Since you wish to marry little Yun, then...you will go in my place to conclude the matter."
"Me?" A condition like this was strange to Bai Yunfei and so he couldn't help but stare a little.
"Are you not willing?"
"No, I am willing!" Bai Yunfei replied at once, "If lord Tang wishes it, then I will go on your behalf."
"Haha, then...I won't worry about this matter anymore. Do as you see fit." Tang Qianlei smiled. "But I'd like to make some things clear. The Tang and the Qin have been friends for a long time now. Little Yun's betrothment to their heir may have been a verbal agreement at one point, but we must follow formal procedures to withdraw from it. To do elsewise is to insult their family and ruin our relationship. Remember to behave appropriately..."
In other words, Tang Qianlei was implying that Bai Yunfei should be as objective and polite as possible during the matter, no matter how he might feel about it.
Naturally, Bai Yunfei knew better than to do otherwise and agreed immediately. He would treat this matter with the utmost manners.
"Rest assured, lord Tang, I will resolve this matter to the best of my abilities." Bai Yunfei nodded in earnest. In his mind, he was already allocating two of his heaven-tier soul armaments as compensation for the family. With his status, the two items would surely be enough to resolve the matter without much issue. The two were close friends, after all, and there was no way a verbal agreement would be known to outsiders. No one would know that such a matter existed, lest both families have their reputations damaged by the result.
But then he realized something. The Swallow Province, and the house of Qin?
"Ah, there is one thing I'm not clear about, lord Tang. Which family was it in the Swallow Province again, and which city?"
He had been too focused on the 'betrothment' part of the matter and disregarded everything else almost. But there was something that was bothering him. Tang Qianlei mentioned the 'Qin', and that was a point of contention Bai Yunfei had to rethink. Was it just a coincidence? Or...
"The house of Qin in Swallow City. The Qin is powerful there in that city, and the one betrothed to little Yun is their second son, Qin Shoufeng. His talents are quite decent, but I've heard poor things regarding his character. I debated rescinding the betrothment even before this, but that is a moot point now that you are here."
Tang Qianlei's words slammed into Bai Yunfei with the force of a sledgehammer-it really was the very same group of people he met on the airship in Redfire City! What kind of coincidence was this!
"Give up on that idea. You will never be with Tang Xinyun!"
The mysterious, yet haughty, words Qin Shoufeng uttered to him on the airship was finally starting to make sense now. So he knew about the 'betrothment'! That must have been the reason why he was acting the way he did; Qin Shoufeng didn't think Bai Yunfei would be able to 'fight' the betrothment.
Qin Shoufeng must had been planning to say it outright as a way to humiliate him. The only reason why he didn't say it outright was the fear of Bai Yunfei hurting him!
Did he really think that Bai Yunfei would give into despair and give up so readily on Tang Xinyun then?
"It's several days of travel to the Swallow Province from here," Tang Qianlei carried on, not noticing the strange look on Bai Yunfei's face. "I will have a letter ready for when you set out. Deliver it to the head of the Qin and I'm sure he will readily acquiesce, given our friendship."
"Yes." Bai Yunfei nodded, still a little absent-minded from his own thoughts.
"I'll...I'll go too..."
A tiny voice spoke out then from besides Bai Yunfei.
Surprised, Bai Yunfei turned his to look at Tang Xinyun next to him. Though still scarlet in the face, she was finally looking up to stare-though not at him-at her father.
She was already starting to speak, "Father, I...I want to go with Yunfei..."
"Oh? You want to go as well?" Tang Qianlei hadn't expected her to speak up, though a faint smile crossed his face at the sight of his timid daughter. "Haha, very well then. If it concerns the two of you, then the two of you should be the ones to deal with the matter. I'll leave this to you two then, leave whenever you two are ready..."
The topic of marriage had been the last issue the Tang were wanting to talk about today. Now done with the discussion, Bai Yunfei and Tang Xinyun left for the courtyards where Tang Xinyun's mother resided.
Still having yet to recover from going pink in the face, Tang Xinyun elected to stare at the ground rather than meet Bai Yunfei's gaze.
Bai Yunfei didn't mind her shyness much. In actuality, he enjoyed seeing her embarrassed like this. Every so often, he'd send a smile towards her way whenever he stole a look.
It was only when no one was close by that Tang Xinyun finally broke her silence, albeit quietly. "Yun-Yunfei...how could you even speak to father about...about..."
"Haha, didn't I say before that I wanted to speak with lord Tang about your hand? How can a man be a man if he isn't willing to do as he says?" Bai Yunfei laughed.
"I've managed to convince your father, and your mother is quick to recovering. I may as well ask for her permission, then everything will be settled!"
Laughing again, he took Tang Xinyun's hand into his before she could respond before flying straight for the courtyards...
The recovery of Tang Xinyun's mother was faster than what anyone could expected, Bai Yunfei included. By the time he and Tang Xinyun arrived at the courtyard, the older female was already kneeling down next to the wisteria-which was growing healthily-to weed it while a concerned, but otherwise motionless, Zhao Mancha stood next to her.
"It's cold outside mother, please take care of your body better." Tang Xinyun cried out immediately as she ran to help her up.
The last of the weeds was thrown into the wicker basket before Tang Xinyun's mother allowed herself to be led by Tang Xinyun to a nearby stool. She sat down with a graceful smile towards her daughter. Now basking in the sunlight, the pale-faced woman looked far better than before now. She had fewer white hairs and her perplexion looked a great deal better than when she was bedridden hours before.
Tenderly smiling towards Tang Xinyun and Bai Yunfei, she spoke, "Xinyun, has your father finished the matter with the Qin?"
It was Bai Yunfei who answered the question, though. "Lord Tang said he was delayed on the way and had to turn back when he heard Xinyun was kidnapped. The betrothment hasn't yet been rescinded."
He laughed at the bewildered look on the mother's face. "Aunty Xue, I've already told lord Tang of my intentions for Xinyun, and he's consented. Will...you approve of us?"
Tang Xinyun pulled at his robes in a way as if to complain to him about his way of mentioning the subject so abruptly.
Though momentarily surprised by the segue, Tang Xinyun's mother gave the two of them a wide smile. "Haha, of course I will. Yunfei...I've actually been waiting to hear these words."
"Hehe..." Bai Yunfei scratched his head, though he was somehow able to suppress a blush from appearing on his face.
"Lord Tang has asked of us to go to Swallow City in his place to rescind the marriage, actually..."
"Oh? Whatever for? That isn't a task that should..."
"Please rest assured, aunty Xue. I'll definitely resolve this matter to the best of my abilities. Xinyun and I've already agreed to set for Swallow City when you get better."