182 Chapter 182 Mad Scholar
Leaving the cave through the passage guarded by a stone door, Lin Xulian and Gu Lingdao arrived at the Gu clan's ancestral hall. They then saw the four elders of the Gu clan waiting for them. In a low table in the center of the hall, there is a pile of scrolls and books. There is also a cushion beside it that is used for sitting or kneeling. Seeing this, Lin Xulian could tell that the next step is to read and learn the contents of the scrolls and books.
Hearing the stone door moving, the four elders subconsciously shifted their eyes towards its direction. When they saw that their clan head didn't came out alone and is followed by Lin Xulian, their eyes widened in surprise and relief.
"Greetings, Princess! Welcome back! We thank the heavens that you survived." The four elders collectively greeted her showing their enthusiasm and elation.
"Good to see you all elders. It's been hard on you all as well." Lin Xulian politely responded. She really does appreciate these four elders although they were hostile with her when she first arrived. Seeing them in the ancestral hall right now, she can tell that they've been anxiously waiting for her based on the relief in their manner and speech.
Right at that moment, one of the Gu clan's female youngster who took care of Lin Xulian previously entered the hall. When Lin Xulian entered the Gu clan's village, there are four women who closely watch her and fallowed her around with a cold and alert expression. But after they learned about her identity as their Princess, their attitude turned by 180 degrees.
The most extreme was this specific pretty girl named Gu Kei. One word could describe her, unexpected. With her expressive eyes, her fierce glare can make anyone shiver while her gentle look can make anyone comfortable. It's rare for a single person to give off two different auras. Lin Xulian was surprised to learn that she is actually so chatty and became the other three's spokesperson since they were too embarrassed to act familiar with her.
After all, when she first arrived and stayed in the village, those girls didn't serve her. They only watched her while she cleans her small designated courtyard, cook her food and fetch water in the nearby well for her bath and other necessities. But Lin Xulian didn't mind it since she is used to doing chores when she was still in the Beast Mountain.
Gu Kei entered the hall and was about to bow to greet the elders when her sight caught the figure of a young beautiful woman among the group. Her eyes widened and sparkled seeing Lin Xulian. She came at this moment to inquire about their princess as per Lin Xulian's parents, their crown prince Lin Huang and crown princess Yin Mei's request.
Gu Kei immediately ran up to Lin Xulian and circled around her to check her up and down totally ignoring the elders and even the clan head. "Princess! You're awake! Oh my! Oh my! Are you well? Did you get any injury? They said it might be painful. Are you really fine? Oh wait! I need to inform the palace!"
Lin Xulian felt her temples throbbing seeing Gu Kei's flustered and panicked figure. One moment she is touching her all over then the next moment she is about to run out. Lin Xulian grabbed Gu Kei by her shoulder and forcefully made her face her. Lin Xulian momentarily got stunned with her new strength. Although she was well trained since young, she knows that her strength before cannot compare even for a ten-year-old child born in Qiangdu. But she was able to pull Gu Kei effortlessly. Her growth after the ritual and cultivation taught by the King surpassed her expectation.
Even clan head Gu Lingdao and the elders were surprised. Since Lin Xulian had no idea how much her strength grew, she unconsciously used too much force and Gu Kei was pulled like she weighs nothing. But instead of getting angry, Gu Kei stared Lin Xulian with her bright eyes like a proud mother. "Princess, you've grown." Gu Kei emotionally stated with a slightly trembling voice.
Lin Xulian's expression became awkward seeing Gu Kei's emotional face. She momentarily forgot what to say. "Keikei, calm down will you. No need to report. I want to surprise them. I won't take a long time anyway. For now, get me something to eat. Put a lot of meat, okay?" Lin Xulian calmly said with an indulging older sister tone despite the fact that she is younger by one or two years than Gu Kei.
On the other hand, Gu Lingdao subconsciously looked at the pile of books and scroll on the table hearing Lin Xulian saying that she won't take long. The pile is not small and it would normally take three years to finish understanding their contents. It would then depend on the person on how long he or she could finally grasp and apply the concept in actual practice. He realized that their princess is quite conceited.
"Oh right! You haven't eaten for a year! I will get going then. I will bring you some snacks and tea first then while waiting." Then Gu Kei ran out towards the direction of the main kitchen. Lin Xulian only watched amused as her figure vanished in a blink of an eye.
After all the pleasantries, Gu Lingdao guided Lin Xulian towards the low table. "Princess, now that the ritual succeeded, you should start reading the origin and uses of Gu poisons. As well as how to treat them, of course. These are the records about the Gu clan since the beginning of the clan. If you have any question, feel free to ask this one and the elders."
Hearing this, Lin Xulian sat cross-legged in the cushion in front of the low table. Her eyes glistened in excitement. Ever since she found that thin book about Gu poisons in Feng Jun Yi's imperial study, her curiosity about it intensifies every day. But now she could finally quench her thirst for these information. So she didn't waste time and started flipping the books and unrolled the scrolls.
Lin Xulian slowly got engrossed in reading. When the pastries arrived, Gu Kei carried it in a small serving table and carefully placed it beside Lin Xulian. Smelling the sweet smell of the pastry, Lin Xulian eyes brightened and sweetly thank Gu Kei. She ate and savored the pastries but still has her attention in the book she's reading. She looks like she's been doing both tasks simultaneously frequently.
Even after the food was served, Lin Xulian still didn't stop multi-tasking. She made the elders hold out the scrolls and books in front of her while her hands and mouth are busy eating. Still reading and eating at the same time like a mad scholar.
The elders wanted to cry. They told her she can ask them for help and guidance. But they were used as book holders instead. She already finished some books but still didn't raise any question. They are all worried whether she understands them or not. However, they chose to wait patiently.
Time passed, Lin Xulian finished a book one after another as if her body totally forgot the concept of time. She didn't rest even for a moment. She continued until the sun rose up high in the sky the next day.
When the elders and clan head Gu Lingdao returned to the ancestral hall the next day, they found their princess still totally engrossed with studying. They could tell that she didn't get a wink of sleep and the sheets of the makeshift bed arranged for her had no wrinkles is the proof. They wanted to persuade her to get some rest. But seeing her bright and focused eyes filled with concentration, they swallowed the words they were about to say.Moments later, Lin Xulian closed the last book she's been reading and took a deep breath. They waited for Lin Xulian's inquiries, but she said nothing. She just took the cushion then placed it in the center of the hall and sat crossed-legged then assumed a lotus position for meditation. They got confused with her action, until after some time she suddenly vomited a lump of black blood!