Chapter 27: An Extortion
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Yan Lie fixed his eyes on her, smiling, “It’s His Majesty’s birthday today, Princess. Wouldn’t be good if you get tangled up in other people’s business and delay such a big event, would it?”
His tone was calm but his smile meaningful. He had emphasized the words big event.
It was then that Pei Yuan recalled her original intent. She frowned, feeling somewhat frustrated for allowing Meng Fuyao to befuddle her. “Meng Fuyao… why is she so quiet?”
She appeared to have rolled down the steps and into the bushes earlier, never showing herself since. Then came Tie Cangmo’s hasty intervention and speech, which had caused Pei Yuan to momentarily forget all about Meng Fuyao.
Zhan Beiye, too, remembered about his chase at this point. He groaned and rolled down the blood-stained path Meng Fuyao had taken.
After turning around the bushes and spotting no one, he lifted his brows in confusion and stared at the blood spots which were still visible on the ground.
Someone snorted behind him. Pei Yuan swept over like a gust of wind but was unable to find Meng Fuyao. She revealed an awful expression and gritted her teeth. “Let’s see how far you can run.”
Zhan Beiye whipped his body around so fast that his clothes swung and hit Pei Yuan on the face. The latter felt as though she had been slapped by an iron plate as blackness concealed her view for a moment.
“Nine more holes. Let me warn you. I’ll go after you every time I see you. Dare touch her one more time, and I’ll make sure that you get not just nine but 100 holes all over your body. I don’t kill women, but you can be an exception,” an icy voice sounded.
Zhan Beiye brushed his sleeves. “I have no time to waste on you right now, but don’t forget my words.”
Pei Yuan covered her face while looking up. As she was about to retort, Zhan Beiye gifted her with another sleeve-slap, which landed on her right cheek, causing her to stumble. At that, he exited with a flash.
“Hey, hey, hey!–––”
“Ss… are you trying to save or kill me?”
Murmurings could be heard amid the darkness as two pairs of dazzling eyes flickered in the night. One of the pairs belonged to an unlucky girl.
She had just rolled into the bushes, but before she could get on her feet a pair of steel-like hands pulled her, causing her body to drop. The next moment, she was plunging into a dark tunnel.
As an astonished Meng Fuyao was about to resist, the person covered her mouth and shook his head, indicating that she should remain quiet. His purlicue was rough, a detail that helped her confirm his sex. Yet, his cool palm emitted a faint scent that only noblemen owned. She nodded slightly to express agreement, after which the man relented and removed his hand.
Meng Fuyao looked around and noticed that they were in a secret passageway. She speculated that it was a linkway connecting the dried up well that she had fallen through to a hidden unit further down. Upon the sealing of the unit, plants were grown aboveground to conceal the well, in which the man had been waiting to pull her in.
When Meng Fuyao sensed no hostility from her captor, she released a breath of relief. Suddenly, the man turned her shoulder, immediately tearing the cloth of his sleeve in horror. He worked skillfully on her wounds, completely bandaging them in no time.
Caught off guard by his action, Meng Fuyao winced in pain. But before she was done, he had already removed his hands and turned around.
He had a lean and straight figure, appearing like a palm tree amid the darkness. As the man saw that Meng Fuyao had gradually calmed down, he took a few steps forward, his silhouette being outlined by a faint ray of penetrating light. He had broad shoulders and a thin waist like that of a youth.
The more she looked at that back, the more she found it familiar.
She scanned her surroundings again while knitting her brows. She had never appreciated confining spaces, and her instincts wanted her to get out.
However, the man turned around abruptly, his extremely pale face and deep eyes reminding her of the ever-snowy mountains in Qiongcang. Those abyss-like eyes were cold and unfathomable, yet as bright as a million twinkling stars combined.
Meng Fuyao drew a deep, cold breath.
Those eyes… she had seen them before.
On the second day of her breakup with Yan Jingchen, she had accepted a challenge against a youth dressed in black. It was his Nether Eyes that had caused a big explosion that day.
Although she hadn’t forgotten about him, she was still beyond surprised to meet him again in a place like this.
The youth looked at her and said suddenly, “You owe me one now that I’ve saved you.”
His voice was bright and crisp, sounding similar to the collision between thin icebergs – cold yet resolute.
“Ah?” Meng Fuyao opened her eyes wide in response.
‘What’s that kind of logic?’ she asked herself. ‘Did I ask for his help? Zhan Beiye wouldn’t let me die in the hands of someone else in the first place. His help was uncalled for so why do I need to return the favor?’
Plus, since he was sneaking around and looked so grave, he must need help with a big and probably dangerous matter. Was she foolish enough to offer herself as cannon fodder?
The youth pursed his lips and kept quiet upon reading her expression.
Suddenly, he pulled out his sword and held it against her neck the next moment.
The tip of his sword was bitingly cold and its blade clear as water. Like scattered sharp needles, the deadly aura emitted by the sword was so glaring that it almost made Meng Fuyao close her eyes.
“I don’t ever beg or repeat myself. Agree or die – your choice.”
Meng Fuyao peeked down at the dazzling sword before looking at the youth’s pale face. After some time, she smiled. “Violence is never a solution, comrade. Especially if you can’t actually use it.”
Her smile widened as she lightly pushed the sword tip away. The sword, which was steady as stone, dropped flimsily to the ground along with the youth and a shaking light ray.
Unsurprised, Meng Fuyao reached out to catch his falling body.
She sighed and then said,. “Heavily injured but still putting on a front?”
She examined him under the dim light. His eyes were closed and his brows slightly knitted. His snow-white face was almost translucent, and beads of sweat rolled down his forehead and into his hair, turning it even blacker.
Meng Fuyao shook her head, tearing open his clothes without the least bit of hesitation and spotting a carelessly bandaged wound on his chest. She unbadaged him with a frown and was instantly attacked by a thick, bloody smell. What greeted her eyes was a terrifying and protruding scar, seemingly created from a wide and sharp weapon. The greenish-blue flesh around his wound hinted that he had been poisoned. There also was a superficial injury near it, appearing to be left by smoke and fire. It wasn’t a serious wound but looked sinister enough to repel Meng Fuyao’s gaze.
‘Firearms,’ she thought and recalled something Yuan Zhaoxu had told her.
There was a team of gunmen in the Five Region Continent that was equipped with the most technologically advanced firearms. They had always been under the control of the crown prince, Qi Yuanjing, while the person in charge of them was his trusted aide. This youth definitely felt enmity toward the Yan and Pei families, so he should be part of the crown prince’s people. Why, then, had he been targeted by his gunmen?
However, that wasn’t the time to deliberate. Meng Fuyao bit her lips and retrieved a small bottle from inside her sleeves. She looked at it, somewhat regretfully, before extracting a purple pill and putting it into the youth’s mouth.
After feeding it to him, discontent set in. She slapped his face with excessive force to guide the pill down his throat.
She couldn’t help it – she had just sacrificed a Nine Revolutions Soul-Returning pill that had been given to her by the Old Daoist Priest. The old man had bragged that it could grow fresh bones and flesh out of a dead boy and was one of the greatest treasures of all time. Now that she had given it to someone she couldn’t deem a friend, it was only natural for her heart to ache.
The youth’s breathing smoothened shortly after ingesting the pill. Meng Fuyao felt for his pulse. While she wasn’t able to purge the toxins completely, it was sufficient to keep him alive. She stood up and searched for an exit.
She knocked on the walls, aware that she was in a formation that employed the principles of Reflection and Refraction. Upon tapping on a particular mirror lens, a different echo sounded – it was crisp and not muffled.
Delighted, Meng Fuyao placed her hands on it, but just as she was about to push, someone called out from behind. “Go ahead, if you want to get hit by arrows and turn into a hedgehog.”
Meng Fuyao turned to the youth, who had sat up, and raised a brow. “Is that how you’re going to treat your savior?”
The youth rested his forearm on a knee while inspecting the condition within his body, only looking up upon hearing her words. A glimmer flashed across his distant-looking eyes; they resembled fireflies that fluttered amid the ocean mist, so remote and hard to grasp.
His complexion was delicate and pleasing, but it was his gaze that had the ability to capture anyone’s attention. There was a peculiar calmness about his eyes, and staring into them allowed one to relive the halcyon days of lolling on a grassy bank and watching the boat lamps drift in the sunset sea.
It was no wonder that Meng Fuyao had fallen into a daze. ‘With eyes like these, why must he train a bizarre skill such as the Nether Eyes?’
Before she could find an answer, she heard, “I wish my sword was still on your neck.”
His words cracked Meng Fuyao up. She shook her head while laughing. “Alright, what do you want me to do?”
“Prince Qi has brought in a sideshow troupe to perform at the Qianan Palace Hall Feast in the evening. An assassin has been hired to take the crown prince down, which would force an abdication. When that time comes, his pawns, from the Yan and Pei families, will make their moves as well. The Yan Family will take the chance to transfer the inner palace guards out while the Pei Family will command 50,000 soldiers to invade. We must inform the crown prince before all of these take place.”
“From where have you obtained such confidential information?” asked Meng Fuyao in curiosity.
“Someone told me.” He pursed his lips tightly, showing no intention of telling.
After some thought, Meng Fuyao consented. She smiled mirthlessly and said, “I’ll do anything to piss Pei Yuan off. It’s going to be hard fleeing from the Pei Family if we don’t come up with something anyway.”
Solemnly wrinkling his brows, the youth shared, “I made a trip to the Xin Palace earlier, in hope of reporting the matter to Master so he could, in turn, inform the crown prince. However, the crown prince’s gunmen were there when I arrived. Had I known at that point that they were already betraying their owner…”