Chapter 9: Sweet Revenge
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
“How do you know?” Fu Yao gave him a side glance. “Who are you?”
“You can call me Zhaoxu, Yuan Zhaoxu,” he introduced with an infectious smile. The light in his eyes could reverse the flow of a river and melt snow.
“Yuan Zhaoxu?” Meng Fuyao mumbled over and over again. It was a familiar name, but she couldn’t seem to recall where she had heard it from. As such, she merely nodded and started off in the direction that he was pointing toward.
Even as Fuyao’s silhouette gradually faded into the mountainous landscape, Yuan Zhaoxu never once lifted his eyes off her back.
His loose garments flitted about in the wind as the beautifully fragmented moonlight reflected off it.
Behind him, where a mountain rock was situated, appeared a stealthy, lean figure. Head down, and body stooped, he gave a respectful bow from a meter away.
A simple eye contact from Yuan Zhaoxu was enough to send shivers down the man’s spine and keep him mum.
“You don’t have to rush me. I’ll go over now,” Yuan Zhaoxu interrupted as if understanding what the man had planned to convey. He waved, but after some thought, turned his head to Lord Yuan Bao, who was resting on his shoulder. “Do you want to follow her?”
In response, Lord Yuan Bao made a stubborn turn and faced his bum toward him.
“I’ll give you supper when we get back. 3 Dragon Fruits.”
Despite maintaining his rebellious pose, Lord Yuan Bao made his way down Yuan Zhaoxu’s shoulder.
“You’re not to settle your own private matters, or I’ll cut off your supply of Dragon Fruits for 3 days,” Yuan Zhaoxu warned, only to receive a wag of Yuan Bao’s short tail. Was that a yes or no?
The man in black stared in shock as that little ball of white fur disappeared into the night. He simply couldn’t wrap his head around his master’s actions. Yuan Bao wasn’t an ordinary domesticated pet. He was a mystical creature, born in the most divine Changqing Shrine in Qiongcang, Di Region. A creature like him appeared only once in a hundred years, had a long lifespan and was extremely loyal and intelligent, comparable even to humans. Also, having one would help an owner with seeking luck and avoiding calamity. Not anyone could own or even get to see this creature. If not for Yuan Zhaoxu’s special identity, it couldn’t have been possible.
‘How could Master so carelessly dispatch a treasure like Yuan Bao?’
‘That lady from earlier… perhaps…’
‘But Master’s destiny…’
A thousand thoughts ran amok in his head, but he kept on a hollow facade. Having followed Yuan Zhaoxu around for so many years, the man knew that his master could easily recognize thoughts and intentions just by studying one’s facial expressions.
Despite the man’s effort, Yuan Zhaoxu seemed to have noticed something. He half-turned and gave the man a superficial smile. The man lowered his body even more before retreating into the darkness.
Turning back, Yuan Zhaoxu narrowed his eyes and stared into the distance. That girl who dared to love and hate, dared to accept and face problems, had long vanished from sight. With her sword, bound hair and deadly aura she had sprinted toward the seemingly sanctimonious yet truly vile manor. Toward those who had hurt and humiliated her. She was ready to fight.
“Amid life’s limitless restrictions and daily torments, only few would gladly take on debts of gratitude and duties to avenge…” A long time later a soft sigh could be heard spreading through the meandering breeze.
“You’re aging so well. Your elegance leaves me in deep admiration, heh heh…”
“You’re the grand swordmaster of this generation, how can I compare, ha ha ha…”
Under the burning candlelights in Mystic Essence Manor’s hall sat two old men, exchanging smiles and perfunctory compliments. They went on and on, oblivious to the darkening sky outside and the disciples who weren’t able to stifle their yawns.
“Come, Advisor… try our Jade Spring Tea, a special product from Xuan Yuan Mountains.”
As Lin Xuanyuan poured some tea, he used his baggy sleeves as cover to sneak a yawn.
He had been hosting for a long time. Not succumbing to old age, Wuji’s advisor remained hale and hearty. In spite of their incoherent and prolonged ramblings, he hadn’t shown any signs of drowsiness.
Behind his sleeves, Lin Xuanyuan’s gaze shuttled restlessly before falling on the Fourth Disciple, who had just slipped in from the side door.
‘Wha… Didn’t I ask him to guard Meng Fuyao? Why’s he back and looking so flurried?’
Before he could figure things out, a red figure flashed by the door. It was Pei Yuan. She leaned against the door frame, appearing all high and mighty, as she tidied her sleeves. She appeared indifferent, but the old fox could sense the invisible yet vicious currents that were flowing between the kids’ brows.
He held the teapot higher up to block his eyes from the guest as he mumbled inwardly. ‘What happened? Something seems off with them.’
But it wasn’t the time to interrogate. Moreover, with Pei Yuan’s identity, even Lin Xuan Yuan would have to think twice about lecturing her. The best he could do was to stay awake and accompany his guest.
The white-haired advisor was a reputable servant of the emperor but was more widely recognized as the prince’s mentor. A man of his age shouldn’t be this clear-headed, but it was also a fact that he was gabbling on, with his dark eye rings, amid the host’s consecutive yawns.
“The 5 Regions; Qing, Yi, Heng, Ming, and Di are split into 7 Nations; Tiansha, Wuji, Fufeng, Qiongcang, Taiyuan, Xuanji and Xuanyuan. Tiansha likes war, Wuji has talents, Taiyuan spreads martial spirit, Xuanji has wisdom, Fufeng has ethics, Xuanyuan is an expert on ancient techniques, Qiongcang…”
Out of nowhere came a rush of wind that caused the candlelights to flicker. This stilled the advisor for a moment before he started laughing and sipping on his tea. As if recalling something, he exclaimed, “Oh my, I’ve been too engrossed in our chat. Look at the time…”
Lin Xuanyuan shot up and answered enthusiastically, “Yes, yes. Your valuable knowledge, Sir, has enthralled everyone here, so much that I’ve forgotten about inviting you to rest! My bad, my bad. Someone take this man to his room, quick…”
“Huu…” A wave of exhalation spread across the hall.
The old advisor swaggered away, and the disciples started dispersing. Lin Xuanyuan raised his hand and called out, with a gaze different from before, “Fourth! Pei Yuan!”
The addressees, who were attempting to escape, stopped in their tracks and turned around stiffly. Pei Yuan lifted her eyes to meet Lin Xuanyuan’s suspicious gaze before breaking into a smile.
All of a sudden, outside the windows, a bolt of lightning struck. The jarring light shone down upon her face and twisted her smile into a sinister smirk, effectively giving Lin Xuanyuan a fright.
He looked out of the windows and caught sight of the sudden downpour. “It’s raining…” he muttered in astonishment.
It was raining.
The midnight rain arrived so suddenly and ferociously, as if ready to tear down the sky and ocean. In no time, the crashing rain had formed countless streams on the ground.
Pei Yuan walked out from the hall as a servant, sheltering her with an oil-paper umbrella, escorted her back to the Lanting Residence. Another servant led the way with a paper lantern, which she carefully shielded with her own sleeves. Even then, the frail flame was quickly put out by the relentless wind and rain.
Before the servant could plead for forgiveness, Pei Yuan rewarded her a slap that left a fresh red cut on her face. Blood flowed down together with the raindrops, but the girl dared not let out a single cry.
“Fool! Can’t even take care of a lantern!” Pei Yuan criticized while looking up at the blackened sky. A sudden wave of annoyance overtook her. With a frown on her face, she ran into her sheltered corridor, protecting her face from the rain.
“Don’t come over and dirty my ground,” Pei Yuan ordered. She hated to be disturbed and suffered from mysophobia, so it was no wonder that she had chosen to live in the cleanest and most refined residence. Being aware of her habits, the servants quickly lowered their head and withdrew.
The whipping rain outside was starkly juxtaposed with the still darkness indoors.
Pei Yuan pushed the door open.
It creaked, and Pei Yuan lowered her gaze automatically, spotting a faint water trail on the wooden floor.
Her heart jumped, and she reacted instantly by leaping backward.
But it was too late.
A white light flashed by, and a black figure jumped out with a long sword. He brandished it, fast but silent. All it took was a split second for him to reach Pei Yuan!
The hair-raising sound of flesh tearing rang in Pei Yuan’s ears as she felt a cold, painful sensation on the left side of her forehead. It did not take long for her eye to be covered in blood.
The fresh red stain obstructed her vision. She couldn’t identify the assassin, but she knew that she had to save herself. Gritting her teeth, Pei Yuan retrieved her sword. With a sharp jolt, its tip lit up, as brightly as all the stars in the sky combined. It was an absolutely dazzling sight. In such an emergency, she had no choice but to utilize her rarely used technique, “Sword of the Vast Sky”. It was a power move that her master had secretly imparted to her.
Her opponent understood the might of this move, so instead of fighting head-on, he slipped away from her side like a fish. In that brief moment of passing, however, he had managed to deal her with another blow, resulting in an additional slash on the right side of her forehead. Yet again, fresh blood streamed out like spring water. Her vision was now completely blocked by two red waterfalls.
The blade responsible for leaving a cross on Pei Yuan’s face was as swift as lightning, and each slash contained deep-seated anger.
Face soaked in blood and unable to see anything, Pei Yuan’s execution was hindered. The searing pain made her anxious. She wasn’t aware of the actual state of her face but judging from the amount of blood, she knew she was disfigured. Such viciousness… that person must loathe her.
A woman’s face was her life, and what Pei Yuan felt at this point wasn’t merely physical but also emotional pain. Only by killing the perpetrator could she feel at ease. Determined, she dismissed all thoughts of her wounds, raised her weapon and wiped the blood off her face with it. In the dark, a red glow flowed eerily down her sword. Bubbling spots gradually appeared, as though countless poisonous spiders were crawling all around it. It was a spine-chilling sight.