What part of Celestial Mountain did Tang Li’s fiancée hail from?
“It’s the only daughter of your martial uncle Cang Qiuzi, Cang Xiaoying,”[1. Cang Xiaoying (苍晓盈) - Cang is a surname meaning “dark green/blue, grey, ashen,” Xiao is “dawn, daybreak,” Ying is “be full of, be filled with.”] Aunt Ru replied honestly.
Cang Xiaoying? Han Yunxi thought. You might as well call her ‘cangying’ for “fly” instead. What Cang “xiaoying”--Cang Little Fly? Can we call her father Cang Daying for Cang Big Fly too?
Han Yunxi had never seen Cang Qiuzi, but she already hated this second leader of the Celestial Mountain Sword Sect to the core. He was the one who injured Long Feiye last time when he’d been tricked away by Duanmu Yao. Han Yunxi was hoping for the day she could go with Long Feiye to meet his master in the mountain, but her second priority was to give Cang Qiuzi a thorough lesson. Who knew that Tang Zijin would actually try to win the man over on his side? Tang Li really deserved to run from that wedding. In the future, she vowed to help him keep escaping it forever!
“Cang Qiuzi’s daughter?” Long Feiye said coldly. “What skills you have, Tang Clan!”
Tang Zijin didn’t understand Long Feiye’s hostility. “Feiye, Celestial Mountain Sword Sect has no idea of our connections…” He stopped here because Han Yunxi was still present, trailing off before he made things clear. Neither he nor Aunt Ru knew exactly how much Long Feiye had divulged to the woman about the Tang Clan. But one thing was certain: Long Feiye would never tell her that he was the East Qin imperial heir. Before they finished all their preparations, that was a secret to be kept in their hearts. Once things were ready to go, the revelation would be a thunderclap that shocked the world and stunned all of Cloud Realm Continent!
“Rather than throwing in all our stakes with the elder of the sword sect, why not have a backup plan with Cang Qiuzi as well? Moreover, that Cang Xiaoying controls quite a few properties atop the mountain. She’s someone who can take care of clan affairs,” Tang Zijin explained. Although he was ignorant of the true state of affairs atop Celestial Mountain, much less their internal power struggles, Long Feiye knew them all too well. Even as the oldest disciple of the sword sect head, he had no guarantee of controlling the sect himself. His master couldn’t offer him any protection either in his current state. Because Cang Qiuzi had no idea that the Tang Clan and the Duke of Qin were affiliated, this gave Tang Zijin the perfect chance to use the man. Objectively speaking, he had made the right and prudent choice.
But Long Feiye couldn’t accept the fact that Tang Zijin was using Tang Li’s marriage as a tool to accomplish his goals! Tang Li might be able to ignore his wife if he married anyone else, but once he took on Cang Qiuzi’s daughter, he’d be trapped for the rest of his life. Cang Qiuzi would never allow his child to suffer a hint of mistreatment at the Tang Clan’s hands.
“Feiye, just where is Tang Li?” Tang Zijin asked desperately. “A few days ago, Cang Qiuzi sent a missive threatening the Tang Clan. If we don’t hand over Tang Li, we’ll have to face the consequences!”
Long Feiye looked at them coldly without a word. Han Yunxi felt rather perturbed. She had witnessed firsthand just how cruel Long Feiye could be. If a father like Tang Zijin could sacrifice his own son for the greater good, why not Long Feiye as well? Tang Zijin’s move was all done to benefit Long Feiye, after all. But Long Feiye remained silent as Tang Zijin and Aunt Ru continued to fret.
“Feiye, where is he?” Aunt Ru was even beginning to sound indignant. “Li’er is stuck with this now. He can hide for a while, but not an entire lifetime! If he comes back with me now and admits his wrongs with an apology, Cang Qiuzi will still forgive him. But if we keep delaying things, he won’t even have that chance! Feiye, you’re not protecting like this, but hurting him instead!”
Long Feiye’s eyes flickered with a complicated emotion, but he remained mute. Han Yunxi observed Tang Zijin and Aunt Ru’s frantic states and wanted to curse them both out. If you knew it would turn out like this, why get involved in the first place? It’s Tang Zijin who made this mess, not us.
Long Feiye and Tang Li hadn’t bothered to find out anything about the fiancée, but those two hadn’t told them any details either until now. It really was a difficult plight to deal with Celestial Mountain when they were clearly in the wrong! Finally, Tang Zijin lost his patience and cried, “If you won’t tell us, then this old man will search by myself!”
Quicker than him was Aunt Ru, who darted out the door to the courtyard beyond as if her speed would help her track down Tang Li faster. Tang Zijin didn’t need his subordinates to search for him when he and her could hunt themselves. Long Feiye didn’t stop them, but only glanced at Han Yunxi and sat back down.
“Has it gotten troublesome?” she asked.
Long Feiye nodded. “Of all times to get involved with Cang Qiuzi!” Last time, Duanmu Yao had tricked him into meeting the man. This time, the girl had used Celestial Mountain’s name to threaten the Chu Clan. It was clear that her relations with Cang Qiuzi weren’t shallow. He’d sent Tang Li to Celestial Mountain for an investigation, but he’d returned with inconclusive results. Still, he had no choice now. With the western regions still unstable, he could have just watched while Celestial Mountain duked it out with Ning Cheng. Now Tang Zijin had dragged trouble right up to their doors.
After some thought, Long Feiye summoned Chu Xifeng.
“How are things going regarding Empress Xue?” he asked.
“Duanmu Yao arrived at the Chu Clan barracks yesterday at their invitation and led a personal investigation to track down the assassin. But I couldn’t uncover any specific details beyond that,” Chu Xifeng replied.
“Just her by herself?” Long Feiye asked coldly.
“No, there were quite a few Celestial Mountain swordsmen with her. They were quite the crowd,” Chu Xifeng said. The two of them had hardly exchanged a few words before Tang Zijin and Aunt Ru returned, forcing the subordinate to withdraw to the side.
Han Yunxi saw their expressions and knew that they hadn’t found a thing. Tang Zijin was about to speak when Long Feiye said, “I already said he’s not with your lordship. It’s up to you whether you believe me or not. If you can’t find him, then your lordship can’t stand out for the trouble with Celestial Mountain, either. The Tang Clan will have to do what it has to do.”
Aunt Ru’s face was full of disbelief. Tang Zijin was far calmer and shut her up with a single look. “Feiye, these matters pertain to the safety of the Tang Clan. Cang Qiuzi is perfectly capable of killing his way to the clan for standing up on the marriage agreement. If you see Tang Li, please bring him back. Consider this your uncle asking you for a favor!”
“Alright!” Long Feiye agreed easily.
Tang Zijin patted Long Feiye on the shoulder, his actions filled with faith. He asked after his wellbeing next before finally taking his leave. Aunt Ru’s discontent was written all over her face. She even shot Han Yunxi a look before she left as well. Han Yunxi simply met her gaze, causing the woman to immediately avert her eyes. It wasn’t clear whether she was feeling guilt or simply contrite.
When the two left, both Han Yunxi and Chu Xifeng pounced with the questions.
“What do we do? Should we figure it out with Tang Li?” “Your Highness, Young Master Tang’s wedding affairs...it’s truly not good to delay them.”
Long Feiye couldn’t think of a solution immediately, but he was certain about one thing: he would never let Tang Li become Cang Qiuzi’s son-in-law!
“It looks like we’ll have to apply pressure to Empress Xue’s matters,” he remarked. This would delay the pressuring problem on their hands. If Duanmu Yao could use Celestial Mountain’s name to investigate the Chu Clan barracks, then Cang Qiuzi must be backing her up. The only way to distract him from the postponed wedding was to interfere with the current affairs.
“This subordinate understands and will follow up accordingly,” Chu Xifeng immediately withdrew.
Han Yunxi wanted to seek out Tang Li, but as it turned out, he’d stopped hiding in the courtyard and actually ran away. He really wanted to hide, but he understood Tang Zijin and Aunt Ru even better than Long Feiye. They would definitely search the entire courtyard fist, then find ways to surround it on all sides by 100 li until they ferreted him out. Before that happened, he had to escape beyond those boundaries to be truly safe.
Currently, he’d just evaded some scouts from the Tang Clan and was escaping along the grass by the side of the road. He hadn’t dared to take a horse. Since it was only springtime, the grass wasn’t very thick and had no way of covering his body. Before him was nothing but a stretch of flat ground without a single place to hide. His only choice was to run until he found a hiding spot. He had no idea when his pursuers would catch up, but only hoped that they wouldn’t follow him this way. Using his lightness techniques, Tang Li fled across the plains until he saw a carriage suddenly heading his way.
“I’m saved!” Tang Li exclaimed before flipping towards the ride and landing in front of the horses.
The carriage braked to a stop in front of the ethereal looking Tang Li in his snow-white robes. He didn’t look anything like the typical highway brigand!
“Who are you? What do you want?” the driver demanded.
“Elder brother, this one is a disciple of the Shuangqing Mountains and came down to do some official business. Unfortunately, my horse died en route. As my journey is still long, and there’s no villages or inns in sight, this one would ask for assistance in gaining a ride. I apologize for any possible offense or startling. Shuangqing Mountain is just half a day’s travel ahead. This one is willing to pay for the carriage fare if this elder brother will do me a convenience.”
For once, Tang Li’s words actually matched his first impression on others! Dressed in white with a jade headpiece adorning his hair, his polite manners and elegant air combined with his divinely handsome looks made him seem almost immortal. He happened to raise his head at the same time the occupant of the carriage looked out. She was a woman dressed as a man, her hair bound up in a bun. Her features were fine, her figure slim, and her gender obvious despite her manly dress. That was because she wasn’t disguising her looks, but simply preferred men’s clothing to the complicated robes of feminine dress.
She was a young woman, but held a quiet serenity in her gaze. Her whole person gave off an experienced, steady air, but her stare upon Tang Li was almost hazy with the rare hint of a young maiden’s fancy. She was stronger than most men, but had always favored good-looking, ethereal men. However, she hated those who spoke too much and too often over vulgar topics. Soon enough, the girlish look in her eyes disappeared as she demanded, “What’s your name?”
Tang Li hated tomboy women, so he’d never understood how Long Feiye had fallen for Han Yunxi in the end. In his eyes, only declicate slips of a girl qualified as real women. But for the sake of hiding himself, he kept up his act and said politely, “This one’s surname is Chang, given name Li.”
“Chang Li? Chang Li, Chang Li...like ‘to stay long without ever parting…’” the woman mumbled to herself before giving her final verdict. “This isn’t a good name, it’s too sentimental.”
Tang Li smiled lightly, the sight dazzling yet modest, a dashing and mesmerizing sight. The woman grew dazed again before she asked, “What are you smiling about?”
“All meetings hope to be long without ever parting. We only met by chance today in pasing. There’s no telling if we’ll meet again in this lifetime, much stay long without ever parting. Miss, I shall take my leave now.” As Tang Li finished, he pretended to bid his farewells with clasped hands like a free and unrestrained wanderer.
But the woman called him back after only a few steps. “Wait, didn’t you need to borrow a ride? Climb on! I’ll take you for a trip so we won’t have to part!”
1. Chang Li (长离) - Chang is a surname meaning “long,” it can also be pronounced Zhang which means “to grow.” Tang Li has used the first option here, which rhymes with his original name. Li is “to part” and the same character in Tang Li. To stay long without ever parting comes from the phrase chang bie lie (长别离).