Craftsmanship on Par with Gods. Unrivalled Beauty and Talent in Shu
Nearly two hours passed they heard footsteps from the top. They were shocked just to hear Hong Jiu leading the Bai couple down the steps. None of them dared to mention a word about the kidnapping, yet Hong Jiu didn’t hesitate to share the news. Hence, all of them were grumpy when Hong Jiu brought the Bai couple to them – although Master Qi was actually grumpy because Hong Jiu ran off without her.
Bai Zhiqing strode forward and said, “Don’t stand on ceremony. Get out of your seat for my wife.”
Suffice to say, Bai Zhiqing making such a demand out of the blue upon arrival didn’t sit well with any of them. Ning Xinshi, being the gentleman he was, let Lady Bai have his seat, but he still turned to ask Hong Jiu, “Hero Hong, can you explain…?”
“Allow me to introduce them. This is Valley of Yearning’s Patriarch Bai and his wife.”
Bai Zhiqing needed no detailed introduction once his name was tied to his face, except that didn’t erase the hubristic impression he left due to his attitude upon arrival. If anything, he just made himself more enemies.
Ning Xinshi sternly stated, “Hero Hong, this is not a matter that can be publicised, even if the listener is Valley of Yearning’s patriarch.”
Yan Liren, as an unorthodox faction member, didn’t pull any punches. “If you have no business here, please leave.”
Once she was seated, Lady Bai leisurely said, “My presence is not important. If my husband were to leave, however, you’ll have nobody to cry to. Brother Hong, enlighten them.”
Hong Jiu informed, “You were mistaken. I am not the person you have been waiting for. These two are the people you have been waiting for.”
Lady Bai filled them in on the letter she received.
Hong Jiu pieced together what they told him and what Lady Bai told him about a secret that Jiang Chen had taken their relative hostage, which led him to the conclusion that the Bai couple were the final pieces of the puzzle.
Lady Bai stated, “Wet nurse is inside.”
Seeing them look perplexed, Bai Zhiqing grouched, “Her wet nurse, you morons!”
Hong Jiu: “Uh, Third Brother, I believe they knew that.”
“Huh? Then why look confused? My wife is saying that she, too, received a letter. Her wet nurse from when she was younger is locked inside, like your family members. My Lady, don’t rush. Take your time.” Bai Zhiqing helped his wife over to the locked door.
The group finally noticed the small bump on Lady Bai’s tummy and understood why Bai Zhiqing was constantly high strung.
After checking the slot, Lady Bai inquired, “We have someone who can use string?”
Yuan Mu: “Yes.”
“Check it again. I’ll take a look.”
For some reason, Yuan Mu didn’t show distaste despite the bossy vibe that Lady Bai gave off with her manner of expression. He took out a ball of silk and, in Mandarin, conveyed, “Brother Yan.”
Yan Liren placed both hands on Yuan Mu’s shoulders to support the latter.
“Use one hand,” instructed Lady Bai.
Yan Liren immediately frowned, but Lady Bai just put her hand on Yuan Mu’s right shoulder, completely ignoring Yan Liren. Yan Liren didn’t mind at that point since he realised she wanted to partake.
Yuan Mu commenced his exploration again. Thanks to his experience in the slot, he avoided the early traps and only let Yan Liren take control in times of tight junctures. Unfortunately, 80% of the design was the best they could achieve. This time, Yuan Mu sensed a soothing qi envelope him once he focused. This time, none of the mental obstacles got to him. Needless to say, he could tell it was thanks to the warm qi coming from his right shoulder.
“Done.” Yuan Mu retracted his string and instantly started drawing what he saw.
Meanwhile, Bai Zhiqing hurried over to help his wife. “Are you tired? I see sweat.”
Lady Bai smiled as her husband helped her wipe her sweat. “No, they did all the hard work. I’m fine.” The moment she turned back to the crowd, she went back to indifferent expression that they had just erased. “Pass me the frost jade and Black Aurum.”
Yu Yeshan and Wu Ping’s wife took a moment to accept what they just heard.
“This broadsword is this one’s shifu’s prized weapon. Unless success is absolutely guaranteed, please forgive this one for not obliging. W-, what are you doing?!”
Lady Bai seemingly ambled over, yet Yu Yeshan never realised how close she was. As soon as he felt her hand encroaching upon his back, he immediately spun around and jumped backwards. “Lady Bai, pl-” He reached behind to discover the broadsword was already missing.
Lady Bai had already finished her trip to Wu Ping’s wife’s side and was on her way back to her husband’s side, with one blade in her hand and a small pouch in the other. “Mm, this is enough. I shall make it.”
“W-when did you… Give me back my weapon!”
“Dear, find me a blacksmith workshop.” After gently expressing her request to her husband, Lady Bai turned back to Yu Yeshan and coldly chided. “You’re immature.” She stretched out a finger and extended her arm towards Yu Yeshan. As soon as the most terrifying thing ever to Yu Yeshan touched his chest, he fell over.
Bai Zhiqing wasted no time checking his wife’s pulse and massaging her arm. “I’ll bring thirty to you, even, let alone find you one. But, how do I leave right now?”
Having witnessed Lady Bai’s finger skill and ability to take the items without breaking a sweat, Ning Xinshi queried, “Is this one correct in his assumption that you know how to forge items, Lady Bai?”
Lady Bai tilted her head. “Mm.”
“What sort of stupid question is that? If my wife doesn’t know how to, everyone else should switch to kitchen work. Don’t just stand there. Bring me a workshop.”
Gu Bushang: “Didn’t your wife ask you to find one? How do you bring one over?”
“Another stupid question. You expect my wife to bring it over?”
“What is your probl-”
“Brother.” Ning Xinshi cut Gu Bushang off and said, “Make a trip with a group. Pay them double, and try your best to bring the workshop over.”
Gu Bushang looked back at Ning Xinshi, then Hong Jiu. Ning Xinshi and Hong Jiu deployed nods. In the end, Gu Bushang went off whilst cursing under his breath.
Lady Bai took her husband’s hand. “I can go.”
Bai Zhiqing shook his head. “Stay here and rest. You just exerted yourself and will need to make the key later. You can’t waste energy.”
Ning Xinshi stared at Lady Bai, forgetting how long he was staring.
“What sort of scholar are you, staring at a man’s wife without blinking? I don’t care how beautiful my wife is. You’re not allowed to stare.”
Hong Jiu: “He has a point, Mr. Ning.”
Ning Xinshi still didn’t bat an eye. Instead, he kept wrinkling his nose until he finally asked, “This old one has a feeling he has met you before. Could you possibly… tell him the name of the wet nurse?”
It wasn’t Lady Bai’s beauty that captivated Ning Xinshi. It was her aloof demeanour akin to that of stone that he could never forget.
“Are you serious right now? Brother Hong, can I have my broadsword back right now?”
“We’ve met before,” emotionlessly replied Lady Bai.
Lady Bai gently nodded her head. “I remember seeing you at Mount Qingcheng’s forgery event twenty-six years ago with your father. I believe I exchanged a greeting or two with you.”
Ning Xinshi stretched his eyes wide. “It… It… You really did not die. Fantastic. Fantastic! With you here, there is no lock that can stop us. Even if Jiang Chen were here, he would only be holding his own funeral.”
Hong Jiu: “Mr. Ning, you know her?”
“Putting aside whether this old one is acquainted with her or not, who does not recognise ‘Craftsmanship on par with gods. Unrivalled beauty and talent in Shu,’ Tang Clan’s former matriarch?!”
Refer to Chapter 66 of Volume 11.5 for some mystery busting. You should be able to piece some things together from it.