Chapter 44 – Trapped Her Long Enough
Early in the morning, the Merak Temple is shrouded in mist.
Qi Qiqi stepped out of the main hall and walked towards the wide square outside. Ye Zhen followed closely behind.
Despite the gray mist obstructing the vision, the two carriages parked in the center of the square are still conspicuous.
Several disciples are moving the luggage of passengers into the carriages.
Her arms folded, Xia Xue’s silhouette can be seen standing next to the carriages. As one of the Merak Temple’s five Elders, she is naturally qualified to stand idly by.
Apparently aware that someone was approaching, Xia Xue tilted her head, and her gaze fell accurately on Ye Zhen. Ye Zhen’s unveiled aura is really hard to ignore.
“Little Sister Temple Master, Uncle Teacher Ye.” After waiting for the two to approach, Xia Xue greeted them.
Ye Zhen nodded his head in response.
“Senior Disciple Sister Xia, are you ready?” Qi Qiqi glanced at the carriages and asked.
“That’s good then.” Qi Qiqi nodded, and then asked a little doubtfully: “Where’s Qing’er?”
Gong Tianqing will also travel to Chang’an as a representative, but Qi Qiqi can’t see her anywhere.
“She’s arranging the luggage in the carriage, where else?” Xia Xue raised the corners of her mouth and teased, “Are you worried about your little disciple, Little Sister Temple Master? What a good teacher you are, just like a mother.”
“Not at all!” Qi Qiqi showed a look of embarrassment, “I was just afraid that she’d oversleep and delay you, Senior Disciple Sister Xia, that’s all.”
In fact, Gong Tianqing does indeed oversleep occasionally.
Xia Xue snickered a few times, but didn’t go on.
The curtain of one of the carriages was lifted open, and a cute round face protruded out.
It was Gong Tianqing. She looked around a few times, and then her eyes finally locked on Qi Qiqi.
“Oh, Tea, Teacher!” Looking startled, Gong Tianqing quickly alighted the carriage and came to Qi Qiqi.
Then she made an “ah” sound, her tone a little high, “Vice, vice-Temple Master Ye …”
Probably because Ye Zhen’s majestic aura was overwhelmed by Qi Qiqi’s presence, Gong Tianqing took half a beat to notice Ye Zhen who was half-hidden behind Qi Qiqi.
“It seems that Martial Grandniece Gong is still rather afraid of me …” Ye Zhen sighed softly. He spoke very quietly, so only Qi Qiqi could hear him.
Why’s that… Qi Qiqi still nodded.
Gong Tianqing resembled a frightened squirrel. Not only did she look away, but she also shrank into herself, looking smaller.
Ye Zhen’s aura is too threatening. Naturally, it is one of the reasons why Gong Tianqing recoiled. But the most important reason is that Gong Tianqing is quite timid, especially when facing men.
Ye Zhen also knew about this, as Qi Qiqi has once mentioned it to him.
Trying to soften his expression as much as possible, he smiled and nodded to Gong Tianqing.
But… Gong Tianqing took a few steps back, scared.
The corners of your mouth twitching, do you call that a smile? Looking at Ye Zhen’s forced smile, Qi Qiqi facepalmed helplessly.
Seeing Gong Tianqing react in this way, Ye Zhen felt awkward.
As Xue Qilin has said, Ye Zhen is a clumsy person who doesn’t know how to express himself.
However, Xue Qilin has also said that Qi Qiqi is a clumsy person. In fact, the parties concerned are somewhat conscious of this.
In order to eliminate everyone’s embarrassment, Qi Qiqi cleared her throat.
“Qing’er, do you have everything you need?” After getting everyone’s attention, she asked Gong Tianqing.
“I, I should have everything.” Gong Tianqing replied in an uncertain tone.
“What do you mean by you should have? You either have or don’t!” Qi Qiqi originally wanted to say this, but when she saw Gong Tianqing’s timid face, she couldn’t bear it.
“Qing’er, you don’t need to care about us.” Qi Qiqi said softly, “Go on and do your work.”
Gong Tianqing nodded repeatedly, and then climbed back into the carriage after excusing herself.
“I really wish Qing’er would be more confident.” Qi Qiqi sighed and murmured.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with her.” Xia Xue said to herself, “This is her true self.”
That’s easy for you to say! Qi Qiqi vented secretly.
“What if she’s bullied!”
Xia Xue still disagreed with Qi Qiqi’s statement, “Who dares to bully her? Her teacher is the majestic Merak Temple’s Temple Master.” She showed a profound smile and carried on, “and there’s still the Young Ancestor in your corner, Little Sister Temple Master!”
When she heard that, Qi Qiqi indeed felt that few people would dare to bully Gong Tianqing… at least in the Merak Temple.
“But Qing’er still has to learn to stand on her two feet!”
“Although she’s timid, but that doesn’t mean she can’t.” Xia Xue put a strand of hair behind her ear, “You’re worrying too much, and are a bit nosy.”
Qi Qiqi folded her arms and retorted, slightly dissatisfied: “I’m not…”
Before she could finish speaking, Xia Xue interrupted and changed the subject, “Little Sister Temple Master, you didn’t wake up the Young Ancestor today?”
Xia Xue may have just asked casually, but Qi Qiqi suddenly became strange, “She went into closed door cultivation.”
“Closed door cultivation!?” Xia Xue’s eyes widened in surprise, “That Young Ancestor? How is that possible.”
Xia Xue unconsciously raised her voice and attracted the gazes of the surrounding disciples.
“Martial Niece Xia, your reaction is too exaggerated.” Ye Zhen cleared his throat and stated.
His face was a bit distorted as if he was holding back something, not letting it show on his face.
Not caring about Ye Zhen’s reminder, Xia Xue still looked at Qi Qiqi with a stunned expression.
“She left a note in her quarters stating that she went to the Sword Mound for closed door cultivation, and for us not to look for her.”
When Qi Qiqi saw the note for the first time, her expression was even more exaggerated than Xia Xue’s.
Such a reaction is understandable. After all, the fact that the Young Ancestor is lazy is well-known throughout the Merak Temple.
After more than two months of contact with Xue Qilin, Qi Qiqi has never seen the other practice her skills.
This really isn’t an exaggeration, but the naked truth.
Of course, who knows if she just doesn’t train in front of others.
At this moment…
“Ah?” Qi Qiqi saw a thing.
“Qian Duoduo, what’s that? Whose luggage is that?”
That thing is a chest at least six chi  long. Judging from the expressions of the two disciples, the chest should be heavy.
“That’s something that the Young Ancestor instructed to load. I don’t know what it is.” Qian Duoduo overseeing the whole operation promptly answered Qi Qiqi’s question. This time around, he is also in charge of driving.
The Young Ancestor went into secluded cultivation? Qi Qiqi’s gaze focused on the chest, feeling suspicious. She then remembered that Xue Qilin has proposed to let her go to Chang’an.
Don’t tell me…
A box of that size is enough to hold a lot of things. Such as a person, a mechanical sword, or the Merak Temple’s Young Ancestor and her new sword.
The corners of Qi Qiqi’s eyes twitched, and she ordered: “Put it down.”
The two disciples followed suit and put down the chest.
“Little Sister Temple Master, this chest holds… my clothes.” Qi Qiqi was about to approach the chest, when Xia Xue who has been silently watching the goings on suddenly spoke.
“Your clothes, Senior Disciple Sister Xia?” Qi Qiqi was startled, “Such a big a chest?”
“Yeah, I’m rather particular about this, so I brought a little more.”
Ye Zhen looked away, and the corners of his mouth twitched unnaturally.
Qi Qiqi was speechless for a while, thinking that Xia Xue’s excuse is ridiculous, too ridiculous.
Qi Qiqi has seen the other party’s wardrobe. Not only is it several times larger than her’s, but it is also packed. But that doesn’t mean that Xia Xue traveling with such a large chest of clothes is reasonable.
Truth be told, Qi Qiqi didn’t believe Xia Xue’s pretext at all.
She even wondered if the other side thought her to be a fool. Otherwise, why else would the other party think that she would believe such a bad excuse?
Senior Disciple Sister Xia wouldn’t be in cahoots with Little Xue, would she? The more Qi Qiqi thought, the more she felt like it was plausible.
“Senior Disciple Sister Xia, you think I will believe that?” Qi Qiqi didn’t know whether to feel angry or amused.
“Well, it’s indeed hard to believe.” Xia Xue admitted readily.
“What are you up to?!” Qi Qiqi asked, both puzzled and angry.
“I just thought it would be more fun.”
“Fun!?” Qi Qiqi couldn’t help raising her voice. This answer was beyond her expectation, “How is that fun?”
Xia Xue just shrugged her shoulders and gave no explanation.
At this moment…
“Temple Master, it won’t hurt to let her go out for a walk.” The one who spoke was Ye Zhen.
“You too, Uncle Teacher Ye?!” Qi Qiqi looked at Ye Zhen in disbelief.
Ye Zhen sighed and continued with a complex expression: “The Merak Palace has trapped her long enough.”
“…!” Qi Qiqi froze.
… trapped her for a long time.
Qi Qiqi almost forgot, forgot about the fact that Xue Qilin has been locked up in the Sword Mound since she was a young.
No, she didn’t forget it, she just ignored it selectively. She doesn’t want Xue Qilin to go out… because she’s afraid that Xue Qilin won’t come back again… just like her father.
The Heavenly Sword Sect matter has left a shadow in her heart.
That time, Xue Qilin almost didn’t come back, and Luo Qing…
Am I being selfish? Qi Qiqi clutched her sleeves.
She feel that she is. However, people are selfish, and she doesn’t think she is wrong. But…
Won’t I become a villain like this? Qi Qiqi sighed.
After a long moment of silence, Qi Qiqi lowered her head, dejected: “Fine, If she wants to go, then let her go.”
She felt a touch of guilt.
There is never a reason to tie people down.
As soon as the carriages left the boundary of the Merak Temple, Xia Xue knocked the large chest that took up half of the carriage’s space, “Hey, the fool inside, I will seal the chest if you don’t come out!”
Under Gong Tianqing’s gaze of surprise, the chest suddenly swayed.
Along with bumping sounds, the lid of the chest opened.
The first thing that entered her eyes was a big sword thrown out of the chest by someone. And then…
“It’s so suffocating in there!”
A petite girl crawled out of the chest.
“Young Ancestor!” Gong Tianqing exclaimed. She didn’t expect that the Young Ancestor would crawl out of the chest.
“Hey, Little Qing, you are still as cute as always!” Xue Qilin ignored Gong Tianqing’s dumbstruck expression and pinched her face, “Hey hey hey, the skin is still so smooth.”
“Oh, Young Ancestor, you have the courage to “bully” Qing’er?”
Recalling what Qi Qiqi and them have discussed just now, Xue Qilin shuddered, “Ha-ha, how can it be considered bullying? It’s an expression of my affection for Qing’er!”
“Hah, who knows…” Xia Xue looked away, “You have a transgression under your belt.”
“I would never!” Xue Qilin denied righteously.
“Huh? Was it my imagination?” Xia Xue tilted her head in doubt, “I seem to have seen you chase after Little Qing with strange clothes and ask her to put them on.”
“What are you calling strange clothes! It’s called a maid dress, okay?”
“Who cares whether its maid dress or a manservant dress. Anyway, I saw it.”
When she said “saw it”, Xia Xue bit her teeth hard.
Xue Qilin’s expression clearly became sluggish. She didn’t miss the trace of ridicule at the corners of Xia Xue’s mouth.
“Young, Young Ancestor, why, are you here?” At this moment Gong Tianqing finally came back to her senses and stammered.
“It’s a long story.”
“What’s so long about it? Didn’t you just sneak out without the Temple Master’s knowledge?!” Xia Xue rolled her eyes.
“That, that’s not good…” Gong Tianqing said in a panic.
“That’s not it! Little Seven knows all about it!” Xue Qilin disagreed with Xia Xue’s statement.
“Oh, that sounds great! Let’s reveal everything, how about it? If it wasn’t for the help of that lecher, how could the Temple Master turn a blind eye and pretend that she didn’t see anything?”
At this point, Xia Xue adopted a sarcastic tone and went on to say: “Anyway, you’re such a fool! Did you really think that you’d deceive everybody with that flimsy method?”
“I thought the luggage would be loaded in advance!”
“You thought…” Xia Xue dragged out the last word, an enigmatic smile on her face.
“Okay, okay, I know I was naive.” Xue Qilin wrinkled her nose.
“That said, you still have to think of an explanation when we return.” Propping her head up with a hand, Xia Xue gloated.
“Wait, Little Seven obviously didn’t expose me!” Startled, Xue Qilin almost jumped up.
“Young Ancestor, how can you have such a narrow vision? Just because she didn’t expose you, does that mean that she isn’t angry?”
That’s right! Why didn’t I think of that? Little Seven might be waiting to settle accounts when the time is ripe… Thinking till here, Xue Qilin suddenly became listless.
“Anyhow, why do you want to go out of the temple?” Looking out the window, Xia Xue pretended not to care.
There was a long moment of silence.
“Someone said that she can no longer accompany me…” Xue Qilin revealed a smile of reminiscence, “… so I have to go out by myself.”
“That so?” Xia Xue replied without looking back.
 – Chi (尺) = 1/3 m, so 6 chi is 2 meters.