Translator: ryuxenji Editor: mjn0898
Ling Lan once again regained consciousness, but this time there seemed to be something wrong with her eyes, so she could only rely on her sense of feeling. It felt as if she was contained in a sealed vat of warm water, surrounded by liquid on all sides. At times, the vat seemed to be moved by someone, and she would be bumped around.
Could it be that she didn't die? Had she been placed into a nutrient solution by the hospital to take care of her body?
Before she could figure things out, her consciousness faded, and she was enveloped by darkness once again.
After an indeterminate amount of time, she woke up again, still within the warm liquid, and this time she was aware for a little longer than before. This time, she could hear some sounds, although they sounded muffled as if coming from several walls away, so she could not make anything out clearly. She really wanted to know what was happening to her, but being unable to move, she could only work on trying to decipher the sounds. Before she could make any progress, however, she lost consciousness again.
Dammit! Couldn't she just have a little more time? As Ling Lan lost awareness, she couldn't help but make this brief protest.
As if Ling Lan's protest was heard, the time Ling Lan spent awake grew longer and longer, until one day, she found that she could move.
After being trapped for so long, she naturally swung her fists and kicked out with all her might, but after only a few movements, she was entirely tired out and even felt sleepy again.
This would not do. She could not keep being weak like this, or else how would she endure the inhuman pain when it came? Speaking of which, she hadn't felt pain in a long time. Could it be that the pain only came while she was unconscious? Ling Lan suddenly felt that being unconscious could also be a good thing.
However, Ling Lan was not a girl who liked to avoid her troubles, or else she would not have had been able to live every day with excruciating pain for 24 years. She rallied her spirits and began to practice the set of health-bolstering Qi cultivation exercises taught to her by an old Chinese doctor who had treated her when she had first entered the military hospital.
Even though she still had not felt any Qi form after over 10 years of practice, the pain in her body would lessen greatly after each session and become easier to endure. While this may well have been due to self-delusion, or some sort of placebo effect, it had nevertheless provided her with motivation to continue practicing the exercises.
She lost consciousness as she practiced, and when she awoke once again, an unknown period of time had passed. She moved her limbs and shifted around for a bit before stopping to get a sense of her own condition and was immediately dumbfounded. She could actually sense something which she had never felt before ... something like Qi. It was unreal, like something out of fantasy — could it be that she was a talent blessed by the heavens, and her fake death had caused two of her extraordinary meridians, Ren and Du, to open up, turning her into a martial arts master?
Ling Lan could not understand why she succeeded this time when hard training for over 10 years had had no effect. Still, being able to sense Qi was a good thing. The old Chinese doctor had said that if she could achieve a sense of Qi, her illness would have the possibility of being healed. For 24 years she had wished for her illness to be cured so that she would no longer have to live every day in almost unbearable pain, feeling as if her entire body was being crushed.
Ling Lan was ecstatic, and her enthusiasm for practice grew. She began practicing during her every waking moment, and this continued until she achieved a meditative state. Until now, she still had no clue that she had become a fetus, and that what had happened in her past life was no longer any of her concern, and that her worries were for naught.
Lan Luofeng caressed her abdomen with a face full of worry. She was already 5 months into her pregnancy, but she had not felt any recent fetal movement from her baby. If it weren't for the fact that all the medical exams showed that her child was developing normally, she would surely have had a mental breakdown.
Truthfully, she could take no more bad news. A month after her husband Ling Xiao had left for battle, news had come saying that there had been an accident when the fleet he was leading had entered a death tunnel to outflank the enemy camp, and that headquarters had lost all contact with his fleet.
Later on, it was confirmed that the fleet had run into some energy disturbance in the depths of the dead star meteorite zone while passing through the death tunnel, and the entire fleet had been consumed by this devastating energy. There were no survivors. Every single member was lost, and no remains could be found.
Before she could even fully absorb this terrible news, something even more distasteful had happened. A branch family member N-generations apart from Ling Xiao had 'stepped up' to inherit the honours and privileges gained by Ling Xiao's sacrifice. He had even had the gall to imply that he was doing her a great favour and would take care of her for the rest of her life.
Lan Luofeng had thrown that disgusting man out immediately, but those horrid people had been unwilling to give up. They had brought a representative over from the federal government to discuss the matter.
Lan Luofeng was not a weak person. She knew that crying would only result in Ling Xiao's sacrifice being taken advantage of by these despicable people. With no other choice, she made a prompt decision. In front of those hateful and despicable people, she proclaimed that Ling Xiao had a son who was currently in her belly, and that only his son had the right to inherit all of Ling Xiao's accolades.
Bias actually existed in the Federation's inheritance law with regards to military benefits — only male family members were allowed to inherit. This was why Lan Luofeng did not reveal she had a child from the beginning. Both she and the chamberlain Ling Qin knew that the child in her belly was a girl, but under these circumstances, she could not retreat. Ling Qin was in agreement and fully supported her decision.
They had already thought it through — the moment Ling Lan was born, they would arrange for another baby girl to be raised alongside Ling Lan to be her loyal guard, who would also marry Ling Lan publicly once they were adults.
They would also think of a way to manage Ling Lan's other identity so that she would be able to appear in public as a girl as well. Of course, all this still required more detailed thought and consideration. Still, Lan Luofeng believed that by the time Ling Lan grew up she would definitely have been able to come up with a solution that would give Ling Lan the best of both worlds.
Lan Luofeng had only one unwavering thought, and that was that all of Ling Xiao and her possessions could only belong to Ling Lan. All those other bastards who crawled out from god-knows-where would not be allowed to take advantage of Ling Lan. She would not allow it, never, no matter the cost.
Of course, another reason for Lan Luofeng's confidence was the unwavering loyalty of the main household vassals of Ling Xiao. They closed ranks around the Ling family home and kept a close watch, leaving those greedy outsiders no chance to harm their young master. Furthermore, the Ling family also had their own personal hospital, which made it even more convenient for Lan Luofeng to hide the secret of Ling Lan's gender.
Just like that, under this strict guard, the time for Lan Luofeng to give birth finally arrived. Naturally, the chosen place of birth was their personal hospital. No mistakes could be made at this final juncture. The doctors and nurses responsible for Lan Luofeng's delivery were family loyalists specially arranged by the Ling family — they would never ever expose this secret.
Ling Lan was still practicing when cry after piercing cry disturbed her meditation, causing her to be very annoyed. At the same time, she could hear the sound of water flowing, and then her body was being repelled by some unknown force, and she was sliding downwards headfirst.
In shock, she immediately spread open her legs to hold her position, stopping her body from sliding down any further.
"God dammit, why doesn't this child come out? The amniotic fluid has almost run dry." The delivering doctor and nurses were sweating buckets. Everything looked like it was going well, but the child just did not want to come out. It was looking more and more like a case of obstructed labour. If that was the case, then they would have to do a caesarean section. Under those circumstances, their little miss's secret could not be guaranteed since too many people would have to be involved, highly increasing the likelihood of the secret being leaked.
Lan Luofeng gritted her teeth and petted her distended belly, saying, "Dear, stop tormenting mummy. Come out quickly to meet me. Even if you are angry at mummy for making you live an abnormal life, you still need to come out to yell at me, right?"
… Alright, Lan Luofeng's IQ had dropped into the negatives due to the pain, so what she said should not be taken seriously. Which mother wants her child to yell at herself?
But Lan Luofeng's words were heard by Ling Lan, and combined with what she just felt, along with her condition a while back, Ling Lan abruptly realised she had become a fetus. No wonder she had been unable to move for such a long time...
However, didn't she die? Was she reincarnated? Why didn't she drink
"Oh geez, you still have the spare time to think about reincarnation and rebirth? Your mother is about to suffer from obstructed labour because of you ... draw back your legs now!" A childish voice rang out in her mind in a panicked tone, reminding her of what she was supposed to do right now.
Ling Lan listened and drew back her legs. Then she heard a soul-wrenching scream, and a surge of energy pushed her body out.
Instantly, she could sense the presence of light ...
Before she could do anything, she felt fingers digging into her mouth, making her feel like puking. She couldn't help but open her mouth to protest, and then she heard her own screeching calls!
That's right, calls! Ling Lan would never admit that those were wails — that would be too embarrassing.
"Mistress, the young miss is healthy!" The Ling family doctor finally gave a sigh of relief. With both mother and child safe, their duty was done. All smiles, she brought the now stubbornly silent Ling Lan over to Lan Luofeng's side.
Lan Luofeng opened her tired eyes and caressed her child lovingly. Then her expression tightened. Resolutely, she said, "Tell Uncle Qin both Young Master Ling Lan and I are fine!"
"Yes, Mistress!" The doctor stifled his smile and donned a similarly serious expression.
The birth of the young miss, no, the young master did not mean the end of the matter. To fully protect the privileges left behind by Major General Ling Xiao, there were still many hard battles to be fought.
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