(5) After storm
The four of them took good care of Qianqian day after day intensively. Finally, it reached the forty-ninth day of the seventh layer. Mulun said: “The last day is the most important. If we were not cautious, we may failed for the last moment. I will watch her the first twelve hours with Ahwu. Yueqiao and uncle Cao take the last twelve. Yueqiao, you haven’t slept much, you should really take a rest now. Tonight we couldn’t afford any mistake, do you understand.”
Yueqiao understood, of course, so he listened to Mulun, left the yurt of Qianqian, followed Cao Hook went to his. But even he was trying to sleep, he couldn’t. He walked outside, looked at the sky as the night was approaching. Cao Hook was awaken by him, seeing him so sleepless, he was worried, but dare not to talk to him. He just shook his head and sighed. But when he imagined once Qianqian recovered, and marry Yueqiao, he will have daughter-in-law and grandchildren. He couldn’t heIp but smirking by himself. Suddenly he saw Yueqiao was walking away from the yurt. He immediately got off the bed and followed. It has already twilight with the rising evening fog. The snow was melting and the blue lake was slowly resumed. It was still earlier but better earlier to replace Mulun and Ahwu. Yueqiao was walking so fast. Cao Hook hurried up. Suddenly, he saw Yueqiao fell on the ground. He ran straight to lift him up. He saw his face was so pale, and the corner of his mouth was bleeding. He couldn’t help but yelled: “Yueqiao! Yueqiao! You wake up!”
The screams alarmed Mulun and Ahwu in the Qianqian’s yurt. Mulun’s muttered: “Is the poison in Yueqiao also relapsed at this time?” She rushed out of the yurt, saw Cao Hook was swaying him. Mulun quickly ran over, took his wrist to check his pulse. After that, she pointed several acupuncture points on his face. Yueqiao slowly returned to conscious. Mulun just sighed of relief and looked back. Ahwu was standing outside the yurt, watching them anxiously. Mulun saw that everyone is out then who is guarding Qianqian? She hurriedly shouted: “Ahwu, where is Qianqian?” Ahwu was aware, but when she look back inside, she couldn’t answer. After a moment, she shouted: ” She….she is gone!”
Mulun and Cao Hook was regretted and worried. Yueqiao heard that Qianqian was gone, he immediately stood up and said: “She must not be far, we are going to find her back.” He lifted his chest to inspirit the others with a smile of trust. Mulun then patted the shoulder of Ahwu: “Let’s find her separately!”
Mulun went to the east, when Ahwu went to the west. Cao Hook followed Yueqiao to the mountainside because he was worried his injury.
Yueqiao walked along the mountain trail, and his heart has long been chaotic. He didn’t know the direction. He just walked into the woods. The moon beam was dissolved, the trees were faded, the frost was slippery, and the night was cold. Yueqiao accidentally stepped on a piece of spring ice, then slipped down to the ravine. Yueqiao was sitting there, held on his painful chest. For a moment, he did not want to look for Qianqian anymore. He thought: if she was dead, I am afraid I will not live any much long. Even if I was sad, it won’t take so long. But at once he changed his mind: No, if she died here, then she will never able to go back to Songhu Island. She loves there so much. She can’t stand missing it forever. I can’t let her die here. Immediately he regain his faith. He quickly stood up, climbed back to the slope, continued to search her along the trail.
Cao Hook was behind him, trying not to let him know. When he slipped into the ravine. He didn’t dare to help but just waited. He saw him coming back with strength walking up to the hill. He was encouraged. The two had walked around in the woods for several hours, but they found nothing. The longer they walked, the more they seemed to be in the same place. Yueqiao stopped and sighed: “Uncle Cao, are we lost?”
Cao Hook suprised that he was aware that he was following. He walked outside of the bushes, moved closer to him, said: “Yueqiao, we will definitely find her.”
Yueqiao glanced at him with deep affection, quiet then abruptly asked: “Uncle Cao, if you could never find your son, what would you do?”
Cao Hook was questioned in such a situation, he answered sternly. “I want him to live happily.”
Yueqiao listened and solemnly replied: “He will definitely.”
Steadily a cold breeze blew, opened a secluded path on the edge of the mountain. They saw at the end of the path, a shadow floated. It was Qianqian. Cao Hook and Yueqiao immediately went over there by dialing the grass along the path. They saw Qianqian was standing on a hanging stone at the edge of the cliff. Her body was swaying like sleepwalking, her heels was lifted sometime as if she was jumping. Yueqiao was eager to call her, but stopped by Cao Hook: “Don’t wake her up, have you forgotten what Mulun said? If she was woken up during sleepwalking, she will never gone through the nightmare.” He observed the sky, then said, “The time is almost over, we should bear for a while longer!”
Yueqiao nodded. He felt fortunate to be reminded in time. Then the two moved closer behind her, hiding nearby, holding their breathe, watching her tightly. After a while, the sky was getting bright, and a morning ray illumined Qianqian’s face. The mountain breeze blew her long hair, clinging on her face. Unintentionally, something slipped down from her waist, light and soft fluttering to Yueqiao. It spinned in the air before it drifted away. Yueqiao noticed that it was her handkerchief. He impulsively leapt to grab it. He forgot that he had lost his light power possibly. He stepped on space. Cao Hook was terrified by his rash act. He immediately grabbed his feet. The two men fell on ground. Although Yueqiao swept back the handkerchief, he was half way out of the cliff. If it wasn’t Cao Hook hugged him in a hurry. He would have already fell and crashed.
Cao Hook was shocked and annoyed for that he was so infatuated. Before they have recovered from this incident. Qianqian dropped herself on the ground. At this time, Mulun and Ahwu also found them. Mulun quickly held Qianqian up, checked her breath, listened to her pulse, and then smiled: “Well, she finally came back.”
Yueqiao was elated, he was about to go to look at her, but suddenly he vomited blood and fainted. Mulun sighed significantly: “One just good and the other bad.”
Cao Hook carried Yueqiao, Mulun carried Qianqian, with Ahwu, they went down the hill back to the yurt.
Mulun placed Qianqian on the bed, and believed that it would take her a period of time before she could fully rehabilitate. When Ahwu was accompanying her, she came over to see Yueqiao. He was still unconscious and Cao Hook was meditating. He saw Mulun coming in, he raised and said: “Mulun, I have to save Yueqiao. I want to pass through him all my internal strength in order to revive his two hundunds acupuncture points. But this will take a lot of energy and it will also take a long time, and I am… I am not sure….” He dropped his head, deliberated for a while, looked at Yueqiao, then said sternly: “Mulun, Miaoyin Tianjun is the first class internal power master. It is unfathomable for me of the acupuncture points he had sealed by himself. I am afraid that no one actually could resolve it. But I can’t just sit and watch him die. Even I am not sure, I have to try. If there was any incident, Mulun, you have to promise me, save Yueqiao first.”
Mulun honestly listened to what he had to say, fully understood what he meant, and calmly said: ” Uncle Cao, I promise you.” Then he lifted Yueqiao and pricked his forehead with a silver needle to revive his sensations. Seeing his eyelids slightly lifted, he whispered in his ear: “Yueqiao, Uncle Cao is going to work for you, you have to be patient.” Yueqiao dropped his eyelids again without answered. Cao Hook then crossed his leg and meditated. His eyes were closed. His arms lifted. Then drew a circle to press his dantian. Soon white smoke was raised from his zenith of head. The fervor in his dantian drove the white smoke to rain. At this time, Cao Hook was already sweaty and sizzling. Suddenly he pushed forward with his palms to the back of Yueqiao. The drive was straight and vigorous, and his strength was slowly transmitting. Yueqiao graduately recovered. His face turned ruddy and started breathing normally. Mulun clenched her fists, sat by the side, watching intensively. She was touched by the fatherhood love. She has faith that Yueqiao will be saved.
Cao Hook had been working on this over an hour. He looked exhausted. Suddenly he shouted meanwhile his palms were rebounded. He fell down and slided to the wall. Mulun was terrified. She quickly hold him back and found that he was bleeding from his nose. Cao Hook wiped the blood, looked back at Yueqiao, who fainted instantly once without his support. He fell grievously and vomited blood. His palms was shaking and he looked horrified. Mulun was worried and said: “Uncle Cao, don’t be too forceful!”
Cao Hook was blank while looking at Yueqiao. He was feeling so sad that even he passed him all his strength, still couldn’t save his life. He wanted to see Yueqiao but he felt that his legs was numb. So Mulun was holding his arms moving him to the bed. He sat by the side of Yueqiao, a sheepskin necklace just slipped out from his collar, and a black cross was hanging there. Cao Hook quickly picked it up and looked at the bottom of it. Another small cross was engraved under it. Cao Hook suddenly burst into tears. He gazed at Yueqiao. Hands shivering, nodded and smiled: “He is really my son.”
Qianqian and Yueqiao stayed in different yurt for many days until they gradually returned to conscious. This morning, when Yueqiao opened his eyes, he felt refreshed. He immediately stood up, saw Aunt Mu was standing in front with her composed smile as usual. He touched his body and said: “How come I am still not dead?”
Mulun smiled and said: “Uncle Cao used all his internal strength to keep you alive, but if you wanted to continue living, you have to think of a way to resolve the turmoil in your body. Right?”
Yueqiao stretched out and yawned, said: “Isn’t it good yet to be alive now?”
Mulun sighed: “I really don’t understand what you are thinking. You know Qianqian is good now. Don’t you want to be with her forever?”
When Mulun mentioned of Qianqian, Yueqiao was suddenly quiet. Mulun continued: “The only person in this world who can unlock all your acupuncture points is Miaoyin Tianjun. I am going to visit Icy Jade Palace with Uncle Cao….maybe…”
Yueqiao had not waited for her to finish, he laughed and said: “Aunt Mu, don’t be silly. What kind of person is Miaoyin? I know him the best. You go to beg him, it will only waste two more lives.”
Mulun wanted to persuade him, but Yueqiao refused: “Stop talking about that! I am in a good mood today, don’t spoil it with such a bummer! Please, okay?” When it came to the last two words, his tone got softened dramatically. He looked around and saw there was something placed on side of the bed, he asked curiously, “Hey! What is this?”
Seeing that he was not anxious about his life, instead, he cared about a piece of clothes. Mulun smiled helplessly and said: “This is the wool deel that the patriarch sent to you . Qianqian also has one. He knew that you both finally beat the demons and escaped from the dead. He is hosting a banquet in the camp tonight for the celebration!”
Yueqiao picked up the deel and looked at it wittingly. It seems durable and very warm. He quickly put it on, before he buttoned it up, he yet hurriedly asked Mulun: “Aunt Mu! How do you think?” He was thinking: Qianqian also has one. I wonder how does she looked like if she worn it?
Thereupon Cao Hook flipped the curtain and coming in, said: “Is it? Then I really have to go to the Songhu Island to see…”
Yueqiao noticed that it was Qianqian came together with him. She wore a new snow white deel, embroidered with traditional embossed patterns on her collar and cuffs, with yellow ribbon around her waist. She also combed her hair very smoothly, with two long braid hanged like hemp rope on her shoulders. Her cheeks are rosy like a baby. Her smile like bud of early spring. Yueqiao squinted at her and think: This fool head got fat quite fast!
Qianqian was trim and delicate today. She bowed to Aunt Mu, and then she turned to look at Yueqiao. Yueqiao quickly went forward and teased: “Wow! You finally look alive today, isn’t she?”
Mulun and Cao Hook listened and laughed pleasantly. They watched Qianqian faked angry, but was actually consoled, grateful and appeased when she looked at Yueqiao.
At this time, Ahwu also rushed into the yurt. Everyone saw that she was holding a plate in her hand with a few cups on it. They smelled the scent of tea with smoke above it. Ahwu said: “Qianqian, you recovered now, shouldn’t you thank for my father and Aunt Mu? It isn’t too much to ask you to offer them a cup of tea to pay reverence!”
Ahwu said nothing more than to realize the wish of Cao Hook. He longed to drink a cup of tea from Qianqian, his future daughter-in-law as he wished. So Ahwu wanted to matchmaking Yueqiao and Qianqian by doing this.
Cao Hook and Mulun listened to what Ahwu said, they looked a bit embarrassed. They were humbly refusing to take such a honor. Qianqian knew that the motivation of Ahwu, but she didn’t mind at all to do so, for indeed they had saved her life. They absolutely deserved a cup of tea. Then she was happily picking up the tea, stepping forward to the front of Cao Hook. Cao Hook was chuckling cheerfully. Ahwu reminded him, “Dad! sit down!”
Cao Hook then sat down, Qianqian then kneeled elegantly to present the cup with both hands. Cao Hook took the cup, had a sip, and nodded with contentment, hurriedly hold her hands to life her up, said gleefully: “Get up! Get up!”
Although this was not a tea of daughter-in-law yet, he had drunk it with great joy from the bottom of his heart. He then looked at Yueqiao who seemed have nothing to do with this. He crossed his arms in front of his chest, frowning, pouting. His expression was weird.
Qianqian offered another cup of tea to Aunt Mu. She accepted while she was standing. She drank the tea, and smiled subtly: “Who else?”
Once it was asked, everybody looked at Yueqiao, then Qianqian picked up the last cup of tea, turned to Yueqiao, respectfully said: “Yueqiao, this cup of tea is my gratitude to you.”
Yueqiao rolled his eyeball, standing still without receiving. Ahwu so teased: “Well! Yueqiao, what are you afraid of? Just a cup of tea. Not yet of what are you thinking!” The words have not finished, Yueqiao has blushed while gazing at this Qianqian, what a gentle and dignified little daughter-in-law. He has never imagined, he swears. Thinking of he is going to marry her, spend a life with this trouble making woman, his heart was in chaos of sweetness and bitterness. With a film of smoke in his eyes, he was embarrassed and said: “You…all just making out a mess!” as soon as he said that, he dashed off the yurt. Cao hook, Mulun and Ahwu watched him acting as shy as a young girl, were bursted into laughers. Qianqian smiled tranquilly. She was like a sea after storm.