Chapter 13: Individual Motives
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
The bed shook dangerously, intensifying the luster of the pearls on the bed and creating a scene so suspiciously seductive.
Yuan Zhaoxu raised his brow and grabbed hold of a corner of the quilt, immediately understanding her intention and breaking into a laugh.
‘Creak, creak, creak, creak.’
As if instantly, a round fluff ball scuttled from the wall corner and onto the bed, but not before executing a front 360-degree flip. With his legs all spread out, he was ready to separate the two individuals who appeared to be doing some bed exercises.
As the two individuals moved in sync, the possessive Lord Yuan Bao landed on the bed and in between the both of them. Because of the softness of the mattress, he sank downward, head first, and only managed to get up on his feet after attempting a few backflips.
Seeing that Lord Yuan Bao had finally managed to stabilize himself, Yuan Zhaoxu the heartless owner flicked his fingers, causing him to tumble back down.
Unable to withstand, Lord Yuan Bao could only grab onto the guilt and wail.
His plight brought tears to Meng Fuyao’s eyes as she bit into the quilt and cramped up from laughing so hard.
All of a sudden, a soft ringing sounded thrice from outside the window, followed by the entrance of a slim black shadow that resembled smoke.
Yuan Zhaoxu got up and exchanged a few words, in private, with the man in black, whose face was blocked by him. The latter withdrew shortly after.
When Yuan Zhaoxu turned back, Meng Fuyao was already sitting up and watching him with her crow-black but lit up eyes.
“Your teacher is keeping the advisor for a few more days, saying that they have so much more to catch up on,” Yuan Zhaoxu relayed with a meaningful smile. “The advisor was supposed to return today, but naturally won’t be able to now.”
“Lin Xuanyuan’s always been a sly fox.” Meng Fuyao shrugged.
“I had planned to bring you, together with the advisor, down the mountains but we’re gonna have to make some changes now,” Yuan Zhaoxu informed while lifting his fingers to rest against his chin. It was a fine pose. “Lin Xuanyuan has already informed members of Pei Yuan’s family, and they will be here in a few days’ time. He’s keeping the advisor because he suspects that the latter is involved in tonight’s incident. If that’s the case, whatever conflict that’s gonna happen will be kept between Pei Family and the advisor. Lin Xuanyuan’s made a good call.”
“Do you think the advisor’s involved?” Meng Fuyao giggled. “Do you think he knows that you’ve helped me?”
“I think you’d be better off worrying about our escape route,” Yuan Zhaoxu quipped.
Remaining silent, Meng Fuyao got up and got dressed, carefully binding her hair up.
Sitting still and observing her every movement, Yuan Zhaoxu flashed a small smile. “Eh?”
“It’s better if I go now.” Meng Fuyao fastened her cuffs and checked the weapons on her body. “You’ve already helped me twice, and that’s enough self-sacrifice. I’m just going to bring you and the advisor more trouble if I continue relying on you. Humans shouldn’t be so ignorant.”
She waved a confident goodbye. “Till we meet again.”
At that, she walked cooly without looking back, but before she could reach the door – click! – It had locked itself. Meng Fuyao stopped, turned around and leaned against the door frame before looking at the culprit with a crooked head.
It was already bright outside. The first rays of morning sun fell through the window slit and outlined her silhouette, embellishing it with a tinge of softness and luminosity.
Yuan Zhaoxu’s eyes flickered with an enigma.
After some time he placed the lid of his teacup down. The clear and melodious sound of it touching the table contained a certain reservation as if conveying his inexpressible heart.
“Girls shouldn’t be so independently obstinate,” he started while basking in the warm glow, outshining its beauty in the process. “Guys want the chance to exhibit their capabilities.”
“Oh? To be the hero?” Meng Fuyao crossed her arms and grinned. “How do you plan to display your skills?”
“Lin Xuanyuan’s cast an inescapable net, waiting for you to fall in. If you’re really going to put yourself out there, there’s no point for me to save you,” Yuan Zhaoxu answered, taking a few steps forward and gently caressing her soft cheeks. “Since I’ve saved you, half of your life kinda belongs to me now. If that’s the case, shouldn’t you be more accountable to me?”
‘You saved me, and now I’m held accountable?’
Meng Fuyao blinked a few times, sensing the strangeness behind his logic.
‘This guy’s ability to overturn concepts and subvert common sense is indeed impressive.’
Deciding that she wasn’t his match, she could only retreat, not only from this mini-discussion but also from his bewitching scent. She scratched her nose and deflected from the conversation. “I have an idea actually, but it’s slightly risky…”
“We’ll go according to what you have in mind then,” Yuan Zhaoxu stated readily without posing any question.
Glaring at him she asked, “And you know what my idea is?”
“To lay blame, beating him at his own game,” he let out a laugh so confident that it was hateful.
She bit her cheek and stared at him, half-cursing, “You parasite!”
It was early autumn, but winter had already welcomed itself in the deeper part of the mountains. The maple leaves were covered in frost, which made them look exceptionally devilish under the increasingly bright moonlight.
A noble guest, escorted by a group of guards, had arrived at the Surveillance Pavilion in the Mystic Essence Manor. It was Qi Xunyi, the third prince from Taiyuan, who had come for Pei Yuan. By right, the incident wasn’t major enough to activate a personal visit, but his mother was Pei Yuan’s aunt, and he was Pei Yuan’s closest cousin.
Qi Yunxi was given a family courtyard and was accompanied by another respectable individual, who was arranged to rest in a guest room in the eastern part of the pavilion. That guest had long entered his room without requiring any servants.
During the daytime Lin Xuanyuan had welcomed the guests into the manor, first taking them to the Orchid Pavilion Residence to visit Pei Yuan, then hanging out in the Surveillance Pavilion till midnight before calling it a night. Under the cool, frosted-white moonlight he walked with heavy steps to his abode, looking rather worried.
After his departure, silence fell over the Surveillance Pavilion, and the lamps went out one by one. Whatever happened the next day, sleep was imperative.
It was a calm and quiet night, and the crescent moon hung beautifully amid the floating clouds, its brilliance flowing like running water.
In the cool light a black shadow, resembling that of a kite, floated across the courtyard, the patio, the front hall and finally into the small, two-storied house with upturned eaves.
Like falling leaves, the black figure landed on a corner of the roof before transforming into a puff of black smoke and diffusing into the highest garret in the eastern part of the Surveillance Pavilion.
It was so light, fast, and silent that even a bird that was asleep on a nearby tree wasn’t alarmed.
The black figure drifted through the beaded curtain and into the inner room. Underneath the black mask was a pair of resplendent eyes that belonged to Meng Fuyao.
“Who is it!?” A deep voice called out from the dark upon her entrance.
The man in the room sounded completely awake and not as though he had just been woken up in the middle of the night by a disturbance.
A sharp ray flashed across Meng Fuyao’s eyes as she slipped her way in noiselessly. She shook her sleeve, and a black, glossless dagger glided out and slithered toward the bed and the man’s heart like a poisonous snake.
Sitting on the bed with a cold smile and a brush of his sleeve, his originally soft clothes became as tough and shiny as steel.
Meng Fuyao’s dagger had actually slid down his sleeve and toward the edge of the bed.
Nevertheless, Meng Fuyao reacted fast. As the dagger slid off, she made a reverse flip over the man’s head and landed on the other side of his bed. Without turning her head, she immediately aimed the dagger at the middle of his back.
Angered, the man floated out of bed like a soft sheet of snow-white satin, elegantly dodging her stab. The next moment, a bright sword ray rose from his waist area, instantly illuminating the room and exposing Meng Fuyao’s slender frame.
Her slender figure, consisting of curves that flowed down like water, had been accentuated by the luster of his sword. Her lower jaw area was delicate, and her slightly plump chin seemed to create a wave that eventually formed a captivating whirlpool down at her waist. It had the ability to make one’s heart thump faster and draw one in.
Surprised by this beautiful silhouette, the man relaxed the grip on his sword a little.
Bathing under the light, Meng Fuyao took the opportunity to flee out of the window, seemingly afraid of a direct confrontation. Yet, a cold, murderous laugh sounded from behind her. “Where do you think you’re going?”
His voice sounded from the back, but there was already movements in front. His sword ray turned into a straight line, just like a sky-breaking lightning bolt, shooting straight toward the back of Fuyao, who at that moment was covering her head with her hands.
At the speed, the sword was going, it was sure to turn Meng Fuyao into a piece of skewered meat. Left without a choice, she swooped back and downward, sticking her head to the ground. The sword barely touched the tip of her nose but her mask split into two right away, before falling to the floor.
With a jerk of his hand, the man’s sword tilted, its light hitting onto her face and its hilt pressing down against her shoulder, which kept her on the ground.
The moonlight peeking through the window and the light reflected off his sword illuminated the “face” that was Meng Fuyao’s ash gray mask. It was shaking gently in the breeze.
Meng Fuyao looked back at the man, panic evident in her well-lit face.
Because she was squirming from fear, the huge sinister scar on her face seemed to be wiggling as well.
The scar was absolutely terrifying and unforgettable.
She wouldn’t appear as wretched if one just focused on her face. Yet, she had an irresistibly amazing and curvy body to go with that scar of hers. As such, her overall appearance evoked a sense of regret and almost indignation against God’s plans.
The man narrowed his eyes, revealing a look of shock and pity.
In that brief moment, Meng Fuyao sprung up like a leopard and flipped out of the window like a black, flexible spring.
She flitted across the banyan tree, causing the branches to sway gently and the leaves to rustle.
A fallen leaf fluttered upward, through the window that was still swinging, and toward the man’s sword. Before the leaf could reach its tip, however, it stopped in midair and disintegrated into a mass of green powder.
It hadn’t reached anywhere near the man.
Like a wave his solid sword ray reflected thousands of light rays onto his face, highlighting his ink-black hair and long body. He had a pair of bright almond-shaped eyes that housed a certain demonic yet sophisticated charm.