Jiang Ling received her punishment and knelt in the Hall of Discipline for four shichen.
The little shimei watching over her said that she had knelt long enough, so Jiang Ling could leave. 

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When Jiang Ling stood up, the strength fled from her legs, and she just about fell.
She pouted, “Shifu never made me kneel this long.”

Jiang Ling rubbed her legs, and once they worked again, she left the Hall of Discipline and was just preparing to return. 

“Jiang Ling-er, Jiang Ling-er.”

Hearing someone call to her from behind, Jiang Ling looked around and saw Shangguan Qing standing below the stairs, waiting for her. 

“I heard you got punished, so I came to see you.” Shangguan Qing said considerately. 

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“Did you wait long?” Jiang Ling was moved.
This Shangguan Qing, who had waited for her for so long, was really a good sister. 

“No, I just got here.” Shangguan reached out a hand and laid it on Jiang Ling’s shoulder, “I timed it quite accurately.
As soon as I got here, you came out.”

“Alright.” Jiang Ling’s ‘moved’ feeling left as quickly as it came. 

“You don’t seem so happy that I came to see you.”

“No, no, I’m happy, very happy.”

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“Did you hear? It turns out, my shixiong is the Sect Leader’s eldest disciple’s little brother!” Since she had run into Shangguan Qing, they inevitably started discussing trivialities once again.
“I heard, I came here for this reason.
Today, I heard some Qingshan disciples discussing it.
I knew that Gu Shi-shixiong’s family had a younger son, but there was no trace of him some years back.
Now, the Gu Family can only look to him.”

“What do you mean by ‘can only’? The Gu Family knew my shixiong was at the Minghe Sect.” Jiang Ling could not figure it out, as the Gu Family knew of Gu Yun’s matters.
Outsiders may not be clear on it, but the Gu Family should be perfectly aware. 

“I heard that he is the son of Master Gu’s concubine.
Lady Gu took pity on him and brought him into the Gu Family.
At that time, Lady Gu only had a daughter, your shixiong’s eldest sister, so the Gu Family would obviously treat him well.
Afterward, Lady Gu had a son, and the Gu Family naturally looked to this one.
Gu Shi, in a fortuitous coincidence, entered the Qingshan Sect, and Gu Shi receiving the personal instruction of the Sect Leader also gave the Gu Family face.
Later, that son’s whereabouts became unknown, and the Gu Family could then only return their sights to the grown son.” Shangguang Qing rubbed her chin, “As for who knew that your shixiong would be that missing son, it seems like Gu Shi-shixiong knew.
This hearsay from Jianghu turned out to be true.”

Jiang Ling nodded, deep down thinking that this hearsay of Jianghu really was something that could be heard, but not spoken. 

“What about the Sect Leader’s wife? I’ve been here for a while, but didn’t hear the other disciplines mention anything about the Sect Leader’s wife.” Jiang Ling thought again of the topic from the last conversation. 

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“I did.” Jiang Ling truly admired Shangguan Qing, who had heard even of this, “I heard that, eighteen years ago, the Sect Leader got married, but the good times did not last long.
Seventeen years ago, Manichaeism spread and its practitioners invaded, and her whereabouts became unclear.
The rumor is that she is dead.
The Qingshan Sect did not specify how she died, and I get the feeling that they would like to avoid the subject, so I’m not clear on it, either.”

“Is your nickname ‘Jianghu’s Bai Xiaosheng’[1]?” Jiang Ling looked at Shangguan Qing with new eyes. 

“I’m ashamed, I find studying martial arts too dull, and I can’t help myself from listening to other people’s stories.
Can Jianghu still be called ‘Jianghu’ without stories?” Shangguan Qing was not at all miserly about receiving Jiang Ling’s ‘praise’. 

The two chatted like they had never parted, but when Shangguan Qing heard Jiang Ling’s stomach rumble, she remembered that she had not eaten for the entire day, so she quickly let her go home.

 

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Footnotes

Footnotes

↑1 Refers to a master of secrets, not necessarily a good connotation

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