Was Duanmu Yao’s injury a scheme or an accident? That would depend on how the girl sought payback against the Tang Clan next. Currently, the story of Tang Li’s pilgrimage to seek forgiveness had taken on all sorts of flavor text in the passing. Many people who’d cursed him in the past were now sympathizing or even forgiving the boy. Some were even praising him for taking responsibility like a man.
When Han Yunxi heard the news, she couldn’t help the flip-flops in her heart. Just what was wrong with this world?! If Tang Li had really done something so humiliating to a woman, she’d never treat him as a friend again. She couldn’t understand what the public was thinking by forgiving him after another wave of instigation.
Meanwhile, everyone was still sitting together in the same room. No one else moved to rebuke Aunt Ru anymore. All of them were waiting for news from Duanmu Yao’s side. If her injuries were light, perhaps there was still a way to salvage the situation. Otherwise, the Tang Clan would have not only offended Cang Qiuzi, but Celestial Mountain Sword Sect’s grandmaster as well.
Time passed slowly while they waited. In fact, an entire night went by with no news at all. Lady Tang stretched her back and said, “You should all go back and rest. We can’t avoid it if it’s a disaster, and we won’t be wrecked if fortune smiles upon us instead.”
As soon as she finished speaking, Chu Xifeng ran into the room. “Your Highness, the sword sect master sent a letter!”
Tang Zijin’s heart leapt into his throat. “So fast!”
“Duanmu Yao must have tattled!” Lady Tang said hatefully.
But Chu Xifeng was quick to explain. “This isn’t for the Tang Clan, but His Highness personally.”
A personal letter from the master to Long Feiye?
Another coincidence? Or did the sword sect master discover the connection between Long Feiye and the Tang Clan? If so, how?
In a flash, the atmosphere grew tense. Everyone was staring at the letter in Chu Xifeng’s hands anxiously. As a result, no one caught the self-satisfied smile that flashed across Aunt Ru’s face. Still calm, Long Feiye picked up the missive and slowly tore it open. Nobody dared to draw near except for Han Yunxi, who stood by his side and read the contents with him.
Her expression dimmed as she read on.
“Just what’s happened?” Tang Zijin couldn’t resist asking.
His original plan was to seek additional support for Long Feiye from Celestial Mountain. But if his plans ended up hurting the man instead, how would he have face to meet his dead little sister in the afterlife again? Han Yunxi silently returned to her seat without a word. Long Feiye glanced back at her, a helpless smile rising to his lips. Without a word, he tossed the letter to Tang Zijin.
As soon as he caught it, everyone else drew closer for a look. Aunt Ru was the last to approach, as if she already knew what to expect and was just feigning interest. Unfortunately, Long Feiye was completely focused on Han Yunxi and missed her acting entirely. The group read the letter before Tang Zijin sighed at the results.
“Thank goodness, it wasn’t a serious injury. She can still be saved,” he said.
Tang Li exhaled in relief as well. “Aunt Ru, it’s good that you didn’t use much force. Otherwise, ten paces away with the Meteor Dart is more than enough to leave a gaping hole in her.”
Lady Tang expressed similar sentiments. “Duanmu Yao probably fled quickly to treat her wound. Zijin, let’s hurry and spread word publicly before she beats us to it.”
“Mother, find someone to talk with Ouyang Ning Jing so she can publicly denounce Duanmu Yao. Then we can come out and apologize before reconciling both sides,” Tang Li said hastily.
After experiencing such a disaster firsthand, everyone was turning into public relations experts.
By now, Tang Zijn had finished reading the second half of the letter. “Duanmu Yao will need someone to assist her in healing her wounds.” Tang Li and the rest all drew close at his words to finish the letter for themselves. When they were done, Chu Xifeng was the first to look towards Long Feiye, followed by everyone else.
The sword sect master had only mentioned in the letter that Duanmu Yao had incurred an internal injury that needed treatment from one with massive internal energy reserves. Long Feiye was to find her immediately for healing purposes; not only that, he must take care of her and must track down the one who injured her to avenge her. Once the snow thawed, he must bring her back up to Celestial Mountain for further recuperation as soon as possible.
Although they were nothing but written words, the three “musts” present in the letter made it obvious that these were direct orders from the old man. Moreover, it was clear that he doted on Duanmu Yao intensely. Had Long Feiye ever owed the girl anything? Their master was showing blatant favoritism!
Han Yunxi sat gloomily by the tea table, while Long Feiye stood tall and dignified before still. Despite the contrast between the two, it still seemed like he was a guilty criminal awaiting judgment for his sins. Chu Xifeng couldn’t help but gulp. Judging from his experience, esteemed wangfei was truly unhappy right now. This was a serious problem.
The Tang Clan family trio exchanged complicated glances, while Aunt Ru stood on one side, staring coldly at Han Yunxi with a mixture of disdain and hatred. She still didn’t understand what this dratted woman had done to have to right to throw temper tantrums in front of Feiye. Duanmu Yao had gained the sword sect master’s love and favor and allied herself with Cang Qiuzi. In the future, all of Celestial Mountain would be at her beck and call. What could Han Yunxi offer in comparison? What right did she have to feel jealous in the first place?
In the silence of the room, Long Feiye’s expression was inscrutable. From their angle, all the occupants could see was Han Yunxi’s small, stern-looking face and feel uneasy. Tang Zijin was the first to break the calm with a sigh. “It’s extremely fortunate that the sword sect master still seems to be unaware of the facts. Duanmu Yao only said that she was injured, but not how.”
Aunt Ru added hastily, “Duanmu Yao came to help out Cang Qiuzi this time. She wouldn’t be stupid enough to tell everything to the sword sect master. He and his second in command have their own share of conflicts, after all.”
Tang Zijin slapped himself upside the forehead. “That’s right! Everything was a false alarm! A false alarm! The old sword sect master spends most of the year in closed door cultivation and rarely comes out. Unless a meddler came to tell him the news, he wouldn’t know about it at all.”
Why didn’t they think of that before? As long as they didn’t offend the old sword sect master, there was nothing to worry about.
“Who would dare to tattle if Duanmu Yao was the one holding them back? As I see it, we’ve overestimated the severity of the situation.” Aunt Ru’s wronged expression only made Lady Tang laugh.
“If we knew it was like this from the start, you should’ve thrown a few more darts at her, Yiru.” Lady Tang truly loathed Duanmu Yao. She would’ve preferred to be the one to hurt her instead.
Meanwhile, Long Feiye slowly turned around, causing her to shut up.
“Feiye, it’s best if you leave straight away in case delays cause more trouble. If Duanmu Yao’s wound worsens and we can’t hide the truth anymore, the Tang Clan will really be in trouble,” Aunt Ru coaxed sincerely.
Long Feiye only ignored her and told Tang Zijin coldly. “It’s not a big problem as long as it doesn’t involve my master. There are still many things to take care of in Yaoshui, so I’ll be taking my leave now.”
“You’re really not going to save Duanmu Yao?” Tang Zijin exclaimed.
“It has nothing to do with you. Hurry up and clean up the Tang Clan’s mess!” Long Feiye’s voice was utterly cold, almost akin to a straight up order. Besides Han Yunxi, everyone else present could tell that he was using the status of East Qin’s imperial prince to speak to Tang Zijin. Managing the clan affairs was the responsibility of its head, Tang Zijin, just as it was his obligation and duty as the Shadow Clan-equivalent leader of the East Qin Dynasty.
Tang Zijin wiped all traces of expression off his face before he replied faintly, “Don’t worry.”
Aunt Ru stood there with a stormy face. Unfortunately, even Tang Zijin had lost the right to refute, to say nothing of herself. Still, she knew that things wouldn’t be over so easily with Duanmu Yao’s kind of attitude in the way.
Long Feiye looked at Han Yunxi without a word before offering his hand. Her unhappy feelings were written all over her face, but she still gave him hers and rose to her feet. The two of them walked out of the room with fingers entwined, leaving Chu Xifeng gaping before he came to his senses and chased after them.
“He...he can’t do this!” Aunt Ru muttered to Tang Zijin then. “Find a way to coax him back. Even if he just goes to check on how Duanmu Yao’s doing, we’ll have something solid to work with.”
“Aiya, if he doesn’t want to go, then don’t make him! Why are you so worried if it’s Feiye’s making the call? If he has the guts to not go, then he probably has the means to back it up.”
Now that they were sure that the Tang Clan wasn’t in immediate danger, Lady Tang had relaxed. “Even if he does go, he should delay a few days first so Duanmu Yao can suffer more.”
Tang Li only muttered to himself, “With sister-in-law here, my big bro couldn’t go even if he wanted to.”
“Take care of your own mess first!” Tang Zijin snapped at him.
Tang Li signaled Lady Tang with his eyes before mother and son were the next to slip out of the room. Seeing that the coast was clear, Aunt Ru dropped her voice again and said, “You’re not going to seize this chance to pressure him? Are you really planning to let Han Yunxi just like that?”
“The western regions are still in unrest, so stop causing more trouble for Feiye! I heard the servants say that he has plans to go to Celestial Mountain eventually. We’ll see what happens then.” Tang Zijin was still prudent and cautious. He didn’t forget to warn Aunt Ru, “Don’t act rashly. You know perfectly well what kind of temper Feiye has. The more you oppose him, the less he’ll listen to you. They’ve been married for years now but I haven’t seen a speck of news from Han Yunxi’s stomach yet. As I see it, Feiye doesn’t consider her one of his own at all.”
As a classic chauvinist, Tang Zijin’s opinion was that any man who truly loved his woman would want her to birth his children. But Aunt Ru saw things differently. “Han Yunxi’s gotten too many exceptions to the rule already. Don’t you feel that Feiye’s changed?”
As a mature woman, Aunt Ru’s opinion was that any man who truly loved his woman would be willing to change himself for her sake.
“We can talk about this another time! Send someone to talk with Ning Jing first and figure out how to deal with this mess first!” Tang Zijin figured that they should try a big counterattack if Duanmu Yao wasn’t going to cause a row all the way to Celestial Mountain. Otherwise, Cang Qiuzi might really think the Tang Clan were easy targets for bullying.
“Done. That girl Ning Jing should have some clever ideas to deal with these types of things,” Aunt Ru smiled.
“You don’t need to get involved, just help prepare for the wedding,” Tang Zijin stated. “Send an invitation card to the Duke of Qin’s estate too, play up the act for Ning Cheng to see.”
By now, Han Yunxi and Long Feiye had already descended the mountain. The driver who came to pick them up saw that something was wrong at a glance. He paid respects to them formally as he stood by the carriage, which had a very high step. He didn’t prepare a set of steps to ascend the ride because this was the Duke of Qin’s personal carriage. No other woman besides esteemed wangfei had ever sat within its walls. Every time, it was His Highness Duke of Qin who carried her on board, so no steps were needed.
As before, His Highness Duke of Qin carried esteemed wangfei onto the carriage first, then got in himself. The driver waited for further instructions, but none came. Finally, he asked, “Your Highness, do we return to Yaoshui, or…”
“Go somewhere far away and wait,” an icy voice came from the interior.
If the driver hadn’t seen his masters’ ugly expressions for himself, he would have been sure that he misheard. As it were, he walked far away from the carriage to wait as he’d been told despite his curiosity. Meanwhile, inside the carriage….