In truth, war was a great fear of the Li Clan. So why was Great General Mu doing this?
The elders outside would have deposed of Great General Mu ages ago if not for his absolute status as the clan’s direct bloodline descendant. Naturally, Great General Mu knew they wouldn’t dare to charge inside either. Nor could the elders hope to stop his orders without taking his life.
How could he be so bellicose, so skilled?
If he was the former, he would have moved long ago to take over Cloud Realm, much less wait until now. The strength of the Li Clan’s military circles were easy enough to take over any piece of the kingdom. Why would he spend all his time maintaining a neutral stance in Tianning instead? Why would he follow after Long Tianmo for so long into a corner?
Everything he did was for the sake of his son and daughter!
He had deep emotional ties with his late wife and never took a concubine. She left him two children, whom he doted on to find some measure of comfort. If his daughter’s name hadn’t been ruined until she was forced to marry Long Tianmo to get a roof over her head, why would he step into Tianning’s turbid waters at all? Since he’d gotten involved, he’d make sure to find the greatest happiness for his child.
Even if she never won Long Tianmo’s heart, she could maintain a most respected seat by his side. That would help wash away the humiliation of her earlier years. Liuyue had lost her bet with Han Yunxi. Although she didn’t really strip and run around in the streets, her reputation was completely tarnished. From then on, she didn’t even dare to step outside the door.
How could a father not dote on his daughter?
Whether or not he was right or wrong, a parent would always protect his child. It would be sham to say he didn’t hate and resent Han Yunxi. Only if his daughter’s position outranked Han Yunxi’s, only if his daughter’s ostentation outshone Han Yunxi’s, would he be able to treat the secret troubles of his daughter and have everyone forget about her past humiliation.
Thus, he had no choice but to assist Long Tianmo. He waited for his moment to help the man fight for a piece of his own kingdom. Tianan’s forces were limited in both wealth and manpower. They were paltry compared to any other country on the continent, so he could only await his chance. That would be when Long Feiye and Han Yunxi had their internal conflicts!
The Hundred Poisons Sect was an excellent chance. He used Emperor Kangcheng’s name to summon all the factions of the world to Hundred Poisons Sect as witnesses. He had planned for them to know of the enmity between East and West Qin and see Long Feiye and Han Yunxi be forever irreconcilable.
But he never expected Han Yunxi and Long Feiye to kill Bai Yanqing and extricate themselves from the trouble! Later on, he discovered the animosity between the two countries was simply one big misunderstanding orchestrated by the Black and Wind Clans. With his hopes extinguished, his chance disappeared. Meanwhile, Long Tianmo seized the chance at Hundred Poisons Sect to talk marriage alliances with Emperor Kangcheng and have the Western Zhou princess Duanmu Jin to marry into the court. This was Long Tianmo’s way of directly provoking him with a severe blow. Western Zhou and Tianan agreed to be sworn friends and allies. When Duanmu Jin arrived, the Mu Clan would have to yield three parts to them, leaving Liuyue to suffer.
After all, provoking Duanmu Jin would only ruin relations between Tianan and Western Zhou. Although the Mu Clan only obeyed one person in Tianan while reigning over all the rest, they couldn’t afford to shoulder this blame. When he was at his wit’s end, Duanmu Jin ended up poisoned. That caused him to have a row with his own son before he left the house and never came back.
It wasn’t until one month ago that he received a sword and some poison. Only then did he know that Bai Yanqing had been keeping an eye on the Mu Clan for ages. The sword belonged to his son, a gift to commemorate his manhood. Bai Yanqing had kidnapped Qingwu and blackmailed him into using the Li Clan’s name to command all its followers to rebel. Otherwise, he’d castrate Mu Qingwu.
How could Great General Mu stand up to such threats?
That would be the biggest source of humiliation to Qingwu as well as the strongest threat to the Li Clan. Mu Qingwu was a direct bloodline descendant to the clan!
Besides obeying Bai Yanqing, he had no other choice! He knew better than anyone else that killing the inhabitants of the city to blackmail Han Yunxi would only cause the Li Clan’s name to fall into ruin. But he didn’t dare to refuse Bai Yanqing, much less talk terms with him. He was deathly afraid that infuriating the man would spell disaster for Qingwu.
The only path he left for the Li Clan was to hide the truth and make them believe this was all part of his own selfish ambitions. He only hoped in the future that the world would pin all the blame on him and spare his clan. Meanwhile, the poison that came with the sword was the same toxin that had affected Duanmu Jin in the palace. Liuyue had swore to him in secret that she had nothing to do with it, which ended up being true. He just hadn’t been able to track down the culprit until Bai Yanqing delivered the poison into his own hands.
Bai Yanqing said that if he couldn’t manage things well, Qingwu would pay his price while Liuyue would suffer from poison of her own. Great General Mu could only wholly submit to the man. While lost in his thoughts, a retainer suddenly called from outside, “Great General, a letter for you!”
The various elders clustered around the door stared at the letter in the retainer’s hand. Just as Great General Mu opened the door, one of them snatched it away.
“Impertinence!” Great General Mu said coldly.
“Clan Head, are you planning to destroy the Li Clan? You should know, the military academy’s already descended into chaos!” the elder shot back.
Ever since the fall of the Great Qin Empire, the Li Clan went into obscurity and started up a secret military academy to spread its teachings in tactics. Because the Li Clan had never required anything from its students, it was adored and respected by its pupils, who kept the secret of the academy until present day.
At this rate, the academy wouldn’t live on in face of the massacre threats to the lockdown city.
Great General Mu had already gone over numerous consequences in his head, but he had already decided to protect Qingwu and Liuyue until the end. At the very least, the Li Clan’s bloodline should live on.
“What, are you lot planning to rebel too?” Great General Mu got serious.
The various elders were all senior members of the Li Clan. None of them liked the sound of that. The elder who took the letter tossed it back at Great General Mu, too angry to even speak. He tossed his sleeves and stalked off while the other elders scattered. If this went on, they might really rebel after all!
Great General Mu had no time to consider that possibility. He only wanted to know what Bai Yanqing was planning next. However, Bai Yanqing’s orders were simply thus: toss 500 corpses out of the city walls!
The 100 victims from before were all killed by Bai Yanqing himself! Who knew the man would move on to kill 500 more! Wasn’t he making the entire world his enemy in exchange for guarding this city and waiting for Han Yunxi to arrive?
Great General Mu clenched his fists before slamming one against the wall. He kept punching it until his fist was a mess of blood and meat. He hadn’t done anything evil in this lifetime, but who knew he’d meet with such misfortune now! Such a cruel and ruthless butcher of lives, although not from his own hand, began because of his choices and under his name. How could his heart...bear it?
Yet Great General Mu did as he was told, tossing 500 corpses in front of the city gates. News soon spread across Cloud Realm Continent again.
Bai Yanqing had long planned this move. Han Yunxi’s group couldn’t afford to wait any longer. Although the past days had brought no fresh intel regarding Bai Yanqing, they had to act. Long Feiye made an appointment to meet with Great General Mu at noon two days from now. Tonight, the four of them slipped into Tianan’s capital city and went straight for General Mu’s estate. Once there, they realized the place was completely empty!
“It’s a trap! Scatter!” Long Feiye ordered.
But before anyone could leave, they heard a woman’s screams coming from the rear courtyard. It was only one scream, but Long Feiye and the men all hesitated while Han Yunxi recognized it at once.
“It’s Ning Jing!” she didn’t think twice before flipping onto a roof to run for the rear courtyard.
Long Feiye and Gu Qishao chased after her in a hurry, but neither were faster than Gu Beiyue. Han Yunxi reared the back courtyard and followed the sound to a thatched roof cottage. As soon as she reached the door, Gu Beiyue also arrived and grabbed her hand. “Princess, it has to be Bai Yanqing. This is a trap!”
Of course Han Yunxi knew the true mastermind behind everything was Bai Yanqing, but she couldn’t help herself after hearing Ning Jing scream!
“Ning Jing, are you inside?” Han Yunxi probed.
There was no sound. By now, Long Feiye and Gu Qishao had arrived as well. Long Feiye gave Han Yunxi a nasty glare, which she understood but didn’t acknowledge. Her thoughts were all on the courage. She couldn’t have heard wrong, the person had to be Ning Jing. But why wasn’t she replying her? Who else was in the thatched cottage?
Was Ning Jing trying to stop them from risking themselves, or unable to talk because she was under someone’s thrall?
“It has to be Ning Jing!” Han Yunxi murmured. In other words, if she was right, they had to use this chance to rescue her. Long Feiye and the rest could agree on that point!
Long Feiye pulled Han Yunxi far away from the cottage at the same time Gu Beiyue and Gu Qishao followed. The four of them stood back to back, on guard against the building and any movements from their surroundings. You couldn’t be too careful against Bai Yanqing!
As they observed their surroundings, Gu Beiyue spoke. “Senior Bai, the princess is your daughter. If there’s any misunderstandings between father and daughter, why not come to clear them up?” Of course he knew Han Yunxi didn’t acknowledge this father, but this was one way to goad him out.
Understanding his intentions, Han Yunxi added loudly, “Bai Yanqing, just what did you do to my mother in the past? Why would she hate you so much? She’d rather give herself to the Han Clan and Han Congan instead of you! Speak, what kind of unforgivable things did you do to my mother! I’m telling you now, I, Han Yunxi, would rather follow Han Congan’s ‘Han’ than accept you as my father! You’re not worthy! My mother must have been blind to fancy you!”
As she spoke, she scoured her surroundings. When there was no reaction, her eyes turned cold before she said, “Bai Yanqing, I’ll tell you now, you better hide yourself well. Otherwise, I’ll castrate you as soon as I see you to avenge my mother! Then I’ll kill you to avenge myself!”
Even the three men around here felt a chill go down their backs. Gu Qishao looked askance at Long Feiye and muttered…Previous Chapter Next Chapter
I'm pretty sure Great General Mu could have thought of something, but since his hatred for HYX precludes anything else, he's stuck like this today.
What's that military saying we just read a few chapters ago? No allies are forever, no enemies are eternal? You'd think if it was his children's safety at stake he'd form a temporary alliance with Ye-Xi just to screw over BYQ but....eh, who says all direct bloodline descendants are outstanding and smart, amirite? (> _ >)