Tang Li took away his new bride while Long Feiye and Han Yunxi had long ago followed the wasp to the guide at the Ten Thousand Commerce Hall. Its main defense was the canyon, and so it only had ordinary guards. Han Yunxi didn’t know martial arts, so she could only have Long Feiye carry her as he flew. She looked useless, but she’d helped him quite a bit by helping him find the way. The rest would be up to Long Feiye and his team of experts, making it an easy job.
Ning Cheng relied on the fact that nobody publicly knew the connection between the Ning Clan and Cloud Realm Trade Consortium to lock up the two elders here. He didn’t add any extra guards. Soon enough, Long Feiye and Han Yunxi found the prisons and avoided their keepers to find an extremely hidden room. In truth, it was simply a small, dark space purposely used to imprison troublemakers or those with serious crimes. It was completely sealed except for a small metal door with a strangely-shaped lock.
Long Feiye was dressed in black robes with a dark face mask, making him look both handsome and mysterious. He looked good even when knocking on the door.
“Who’s there?” a familiar voice immediately spoke up--that of the Chu Clan head. He and his father had been locked up for ages. Aside from their daily meals, no one ever came to visit them. But the person who fed them never knocked on their door, so both men were on their guard.
“Your lordship!” Long Feiye’s low, icy tones scared both men. Who expected Long Feiye and Han Yunxi to find their way here? What were they doing?
“Duke of Qin?” “Long Feiye, it’s you?” Their voices were a mix of pleasant surprise and caution.
“Long Feiye, what do you want to do?” Chu Yunyi asked. He hated both him and Ning Cheng equally. Although Long Feiye was Ning Cheng’s enemy, the Chu Clan was ruined because of the former’s hands. What did he want to do here, besides kill them?
“If you want to get out, then shut your mouths,” Long Feiye warned icily. He might be here to rescue them today, but he didn’t have to coax them to come out. Whether or not they were willing, he’d whisk them away regardless. These two were the best way to control Chu Tianyin, an important chess piece in Cloud Realm Continent’s western regions.
“Long Feiye, you...you’re going to bring us out of here?” “Long Feiye, you came all this way to joke? You’re certainly in a good mood!”
Neither elder believed him, but their voices couldn’t hide the traces of joy and anticipation in their tones. After all, they’d given up hope for anything except growing old in this dark jail cell. Now they needed confirmation, but Long Feiye just ignored them. He picked up the lock on the door and studied it. Although there were plenty of easy ways to open the door, any loud noises would only attract attention. If they wanted to save these people, the best method would be to unlock the door. The two elders exchanged glances as they heard Long Feiye fiddling with the lock.
“Long Feiye, what’s your game?” Chu Yunyi couldn’t resist asking.
“Of course it’s to bring you out. What, you’ve gotten so used to prison life that you want to stay?” Han Yunxi asked coldly. When she recalled how they’d treated Gu Beiyue, her stomach raged with fury. If possible, she didn’t want to save them at all.
“Tianyin, he...just what’s happened to him?” asked the Chu Clan head anxiously. Isn’t he on Ning Cheng’s side now?
“We’ll talk after we get out. What’s the origins of this lock?”
“Why should this old man believe you?” Chu Yunyi shot back.
Han Yunxi snorted contemptuously, while Long Feiye’s reply was frigid, “Based on the fact that your lordship found this cell in the first place! Do you want to be Ning Cheng’s dog or your lordship’s hawk? Why don’t you both decide on that right now?!”
The two elders’ expressions turned complicated at his words. Although Long Feiye hadn’t revealed the details, they could guess that Chu Tianyin had chosen him instead of Ning Cheng. The fact that the man had discovered Ning Cheng’s lair meant that he’d already suffered a huge loss. Chu Tianyin had made the right choice in the end. Neither Chu Yunyi nor his father were fools, but they needed time to be able to set aside their pride.
After some hesitation, Chu Yunyi said loftily, “If you want the loyalty of our Chu Clan, we’ll need to see if you have the skills. Duke of Qin, if you can undo this Thousand Trick Lock, we’ll leave with you.”
“Thousand Trick Lock?”
Long Feiye could tell this was no ordinary lock, but he never expected it to be such a rare specimen. The Thousand Trick Lock was a legendary lock created by a team of 1,000 artisans. No more than five existed in the world.
The lock was tough and cleverly designed; it was impossible to pick by conventional means. Even Tang Li would have trouble popping it open, much less amateurs like themselves. Chu Yunyi broke into a mocking laugh when Long Feiye remained silent. “How’s this, Duke of Qin? Break this lock and we’ll kill our way out together?”
Being rescued was a different concept than killing one’s way out. The former would put the Chu Clan troops firmly under Long Feiye’s thrall, while the latter still gave the elders room to fight back in the future. The two elders were all too clear what was at stake, but they were also...too full of themselves! There was a time and place for everything, but this wasn’t it.
Both Long Feiye and Han Yunxi exchanged glances of understanding. Then he backed away to give her access to the lock. In the darkness, all Chu Yunyi and the Chu Clan Head could hear were more lock noises. They assumed Long Feiye was still trying to pick the lock and felt unimpressed.
“No matter what they try, they’ll have to bend to our terms by the end,” Chu Yunyi muttered in a low voice. “Why did Tianyin stop working with Ning Cheng? Long Feiye’s a far more prickly opponent!”
The two of them were still holding out hope for a revival before Ning Cheng cemented his power.
“Tianyin must have had his own considerations,” the Chu Clan head declared. “Big brother, when we kill our way out later, keep an eye on Han Yunxi. She doesn’t know martial arts, so she’ll be Long Feiye’s weakness.”
Chu Yunyi nodded. He understood that the plan was to take Han Yunxi hostage so they could threaten Long Feiye and find a chance to escape. But in the midst of their discussion, the cell door opened. Light streamed into the room, catching them off guard. Both of them peered out to see Long Feiye and Han Yunxi standing side-by-side with a torch!
“Where’s the Thousand Trick Lock!?”
Both of them were flabbergasted. The key to the lock was in Ning Cheng’s hands, so how had those two unlocked the door?
Han Yunxi hadn’t even been stopped by the Xuan gold door in the Poison Sect’s Skypit. Why would a trifling lock stop her now? All the money Ning Cheng spent to obtain the lock from the black market melted away before her powerful corrosive poisons. There weren’t even any fragments left.
At this moment, Ning Cheng was currently in West Jing keeping tabs on Tang Li and Ning Jing’s movements. He was also busy defending against potential attacks from Tianan and Western Zhou while suppressing Duanmu Yao’s influence in the jianghu. He had no idea what was happening right inside his Ten Thousand Commerce Hall.
Han Yunxi didn’t bother to explain the situation to the two men. She simply stood by Long Feiye’s side as his “baggage” while hiding her own contributions. Neither would Long Feiye bother answering such an unimportant question. He held out a hand containing two poison pills.
“Either take these or die. Hurry!”
Both of the Chu elders were still feeling flustered by the recent events. His words only alarmed them further.
“Long Feiye, Tianyin will avenge us if we die here today!” the Chu Clan head cried desperately.
“Of course, he’ll seek revenge against Ning Cheng. Your lordship is all too happy to help.” Long Feiye smiled coldly.
Han Yunxi almost laughed out loud. If Long Feiye really killed these men here, he could simply say he found their corpses during the rescue and push the blame onto Ning Cheng. Without a doubt, Chu Tianyin would believe it. The two Chu elders’ faces paled. No matter how prideful they felt, they were forced to humble themselves and take the pills.
“This wangfei will treat your poison once we leave Ten Thousand Commerce Hall. If you try anything, even the gods won’t be able to save you,” Han Yunxi said icily.
How would they dare? They knew the superiority of her poison skills. Like this, Long Feiye took Han Yunxi away with the duo following behind them. They left the hall soundlessly and retraced their route back up the canyon. As promised, Han Yunxi removed their poison then.
Although the pair still wanted to flee, they didn’t have the means now. Within Ten Thousand Commerce Hall, Long Feiye had to watch his steps to avoid attracting attention, but he could deal with them easily out in the open. If they lost an eye or an arm, they’d never be able to draw a bow again. Long Feiye handed them over to his guards.
At this, the Chu Clan head hesitated before speaking up, “Esteemed wangfei, this old man has a request.”
Han Yunxi could guess that he wanted her to treat the poison on his arm. “I don’t want to!” she said coldly. “And I never will!”
It was already good enough that she hadn’t crippled his leg in retaliation for Gu Beiyue. Why would she cure his arm now?
“Gu Beiyue…” Before Chu Yunyi could finish, Long Feiye cut him off.
“Come, someone take these two back to the Hidden Pavilion! No one’s allowed to approach them without your lordship’s permission!”
It was likely Han Yunxi would never see these men again, because Long Feiye would never give her the chance. Thus, they wouldn’t be able to tell her about Gu Beiyue’s status as a Shadow Clan member, either. Gu Beiyue himself had requested this of Long Feiye, so he had kept it in mind.
Once the men were dealt with, Long Feiye and Han Yunxi prepared themselves to hurry back to the Tang Clan. They were still supposed to participate in Tang Li’s wedding. The man must be on his way back by now, so no matter what, they had to make it back before Ning Jing spotted them.
It wasn’t until later that afternoon that the jailkeeper in charge of delivering the meals discovered the prisoners missing. The entire Ten Thousand Commerce Hall was terrified by the discovery. They reported it to Ning Cheng while starting a crazed manhunt for the Thousand Trick Lock; however, they never found it.
Ning Cheng was in the imperial study discussing tactics with various generals and officials to deal with the jianghu threat when an eunuch whispered the news into his ears...Previous Chapter Next Chapter