Foolishly Swindled by an Unscrupulous Person

As the waxing moon neared, the dripping water transformed into ice.

Despite being given a sick leave for a month, Ming Qin had been bedridden for several days, feeling as if her body was decaying.

Only after demonstrating her well-being by scaling the walls of the camp, did the master relent and permit her to venture outside.

“According to legend, there once existed a black creature in the Western Region’s jungles that resembled a combination of a monkey and a human.
This beast possessed a large body with muscular arms, and even though it had three arrows piercing its flesh, it was capable of freely moving through the treetops.
This creature was called Vajra.”

Lin Yan appeared perplexed and turned to his sister, remarking, “Master, I believe Qin Qin and Vajra might be distant relatives.”

The elderly man, sporting half-white hair and bare-chested with crisscrossing scars, responded, “As of late, Qin Qin has been acting peculiarly.”

“After lunch, the ninth month vacation disappeared in a flash.
Could it be that she has a romantic appointment?” Lin Yan chuckled, but after contemplating for a moment, he shook his head and deemed it unlikely.
Qin Qin possessed impressive martial arts abilities, yet her mind was as pure as a child’s, and she paid no attention to matters of romantic love, whether it be with males or females.
“Perhaps she has stumbled upon a new pastry shop in the market.”

The elderly man remained silent, simply stroking his beard while deep in thought.

With a tattered bag clutched in her arms, Ming Qin nimbly bounded across the roof of the building, clutching a container filled with steamed dumplings that she had just purchased.

Master and the others were greatly overreacting.
Despite only suffering from blood loss and not a broken limb, they insisted on keeping her bedridden for the rest of her life to recover.

Even though she had been immobile for an extended period, she had recovered to around 50-60% of her full strength, which was sufficient to climb the Hidden Moon Tower without the danger of falling to her death.

Ming Qin’s thoughts drifted towards her commitment to the County Princess, causing her to become restless and fidgety.

It was imperative that she delivered the dumplings while they were still hot.

As Ming Qin hastened her pace, she unintentionally slipped on an icy tile and tumbled down three feet, grasping onto a narrow crevice in the wall with her five fingers to prevent a fatal fall.

Ming Qin heard the sound of a muffled cough and clenched her teeth to bear the pain from her lacerated wound.
With a flourish, she hoisted herself up and vaulted into the room through the window.
Murong Yan lay weakly on her back, struggling to keep her eyelids open as she gazed upon Ming Qin’s arrival.

After surveying the pale countenance of the County Princess, Ming Qin hastily unloaded her belongings and approached her to roll up her sleeve and take her pulse meticulously.

In her intense concentration, Ming Qin failed to notice Murong Yan’s widened eyes, fixated on Ming Qin’s wrist that she had weakly grasped.

Suppressing the discomfort in her eyes, Murong Yan spoke indifferently, “I never expected you to have any knowledge of medicine.”

“It’s only rudimentary,” Ming Qin replied.
The shadow guards taught her the basics of medicine, and the master had always stressed the importance of her learning it thoroughly, so that even if she wasn’t skilled, she could at least save herself during crucial moments.

Despite her limited expertise, Ming Qin could discern that the County Princess had a deficiency of vital energy, and the cold from the harsh winter had invaded her lung meridians, which her frail body was struggling to endure.

Ming Qin’s typically gentle demeanor was now tinted with a hint of anger, as her face flushed slightly.
“Where is the doctor? Is everyone else bringing rice bowls to the doctor?” she asked.

Ever since having her leg amputated, Murong Yan detested being examined by the imperial doctor, and the mere thought of anyone touching her skin while taking her pulse made her recoil.
Before she could say anything further, a tickle in her throat caused her to cough once again.

Ming Qin hurriedly stepped into the room, lifting the bed covers, reaching out with her arm to hold up the quilt, and walking back to the bed.
She wrapped Murong Yan warmly in the quilt, holding the woman’s body and gently patting her back.

Murong Yan’s body weakened with every cough, and she trembled with a faint groan.
She was clearly in distress.

Ming Qin’s expression showed her concern as she adjusted Murong Yan’s collar and gently applied pressure to the tiantu acupoint on her collarbone with her thumb.

“Don’t worry, everything will be alright,” Ming Qin comforted Murong Yan in a soft voice as she held the woman in her arms while she continued to cough and her eyes became teary.

Gasping for breath, Murong Yan raised her eyes to the audacious person before her.
It was the first time she had been so close to Ming Qin, and she could now take a closer look at her features.

Ming Qin’s face could be described as decent-looking, but not particularly striking.
Her features were not particularly beautiful or ugly, just average.

Her pure eyes were so clear and bright that they seemed to chase away the darkness and shine wherever they went, making it hard to look away when she looked up.

Despite not seeing her for over a month, Murong Yan didn’t feel like they had grown apart.
She noticed the gauze on Ming Qin’s forehead and a thin scar that had scabbed over on her cheek.
The smell of medicinal wine clung to her, which seemed odd as she should have been clean.

Ming Qin’s thumbs, callused and thin, scraped against the skin of Murong Yan, who squirmed uncomfortably.

Murong Yan then asked Ming Qin to help her get up, and she reached for her collar, ignoring the worried look on the other woman’s face.
She pointed her index finger at the steamer that had been on the table for a while.

Only then did Ming Qin remember to open the steamer and found the crescent-shaped steamed dumplings inside, already cold and hard.

Ming Qin felt embarrassed for a moment and was about to cover the lid of the steamer when Murong Yan interrupted her with a request, “Bring it here.”

Ming Qin responded, “But they are already cold,” in a low tone.

There were two clanging noises.

Murong Yan gestured towards the coffee table with her finger without saying a word.
Reluctantly, Ming Qin placed the steamer in front of the County Princess and watched as she calmly picked up a steamed dumpling and put it in her mouth, chewing it slowly.

After a while, Ming Qin cried out as if she had remembered something.
She saw the shadow guard pull out a cloth bag from her chest in a panic and take out a dirty, greasy paper bag.

“This is the gift I promised to bring you, not a steamed dumpling,” she said, rolling up her sleeves and wiping the greasy paper bag hard before handing it to the woman in front of her.

Without showing any disgust, Murong Yan put down her chopsticks and took the gift, untying the twine to reveal a tea brick that was already slightly broken.
She sniffed it lightly and asked, “Green tea leaves? Did you go to Min Di?”

Ming Qin froze, her hand that was adding charcoal still in mid-air, as a deep expression of panic overtook her face.

Murong Yan, observing the fearful expression on Ming Qin’s face, chose not to press the matter further.
In relief, Ming Qin handed over the boiling water to Murong Yan and started speaking eagerly.
“I had no idea that there were so many different types of tea available.
The lady at the teahouse was explaining them to me and I got so confused.
She said this tea was the best in the world, and only Min…their family produces it.”

Ming Qin glanced warily at Murong Yan, who seemed relaxed while preparing the tea, before continuing, “The lady even promised that if it didn’t taste good, I could come back and find her.
I had no idea tea could be so rare.
This little half a catty cost me three months’ salary, it’s really expensive.” She made an exaggerated gesture.

While listening, Murong Yan pours herself a cup of tea, her wrist delicately lifting the jade cup as she takes a sip.

In her mouth, the tea has a strong but evanescent taste, with a faint, far-off floral scent and a smoky aftertaste.

“Hmm,” she murmured.

Murong Yan found the tea to be very common and difficult to drink, which amused her as she observed Ming Qin anxiously watching her reaction.
It appeared that Ming Qin had been swindled by an unscrupulous person in Min Di, which Murong Yan found to be a foolish mistake.

Ming Qin nervously swallowed and asked, “Well?”

Murong Yan cleared her throat due to a dry and itchy sensation, and looked at the oil-stained and blood-marked tea leaves wrapped in the crumpled paper.
In a rare moment of leniency, she said, “It’s passable.”

Ming Qin was overjoyed and jumped up to pour herself a cup of tea, drinking it fearlessly in one gulp.

Ming Qin expressed her pleasure, “It’s delicious! I think this tea is also very good! I’m sure the lady at the teahouse didn’t lie to me, it really is the best tea in the world! I’ll have to buy another twenty pounds some day and thank the lady.”

As Murong Yan refilled Ming Qin’s cup, her hand trembled slightly, and she couldn’t believe that Ming Qin could determine the quality of tea by gulping it down.
However, seeing Ming Qin’s genuine expression, she began to feel that the tea wasn’t as bad as she thought.

Murong Yan smiled and said, “You can skip the twenty pounds.
I don’t drink tea in winter.” She took a shallow sip of tea and changed the topic before Ming Qin could respond, leaving the shadow guard slightly confused but the mood relaxed and friendly.

Ming Qin left reluctantly only after it had turned dark.

As soon as she entered her room, she saw her master sitting on a wooden stool with a serious expression and calling her over, “Qin Qin, come here.”

“Let’s talk.”

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