Chapter 26: A Frame-up
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Pei Yuan watched attentively as Meng Fuyao formed the Cleaving Nine Heavens gesture with her hand, her expression fluctuating as she took two steps back.
The atmosphere around them gradually turned threatening.
Meng Fuyao exhaled noiselessly. Her movements were well-controlled, but her back was so sweaty that it started itching as her garment started sticking to it.
Pei Yuan looked frostily at her, saying, “Tell me who did it and I won’t touch you again, I swear. Otherwise, don’t think about escaping unscathed. I will not let you go, no matter how wounded I may be.”
“Really?” Meng Fuyao blinked.
“Of course,” Pei Yuan asserted. “I always mean what I say.”
“You swear?” Meng Fuyao smiled. “More crosses appear on your face if you go back on your word. Your body will be filled with circles and crosses, as will your whole family.”
“You–––” Pei Yuan was about to collapse from anger. She clenched her teeth but swore nonetheless.
Meng Fuyao lost it, albeit inwardly when Pei Yuan got to the part about her family being circled and crossed. However, on the surface, she remained grim. “Sigh, I’ll tell you, but you’ll have to keep it between us. That guy… he’s not human. I can’t afford to get on his bad side.”
“Who?” Pei Yuan asked, biting down on her teeth so hard that sparks could appear any time.
“Family name’s Yuan. Yuan Bao’s his name.” Meng Fuyao obliged in all seriousness.
Somewhere far away, Lord Yuan Bao let out a sneeze.
“Yuan Bao?” Pei Yuan repeated slowly and in a low voice. “This name…”
“He’s a powerful fighter from the wild mountains, and that’s just his nickname. I heard that your political enemy, the Yun Family, had engaged a formidable killer but no one’s heard of his name,” Meng Fuyao added, smiling a little.
‘Yuan Bao ah, Yuan Bao, who asked you to be such a bully? I’m framing you now, but it’s true that you’re not human. Plus, you did play a part anyway.’
Gradually believing her words, Pei Yuan hardened her gaze. “I don’t care how formidable he is. If I don’t get my revenge, I will cease being Pei Yuan.”
Pei Yuan looked indignantly at Meng Fuyao. She was upset that Yan Jingchen still harbored feelings for her. Pei Yuan had so much hate for her, but it was a fact that her skills weren’t on par with Meng Fuyao’s and that Yan Jingchen was nearby. As such, she could only let the chance to kill her go…
Before her thoughts faded, a figure sped toward them from afar, bringing a gust of wind along with him.
“Meng Fuyao! Trying to run? Looks like locking your inner energy wasn’t enough. I should’ve crippled you on top of that.”
Both Pei Yuan and Meng Fuyao’s expression instantly changed. ‘Not good.’
‘D*mn, why does this guy have to show up now and expose the lies I’ve so painstakingly invented?’
Without the time to ponder over things, Meng Fuyao immediately took to her heels.
Unfortunately, Pei Yuan’s reaction was fast too. Upon her revelation she gathered whatever suppressed exasperation and bitterness she had within her, extending her hands and curling all her fingers into dagger-like claws. As the wind whizzed toward Meng Fuyao’s shoulders, Pei Yuan roared, “How dare you lie to me? Guards!”
At the same time, she spun so quickly that she had turned into a red tornado, her golden accessories twinkling and reflecting glaring golden rays. Amid the incessant ringing of bells, flowers and leaves were carried up by the strong wind before scattering and disintegrating into multi-colored powder.
Pei Yuan’s long and sharp nails had penetrated into Meng Fuyao’s shoulder, causing blood to splatter. A menacing gaze flashed across her face before she dragged her fingers backward so forcefully that it could potentially split Meng Fuyao’s back open.
As Meng Fuyao sensed the immense danger, she dropped on her knees and slid a meter forward, effectively distancing herself from Pei Yuan’s claws.
Not giving up, Pei Yuan took a step forward and reached for Meng Fuyao’s head when a thunderous voice boomed from behind. “Release her!”
A black-red figure appeared and moved so fast that his face wasn’t clearly visible. A golden ray flickered even before he reached them and a thin sword carrying a heavy gust of wind flashed forward, accurately trapping Pei Yuan’s hand.
The force was so great that she tumbled 10 meters away. Nevertheless, she preserved the cold smile on her face.
The guards surged forward, unsheathing their swords and fixing their arrows, and took aim at Zhan Beiye.
“These trespassers are plotting an assassination! Take them down!” Pei Yuan ordered sharply.
Zhan Beiye stayed in his spot, his black robe rolling angrily as its red corners rose up like flames. His ferocity radiated cuttingly and in a pressing manner, yet falling short of the deadly aura he was exuding from between his brows. Under the crystal clear sky, sparks could be seen in his crow-black pupils as he dove for the domineering woman in red.
“How dare you touch me?”
Her voice carried an abundance of inner energy that shook the surrounding flora. Leaves left their branches and shot straight at the guards in front, causing soreness in their arms. The weaker ones simply loosened their muscles and dropped their weapons to the ground.
Pei Yuan’s face changed before she steadied herself and examined Zhan Beiye closely. Judging from his bearing, he obviously wasn’t an ordinary character. After recalling that it was the emperor’s birthday that day, she frowned and stopped her guards.
Despite showing signs of withdrawing, Zhan Beiye wasn’t going to let the matter rest.
He had wasted so much time outside the toilet earlier. Eventually feeling uneasy, he had gone against the palace maid’s resistance and kicked the cubicle door down. Upon spotting a maid disguised as Meng Fuyao sitting on the bucket, he knew instantly that he had been tricked and jumped straight into a fiery search for her. He, too, wasn’t familiar with the layout of the palaces, a fact made worse by the unusual defense that had been devised for the event. His perseverance had finally paid off after much aimless walking. Alas, someone had gotten to his target first and was trying to kill her.
When he had seen blood splashing out from Meng Fuyao’s shoulder, he felt an involuntary surge of anger, as if injected with adrenaline, that not even he could comprehend.
‘It’s not your turn to trample on my woman yet.’
He had brought his sword out since it wasn’t convenient for him to enter the palace with his spear that day. Despite it not being his usual weapon, he brandished it with much ease and power. Almost reaching Pei Yuan, Zhan Beiye remarked coldly, “You owe me 10 holes.”
It took Pei Yuan a moment to realize that he was talking about the holes she had dug into Meng Fuyao’s skin. “So what? Come at me if you can,” Pei Yuan taunted.
“Of course,” Zhan Beiye acceded with a smirk.
He lifted his fingers, and the thin sword flew in a straight golden line toward the guards standing before her. As the golden ray whizzed through the air, Pei Yuan only felt her vision turning dazzlingly bright, as if something was zooming toward her at an incredible speed. Before she could reach out to block it, a sheet of black fell into sight, and she felt a cold sensation traveling down from overhead.
She subconsciously opened her palm, and a light thin-looking object fell onto it. It was soft and cool to the touch.
Yet, her face did not hurt. She only felt an air of chilliness blasting at her. She felt the object in the head, instinctively knowing that things weren’t good. She lowered her head and saw a red piece of perfectly-circled brocade. It belonged to her.
Shocked, she reached to touch her face. In the blink of an eye and in unison, the guards around her had revealed a startled expression. From that, Pei Yuan was certain that her veil had been slashed open and her scarred face had been revealed.
Only seeing black before her, Pei Yuan spat a mouthful of blood out.
Ever since she had gotten disfigured, she had always been wearing a veil, lying that she was down with rubella and unable to show her face, so no one had actually seen it. She had pinned her hopes on Zong Yue, the holy doctor known to all. Although young, he had gone to the valleys to learn the ways of a legendary master before returning with a pair of magical hands. Naturally, he had assumed a mighty position in the Five Region Continent, and the Pei Family had exhausted many resources to engage him to treat Pei Yuan’s scars and to recover her original beauty.
The wild man had actually drawn a circle on her veil, exposing the face that she had been trying with all her might to conceal.
As if the hole was within her heart as well, all bloody and bitter memories reemerged. Waves of intense hatred piled up, almost drowning her. She screamed in a voice that sounded piercingly stifling.
“Kill him, kill him!”
With his sword held horizontally, Zhan Beiye laughed. “I’ll plant the next hole on this barking mouth of yours.”
“Shoot him!” Pei Yuan yelled, retreating a meter back and into the crowd of guards. She swung her red sleeve and the guards stationed at the front dashed forward and straightened their bows, aiming them at his chest.
The terrifying sound of bow strings being pulled taut filled the otherwise deadly silent air. It sounded like a grim laughter a grim reaper would produce as he waited for a fresh pool of blood feast.
Zhan Beiye tightened his grip on the sword, raised his head and threw a cold smirk their way, without bothering to look at them.
A voice cried out as two men rushed over from a distance away. The man in front was tall and dressed in a commander’s uniform while the one behind had thick brows and beard, and wore a splendidly embroidered gown.
Upon identifying the man at the back as her future father-in-law, Yan Lie, Pei Yuan’s face changed, and she hurriedly tore a section of her sleeve to cover her face.
As they came closer, the man in front, who had previously shouted, knitted his brow and added, “Withdraw! What’s this nonsense!”
Upon hearing their boss’s words, the guards urgently withdrew their weapons. Pei Yuan raised her brows and turned to him slowly. “Are you blaming me for causing a scene, Great Assistant Commander Tie?”
“I wouldn’t dare.” Tie Cangmo bowed, neither overly servile nor supercilious. “I daren’t defy your orders, Princess, but the man you have targeted is not one I can touch. Please, on the account that this lowly life of mine is still a life, simmer down.”
“Him?” Pei Yuan threw a side glance at Zhan Beiye, a curl forming on her lips. “Who is he?”
Tie Cangmo lowered his head, brows wrinkled. Nevertheless, he maintained a calm tone, saying, “The brother of the Tiansha’s emperor, also a noble guest of His Majesty. You’ve lost your manners.”
“You–––” Pei Yuan choked from his stinging rebuke. She was pissed but hesitated to take action. Tie Cangmo was an honest man and the number one player in Taiyuan Palace. He was a principled man, and it wouldn’t be wise to offend him.
Yan Lie’s arrival curbed Pei Yuan’s anger a little bit as she was unwilling to act wantonly before him. Instead, she shot Tie Cangmo a death glare before heading over to her father-in-law.
Yan Lie’s gaze brushed past the mask secured on Pei Yuan’s face before stroking his beard and accepting her bow. Pei Yuan straightened her back and smiled, not the least bit haughtily. Old Sir Yan had just received her bow, so did it not mean that he had acknowledged her as his daughter-in-law?