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Chapter: 9.3

"But…" Fengxi lifted Han Piao’s chin up to take a closer look and said, "Old man Han was a very greedy man, you must have inherited this trait from him. In any case….."

Fengxi released Han Piao’s chin and patted the top of his head. "Under my guidance, in the future you shall become a man of honor, a great hero respected by people all around."  

"Don’t pat me on the head!" Han Piao exclaimed as he grabbed Fengxi’s hand with a frown. "It hurts!"

"Very well." Fengxi stopped patting him and rubbed his head instead. "As compensation for the pain, I’ll take you to buy some new clothes, along the way we’ll purchase a carriage too. The weather’s already cold, traveling in the wind and rain all day, this lady truly can’t stand it any longer." 

Hearing this, Han Piao released Fengxi’s hand and looked up at her. 

"Let’s go buy you some new clothes," Fengxi said as she grabbed his hand and pulled him towards a clothing shop. 

"Piao’er, what color do you like? Don’t even think about choosing those expensive silks and satins though. As long as the clothes fit and keep you warm, it’ll do.  As for the color, how about white? Since you’re my little brother now, naturally you should wear white like me. I’m Bai Fengxi, in the future you shall be Bai Han Piao. Piao’er……."

Feng Xi went on talking for some time but noticed she wasn’t getting any response from the person beside her. So she turned around, only to find him with his head lowered, following behind her in quiet steps, there was even a slight tremor in his fingers.  

"Piao’er, why are you so quiet?" Fengxi couldn’t help but stop and asked. "Silently protesting since I won’t buy you expensive clothes? Let me tell you, I can…"

Fengxi suddenly paused when Han Piao lifted his head and looked up at her. His handsome little face was full of tears. 

"Piao’er, what’s wrong? Are you cold?" Fengxi asked, rubbing his two trembling hands.

"Elder Sister," Han Piao threw himself into Fengxi’s arms, hugging her as tears streamed down his face relentlessly. "Elder Sister… Elder Sister… I know… I know!"

From the warmth radiating within his arms, Han Piao knew that Fengxi wasn’t afraid of the cold. With her profound internal strength, she could keep warm even if there was a downpour of snow and ice.  Going to buy new clothes to keep warm, purchasing a carriage to shelter from the wind and rain, it was all for his sake. Fengxi would not have had to gamble to win money otherwise. But even if she did gamble, she did not need to shelter from the wind nor rain. When Han Piao came to this conclusion, he presumed she must not have taken pleasures in gambling to earn money.  

But she had done so all for him…. In truth, she could just disregard him, they weren’t related, there was no reason for her to take care of him. The only thing linking them together was the prescription. Though valuable, the prescription was highly sought-after, making it dangerous to have in one’s possession. Should it be known that it was in her hands, people from the martial world would certainly chase her down and her life would be in constant danger. Yet she still chose to take him with her. Along the way, she continued to make jokes as she always did.  

"Piao’er, you are such a sensitive boy, I don’t know whether that’s a blessing or curse for you in the future." Fengxi’s heart softened and with a sigh she gently patted his back.  

"Elder Sister, Piao’er shall take care of you in the future! For the rest of your life!" Han Piao solemnly made a vow. The weight of his words, he surely could not fully comprehend in that moment.  

"Piao’er, let’s go buy some new clothes first," Fengxi said as she wiped away Han Piao’s tears. "Look at you, a boy, yet you’ve cried twice in one day. Aren’t you embarrassed?"

Han Piao’s cheeks flushed and he lowered his head to hide in Fengxi’s arms. He liked being in her embrace, her warmth and scent was comforting, as if the chaotic world seemingly retreated and all that’s left was peace and tranquility when he was in her arms. 

In the distant future, a figure will emerge in the martial world named Bai Feng Long who will gain fame for his swordsmanship and fondness of poetry, but at this moment, he was just a little kid who often cried, who easily blushed, and who liked to be coddled in his sister’s arms. 

 "Let’s go," Fengxi said, holding his hand. 

After walking four blocks, the two of them turned a corner into a remote alley. Up ahead was an old house, seemingly uninhabited. The paint on the tall vermillion doors were faded and the eaves were covered in tightly woven cobwebs. In front of the door, one of the stone lions guarding the entrance had fallen, lying horizontally on the ground, covered in dust and fallen leaves. 

Fengxi walked over and with a wave of her sleeve, lifted the stone lion up to a stand. Holding onto Han Piao, she jumped on top of the stone lion, her movements agile and swift. 

With the appearance of the two of individuals amid the backdrop of a decrepit house with its cracked walls, broken tiles, and ground carpeted with fallen leaves, it was as if an old dull painting suddenly sparked with vitality, yet at the same time, the two people seemingly blended into the quietness of the timeworn ambience.  

Han Piao waited and waited but Fengxi remained silent so he couldn’t help but ask, "Elder Sister, aren’t we going to buy clothes? Why are we here?"

"Waiting for someone," Fengxi said as she leisurely took a seat on the stone lion and calmly rocked her legs. 

"Who are you waiting for?" Han Piao also sat down. Imitating her, he rocked his legs back and forth as he tilted his head to look up at her.

"Someone with the audacity to actually tail me." Fengxi’s eyes narrowed slightly, her gaze directed towards the sky. "If he doesn’t show himself, don’t blame me for not being courteous!"

As soon as her words fell, a dark figure descended from the skies to land on the ground. With his head bowed, he knelt down on his knee and respectfully said, "Greetings, Heroine Feng." 

"I’m neither your mother nor a government official. What are you kneeling for?" Fengxi eyed the man and leisurely stated, "I’ve never liked kneeling in front of others and don’t like people kneeling in front of me either."

Hearing this, the man got up and looked at Fengxi, asking, "Heroine Feng, do you happen to remember me?" 

Fengxi looked at him then nodded, "So it’s you. How have you been these years?"

The man appeared to be about 34 or 35 years of age. With a strong build in addition to a pair of thick brows and large eyes, he had a heroic quality to him. But regrettably, on his face was a long, unsightly scar that extended from the bridge of his nose to the right corner of his chin making him appear quite grisly.    

"You still remember me?" he asked in surprise. Seeing how Fengxi had not forgotten him, a happy smile appeared on his disfigured face. 

"My memory isn’t bad," Fengxi said with a light smile. " Yan Jiutai, Leader of the Thirty Eight Stockades of Wuyun(Black Cloud) six years ago. You were quite famous in the martial scene, how could I forget."

"Elder Sister, didn’t you destroy Wuyun’s Thirty Eight Stockades six years ago?" interrupted Han Piao, who was unmistakably convinced that he knew White(Bai) Feng and Black(Hei) Xi and everything that they had done in the martial world like the back of his hand.

Knocking him on the head, Fengxi chided, "When adults are talking, kids should stay quiet!"

"I’m not a kid. I’ll grow taller than you soon!" Han Piao rebuked, puffing out his chest.

Yan Jiutai watched their exchange with a smile and did not seem to mind Han Piao’s words. 

"Leader Yan, you’ve been following us since we left the gambling house, exactly what can I do for you? Do you want revenge for what happened six years ago?" Fengxi ignored Han Piao’s question and asked Yan Jiutai.

"Please don’t misunderstand, Heroine Feng." Yan Jiutai hurried to explain, "You’re still the same as you were six years ago. After entering the gambling house, you seem to have attracted the attention of a few people. I followed after you not to take revenge, but to repay you for saving my life six years ago!"

"Jiu Tai?" Feng Xi mumbled underneath her breath. When she came to a realization, she smiled and said, "So you are the owner of Jiu Tai Gambling House. No wonder I was discovered by you."

"Following the events that took place six years ago, I brought my brothers to settle down in Tai City. But with our history of thievery, we weren’t competent for any civil jobs. We could only make a living by opening gambling houses, pawn shops and restaurants. All those with the character Jiu and Tai in this city belong to us brothers," Yan Jiutai explained. 

"There’s nothing wrong with that, you’re making a proper living," Fengxi remarked. "I may have saved your life, but I was also the one that left that scar on your face. Those deeds cancel each other out, so there’s really no need to fixate on revenge or talks of gratitude." 

"No!" Yan Jiutai said, "I reap what I sow. This scar, I only have myself to blame. As for your saving grace, I must repay, otherwise I’ll feel troubled for eternity." 

"Oh? How exactly do you intend to repay my grace?" Fengxi asked, her eyes flashing brightly. 

Seeing this, Han Piao couldn’t help but worry for this Yan Jiutai. He feared the price for repaying such a grace would be far too hefty for Yan Jiutai to handle. 

"This humble one is willing to follow you, wait by your side as a slave, a servant, act as your dog, your horse," Yan Jiutai pledged as he knelt on the ground once more. 

"Oh?" The light in Fengxi’s eyes flickered as her left hand cupped her chin, her fingertips gently tapping her cheek rhythmically. "I thought you were going to gift me with loads of golden, silver leaves, and jewelry…. You know I’ve always been very poor. But who would’ve thought that was it."

As soon as Han Piao heard this, he thought to himself, I knew it. Fengxi liked to bully people and it seems that if this Yan Jiutai wasn’t going to offer up his possessions, he wasn’t going to be able to send this deity on her way. 

"Huh?" Yan Jiutai was momentarily stunned, but he quickly reacted and took out a silver token from his sleeve. "Heroine, with this token, you can withdraw gold, silver leaves from any Jiutai shop throughout Nan Kingdom!"

"Throughout Nan Kingdom?" Fengxi repeated with interest. Smiling sweetly she said, "It appears you’ve been doing quite well in recent years if you have shops throughout Nan Kingdom."  

"Decent enough," Yan Jiutai respectfully replied, though the pride in his voice was clearly evident. "Thanks to your teachings, over the years, us brothers have opened 82 shops throughout Nan Kingdom."

"Oh? Not bad indeed." Feng Xi nodded and asked, "You intend to give me all of these shops?"

As soon as she said this, Han Piao secretly sighed in his heart. This Yan Jiutai could be indebted to anyone in the world but unfortunately he was indebted to Fengxi. Look at his expression! He must be scared out of his mind. Who was willing to part ways with all his possessions? 

"Alright!" Yan Jiutai stated without hesitation.

"Huh?" Now it was Fengxi’s turn to be stunned. She thought Yan Jiutai would probably just thank her for saving his life with a few bags of gold and silver leaves at most. She only made such a proposal because she wanted to drive him away. Who knew he would actually agree….

"Please promise me and let me serve you!" Yan Jiutai implored as he continued kneeling on the ground with seemingly no intention of getting up. 

"Elder Sister, how did you save him?" Han Piao looked at Feng Xi suspiciously. How exactly did she save him that he would willingly relinquish all his hard-earned money just to pay her back? 

 "Yan Jiutai, you sure are generous. But there’s no need, I was joking just now." Fengxi jumped down from the stone lion and held Yan Jiutai’s arm to help him up from the ground. "Since you and your brothers have accumulated a fortune after all these years, you should protect it well, take care of your family with it and live a well-off life. As for me, I’m used to wandering on my own, I have no need for someone to wait upon me." 

"Heroine, I’ve handed off the responsibility over to my brothers before I came. They will preside over Jiutai’s business after my departure." Yan Jiutai stood up and looked at Fengxi earnestly. "Besides, I’m single, I have no family to take care of. Six years ago I made a vow to serve by your side for the rest of my life, I just haven’t had the chance to do so since I didn’t know where you were. Now that I’ve found you today, I will follow you till the end!" 

"Oh Lord! You came prepared!" Fengxi could feel a headache coming on as she rubbed her forehead. She then turned around and waved her hand and said, "Piao’er, come down here."

Han Piao gently jumped down from the stone lion. Once his foot touched the ground, Feng Xi grabbed his hand and quickly side-stepped Yan Jiutai, making a run for it as she yelled, "Yan Jiutai, you should quickly return, that’s repayment enough for me!"

"Heroine Feng! Wait for me!" Yan Jiutai did not give up and stubbornly gave chase. 

With people coming and going along the streets, it was difficult for Fengxi to use her full strength as she was afraid it would give the ordinary people a huge fright. Carrying Han Piao in her arms, she made a run for it. However, Yan Jiutai used to be Leader of the Thirty Eight Stockades and he too was skilled in martial arts. She would not be able to get him off her tail just by running like this. He was chasing after her closely, merely a distance of 10 feet away. 

After running through nine streets, turning seventeen corners, and jumping over thirty-two walls, Fengxi looked back and saw that Yan Jiutai was still intently following behind her so she finally stopped and let out a long sigh. 

In the middle of a secluded alley, Fengxi let go of Han Piao and sat down on the ground. Looking up at Yan Jiutai, she helplessly asked, "Do you really have to chase after me wherever I go?" 

"Yes… Yes!" Yan Jiutai replied. Unlike Fengxi, he was a little breathless after chasing her down for so long. "I vowed that I would serve Heroine for the rest of my life!"

"You are one scary fellow!" Fengxi remarked as she crossed her arms in front of her chest. She looked over at Han Piao and then at Yan Jiutai. After a moment of contemplation, she nodded and said, "Alright, you can follow along."

"Really? That’s great!" Yan Jiutai knelt down on one knee in front of Fengxi again. He reached out and pressed Fengxi’s hands gently against his forehead and said, "From this moment forth, I, Jiutai, pledge my loyalty to you! Whatever you shall order of me, I shall risk my life to fulfill!" 

 An oath lightly spoken, but the weight of each word, heavy as can be. 

Observing his movements, Fengxi suddenly asked, "You are from the Jiuluo Clan?"

With his gaze lowered, Yan Jiutai place a gentle kiss on her hands, his actions void of slightest impropriety and done with utmost respect and solemness. 

"Yes, Jiutai is from the Jiuluo Clan." he replied as he finally let go on Fengxi’s hand. 

"Jiuluo Clan huh? The mysterious clan that was exterminated by the first Emperor more than 300 years ago? It’s unexpected there’s still remnants of people from that clan." Fengxi’s gaze was deeply fixed on Yan Juitai for a moment. After some time, she waved her hand and said, "Alright, get up now. You don’t have to be so courteous. And don’t keep calling me Heroine, I have a name." 

"Yes, Miss." Yan Jiutai respectfully said as he came to his feet. 

Fengxi frowned but remained silent. After a while, she said, "Elder Brother Yan, since you lived in Tai City for a long time and know the area, please prepare a carriage for us and purchase some clothes for my younger brother."

"Yes!" Yan Jiutai immediately replied and then gently said, "Miss, can just call me Jiutai."

"What? You’re upset, think I’m calling you old?" Fengxi jumped to her feet and said, "You’re clearly older than me, it’s only right that I call you elder brother. Unless you want me to call you younger brother? I’m not that old am I?"

"No, I didn’t mean that!" Yan Jiutai hurried to say. 

"If not, that’s good!" Fengxi leisurely sat down again. "Elder Brother Yan, would you please hurry and prepare a carriage for us, and also buy some food along the way too? After running around so much, I’m starving." 

"Yes, I’ll go right away. Miss, please wait here!" Yan Jiutai said and quickly went to prepare the things she asked for. 

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