As Han Yunxi dragged Fourth Young Miss Ren out of the room, Bai Yanqing had already gone to grab the jade, only to realize it wasn’t Ten-Thousand Year Corpse Jade at all!
“Stop her!” he hollered as he chased after them. But Han Yunxi had already poisoned both of Hao San’s legs and ran into a dark corridor. Two tunnels were before them. The left had light, indicating it led to the cliffs, but it was very likely the Poison Sect’s sacrificial altar was in the dark woods beneath it. That was one problem Han Yunxi considered when she was first brought out of the small dark room.
This time, she ran without hesitation to the right! While imprisoned, she had already thought of multiple solutions and which way to run! The left looked lovely, but was filled with dangers. Bai Yanqing would never lock her up so close to an exit. Although it seemed easy to run out that way, it was probably closest to true danger. She guessed that Bai Yanqing would have left an array there lying in wait. She didn’t want to be trapped right after she ran out. Her best choice was to head right. As long as she wasn’t trapped, she’d have a chance to keep escaping.
If the underground palace at Clearbreeze Peak matched that of Monarch Peak, then the other exit would be to head up and leave through a tree!
Han Yunxi killed five to six guards on her way before quickly vanishing into the darkness. Bai Yanqing had already lost track of her by the time he ran out. He was about to give chase when Hao San grabbed him by the leg, “Master, save me!”
Hao San might know martial arts and poisons, but he was no match for Han Yunxi! He’d hardly fought one round with her before she caught him with a poisoned needle. His legs were already in too much pain to stand, but he had no idea what the poison could be. He only sensed that his legs would be crippled, his very bones rendered useless, until death greeted him. His only hope was for his master to save him.
“Get out of the way!” Bai Yanqing was both angry and desperate. How could he be bothered to care about Hao San? Yet Hao San kept a death grip on his leg. He wasn’t hugging his master, but his last chance at life! He’d die as soon as he let go.
“Get off, do you hear me?!” Bai Yanqing roared as he looked anxiously at the dark right tunnel.
Long Feiye’s group had already infiltrated the maze. If he ran into the two men, he’d have to waste more time before taking his hostages away. He might not be able to die, but that didn’t mean he didn’t feel pain or get injured. He was very clear that his martial arts skills were a long shot from Long Feiye’s own.
“Master, this old servant has served you all these years. Even if I made no contributions of merit, my hard work is a credit to my service. This old servant--”
“Useless thing!” Bai Yanqing smashed his skull with a fist before Hao San could finish. Fresh blood flowed from Hao San’s scalp and trickled down his face. He never thought he’d end up like this today.
Still, he should have thought of it ages ago, right? Jun Yixie and Bai Yuqiao had also followed Bai Yanqing for years. They’d even grown up under him! Yet they’d been tossed aside just the same. Bai Yanqing was simply a madman with no human feelings!
As Hao San raised his head to look at Bai Yanqing, he suddenly recalled Jun Yixie’s face in his mind and felt regret! He shouldn’t have been loyal to Bai Yanqing, but Jun Yixie! If...if he had realized earlier, this might not be his ending! Everything would have been different!
Despite his heavy injuries, Hao San didn’t let go. He gripped Bai Yanqing tight and stared at him. “You...you...it’s no wonder… No wonder Mu Xin didn’t want you back then! Hahah…”
Infuriated, Bai Yanqing jerked him up by the collar and demanded, “Why? What do you mean? Speak!”
“Why didn’t she want me? Speak! Tell me!”
Blood kept flowing down Hao San’s face, covering his features in scarlet. He kept laughing, a cold smile that stopped abruptly when his expression stiffened.
He was dead…
Bai Yanqing gave a start before realizing Hao San was gone by his own hands. He’s followed me for at least 30 years, hasn’t he? He was even around when I was with Mu Xin.
Of all the underlings he had in his command, only Hao San knew about his past with Mu Xin. Hao San understood his grievances and resentment with Mu Xin best, and was the only one who drank with him to drown his sorrows.
Bai Yanqing let go, sending Hao San tumbling to the floor, unmoving. He really was dead…
“Why! Why didn’t she want me? Why? Tell me! Tell me, ah!” Bai Yanqing cried while staring at his palms. He suddenly felt a flash of regret as sadness suffused his heart, but he quickly ignored the feelings.
He deserves to die!
If he hadn’t got in the way, Han Yunxi couldn’t have escaped! He should die! Without delay, Bai Yanqing turned towards the right tunnel and gave chase.
At the same time, Long Feiye and Gu Qishao had already entered the expansive maze. Meanwhile, Gu Beiyue and Tang Li were still standing before 20 potential entrances, wondering which one to pick. They had entered from the cliffside and broken through the array, but each of these dark, deep tunnels looked identical. Back at Monarch’s Peak there was the same issue with a different danger lurking in each one. Moreover, all of the tunnels except one led to a dead end. Gu Beiyue had chosen to hide in the shadows back then and witnessed the arrogance of the Chu siblings, as well as how Han Yunxi had swindled them all. That was also when Chu Qingge had cemented her grudge against Han Yunxi.
But there were only a few tunnels back then, while 20 lay before them now.
“Tang Clan Head, please wait here momentarily. I’ll try them one by one,” Gu Beiyue finally decided.
Tang Li immediately stopped him. “No! That’s too dangerous!”
Although Gu Beiyue was fast enough to flee, suppose the tunnels hid poisonous beasts? This was the Poison Sect! They might be doing something dangerous already, but they couldn’t afford to take such risks right at the entrance. They still had to leave some chances to deal with Bai Yanqing after all. Moreover, they didn’t know if the man’s subordinates were simply watching them from the dark instead of transferring men here. Were they afraid of raising a ruckus with too many people, and thus concealing themselves?
“It’s alright,” Gu Beiyue said seriously.
“No deal. If you get poisoned, what am I supposed to do? Who will take me inside?” Tang Li retorted.
“Tang Clan Head, we can’t waste any more time. His Highness’s side should have already gone inside,” Gu Beiyue reasoned. If possible, he didn’t want to risk it here either, especially with such a high chance of danger. But there was no other choice.
“How long will it take you to go through these tunnels?” Tang Li asked.
“It’s hard to tell without knowing their lengths,” Gu Beiyue admitted.
“How about going to the medical academy and bringing back a cage full of mice?” Tang Li suggested as he brought out a series of hidden weapons. At the sight of them, Gu Beiyue’s eyes lit up.
“That’s an idea!”
With his speed, it would be a cinch to run to Medical City and back. This mountain range was located right at the rear of the academy!
The two of them withdrew to the base of the cliff, where Tang Li waited with the guards while Gu Beiyue ran back to the academy. Soon enough, they were back at the tunnels with two big cages of mice. The academy used mice for experiments and had raised a huge brood, so they could take as many as they wanted. One cage was already filled with at least twenty!
When Tang Li saw that their mouths had been sealed, he couldn’t help but admire Gu Beiyue for his thorough thinking and fast speeds. He took out a dark needle. It was different from his other weapons as it had a thin sliver of string attached. The composition was a mystery, but it was colorless and transparent, yet very tough. It was impossible to spot unless one was very nearby. Gu Beiyue tugged on the string a few times, but it didn’t break.
“This is ‘Needlework,’ used to stall its victims. The needle’s pretty ordinary, but the thread is a Tang Clan custom creation called ‘shadowthread.’ A few of the elders came up with it just last month! The shadow guards each have three needles. If we manage to miss Bai Yanqing and let him escape, one of them just needs to hit him with a needle before he’ll be able to track him for a while. This can buy us time!” Tang Li explained as he stabbed a needled into a mouse’s hindquarters. Although it hurt, it wasn’t deadly and simply caused the frightened mouse to start thrashing.
Tang Li set the mouse in front of the first tunnel and it started running for its life. As it fled, Tang Li saw the roll of thread on his wrist quickly unfurl itself. Soon enough, the thread stopped moving. Tang Li hastily dragged the mouse back out, but he and Gu Beiyue both sucked in a breath at the sight.
“Dangit...Gu Beiyue, I saved you a life!”
The mouse was already dead, the victim of some unknown poison that had distorted its face beyond all recognition. They hadn’t even heard anything from the depths of the tunnel, so who knows what laid within!
“Do you have more Needlework?” Gu Beiyue asked.
Tang Li quickly gave him one and the two divided up the tunnels between them. Very soon, they pulled back a total of 19 dead mice. Some were bitten by unknown creatures, and only had half their bodies left. The mountains were already so dangerous that even a simple poison miasma from Bai Yanqing could easily take their lives.
This time, Tang Li had truly been prudent. As all those 19 tunnels were dead ends, Bai Yanqing had long trapped them with poison gas. Even if Gu Beiyue ran for his life, he’d be poisoned as soon as he went in. There was only one more tunnel left, so Tang Li exhaled and said, “This should be the one!”
Gu Beiyue tested it out with a mouse first, who ran down its length until they ran out of thread, forcing the doctor to drag him back out. It was still alive and kicking by the end.
“This is it, it can’t be wrong!” Tang Li was thrilled.
Not daring to delay, Gu Beiyue used his lightness techniques to speed through with Tang Li. But it wasn’t long before they ran smack into another seal formation. Fortunately, Gu Beiyue had studied the Qimen Dunjia arts for countless sleepless nights in Tianan over the past three months. Otherwise, they’d truly be stuck inside today.
After breaking through the array, they ran into another one. Bai Yanqing had left five of them in this tunnel. It was a good thing Han Yunxi hadn’t chosen this exit, but the density of the formations made Gu Beiyue guess that the prisoners’ quarters were straight ahead! By the time they broke through the last one and escaped, they saw from a distance…Previous Chapter Next Chapter
I understand it's important to save HYX and all but...three months for 2~3 people to break through a skill that Bai Yanqing and his ancestors have spent years to master? Suddenly, the Qimen Dunjia looks a lot less impressive, and the Wind Clan a lot more weak!
Well, maybe the guy's gone loony and lost his touch. *shrug*