After setting out, Long Feiye asked Han Yunxi, “Aren’t you going to ask your lordship for your reward yet?”
It was a glorious honor to earn a prize from him, yet this woman had forgotten? She even needed him to remind her personally? If any of His Highness Duke of Qin’s admirers heard of this, Han Yunxi might die from all their jealous glares.
Although Han Yunxi had really been too busy to remember, she was smart enough to state, “Your Highness Duke of Qin’s words once spoken cannot be taken back even by a team of horses. You’ll definitely award chenqie a prize like you said you would. If chenqie pestered you for it, wouldn’t it be calling my trust in your lordship into question?”
Long Feiye knew she was playing sly, but he still quite enjoyed her “flattery.” He played with the strands of her hair lovingly and laughed out loud. “Just wait for a grand prize.”
“How grand?” Han Yunxi’s heart was moved. In truth, she’d been utterly spoiled by Long Feiye. His awards were probably the only things she found worthy in this world.
“Very grand. Be patient and wait.” Long Feiye finally seized a chance to whet Han Yunxi’s appetite, but instead of pursuing the subject, she simply smiled.
“Alright, I’ll be waiting with anticipation.”
Just like that?
It wasn’t that she wasn’t curious, but because she knew he was goading her on and wouldn’t reveal the surprise. Instead of wondering, she might as well wait! He had never disappointed her, after all. Very soon, she was leaning against Long Feiye’s shoulder and falling asleep. Or rather, she appeared to be unconscious, but was actually training in her poison storage space. This was completely different from the cultivation of internal energy practiced by martial artists, because the poison storage space required her mental training from her mind. Access and use of the space depleted that same energy.
Actually, Han Yunxi’s training speed already far surpassed that of the original blood heirs of the poison storage space in the Poison Sect of the past. Yet she still felt that it was lacking. Ever since meeting the poisons expert at Lost Void Lake, she was more determined than ever to push forward. No matter whether the stranger was the head of the Hundred Poisons Sect or a descendent of the Poison Sect--or even another expert entirely--she couldn’t afford to be careless. She wasn’t of much help to Long Feiye in other matters, but she had to make sure he was safe on the poisons front.
Long Feiye tilted his head to look at Han Yunxi and saw that she wasn’t curious at all since she fell asleep so quickly. I really can’t do a thing when it comes to this woman, he thought helplessly.
Their carriage took them north and quickly reached East Jing Prefecture. It was under the rule of Tianan Country and acted as a buffer between their capital and the south central regions. The East Jing River ran east to west across its lands. Although the saying went that you had to pass through East Jing to reach the City of Daughters, it was more accurate to say that you had to use the East Jing River to reach their domain. Following along the river would easily take you to the gorge in its center that concealed the mercenary center.
Long Feiye had long prepared a large louchuan (楼船), or floating fortress boat. He and Han Yunxi brought the carriage onboard with them and headed downstream. Endless sights of impressive canyons and gorges followed them along the way. The duo stood on deck surveying the river and surrounding green mountains. From the scenery alone, they could guess that the City of Daughters would be a lovely place.
“Long Feiye, have you been there before?” Han Yunxi asked.
Thus, he had arranged beforehand for his subordinates to mark out a pathway and prepare the ship. This way, even their maiden voyage there would be clear cut.
“A walled and moated city hidden within lofty mountains. It’s certainly a good spot to maintain an army,” Han Yunxi remarked.
Both the City of Daughters and Carefree City were mercenary centers that gathered hired killers. The former favored females, while the latter preferred males. Both cities were filled with hidden dragons and crouching tigers, either independent mercenaries who worked on their own or powerful assassin clans. The Leng Clan and Qi Clan who ruled over each were from Cloud Realm Continent’s oldest families of killers. Han Yunxi knew that Long Feiye wouldn’t have come here without ample preparation. Still, she was stunned by the breadth of his measures once they reached the entrance to the City of Daughters.
The gates to the city, located high up in the mountains, were tightly shut. Dozens of bodies lined the entrance in three rows. All of them had been the poison victims collected from Lost Void Lake. Behind the bodies were three teams of people and horses. Two teams were dressed in black and obviously part of an organization, while the last was a scraggly collection of people in different garb that formed a scattered whole.
Atop the city, Lady Leng Yue stood at the head of a massive crowd to confront the three groups below. Han Yunxi looked closer and grew even more stunned. She could recognize some of the black-robed figures below. Wasn’t the group on the left Long Feiye’s strongest swordsmen from his shadow guards? There were about 50 of them, all hand-picked from Celestial Mountain disciples by Long Feiye himself to be personally trained. The ten leading the pack were there in a previous face-off against Duanmu Yao. They were famous names even within the Celestial Mountain Sword Sect.
Meanwhile, the group on the right numbered about 30. Although they too were dressed in black robes, the symbol sewn onto their backs belonged to the Qi Clan from Carefree City! In fact, Han Yunxi even saw Qi Yaotian--the assassin who’d tried to attack them with bats in the past--amongst them. Qi Yaotian was the future city lord heir to Carefree City. His strength was extraordinary. But despite this, he didn’t stand out much from the other members of his group--perhaps somewhere around the middling rank. In other words, it was clear that the Carefree City’s team of 30 had at least half of its members with stronger skills than Qi Yaotian himself. If the leader of their group wasn’t wearing such ordinary clothes, she might have thought the Carefree City’s city lord had joined the fray as well.
“You’ve collaborated with Carefree City!” she exclaimed.
“No, your lordship is merely employing them,” Long Feiye replied coldly. A collaboration meant giving up profits and dividing the spoils, but hiring help merely meant they only had to be paid for their work.
“The top three elders of Carefree City’s Qi Clan, as well as the eldest son of the first wife, have come along with a few elders of some other assassin clans. This battle will be sensational,” Long Feiye said as he smiled happily.
“Employing…” Han Yunxi had seen her share of the world, but was still shaken by Long Feiye’s methods. He’s actually hiring Carefree City’s best to deal with the City of Daughters! Although the two assassin cities had often been on opposing sides, they’d never fought each other at close quarters before. Neither did anyone have the skills or capabilities to make Carefree City’s city lord agree to such an exception to the rules. After all, a slaughter between the cities would topple the foundations of the assassination world--perhaps even affect the martial arts circles beyond them. But then again, who else but Long Feiye would have the skills to move Carefree City?
No matter how much money was spent in this match, the key point lay in the strength of the fighters. Carefree City had long yearned to eliminate the City of Daughters and dominate the assassination world. However, their skills were only enough to fight the other side to a draw. With a strong backer like Long Feiye on their side to support them financially and physically, why would they ever refuse this chance? To Long Feiye, it was simply hiring help, but to Carefree City, this was already a cooperation between allies.
“What about the origins of that last group?” Han Yunxi asked in a low voice.
“Denizens of the jianghu. The City of Daughters has offended its share of people in the past few years. They’ve all seized this chance to take revenge,” Long Feiye replied.
Han Yunxi didn’t even know when Long Feiye had sent feeders into the jianghu. She laughed and said, “Well, that saves a bit of money.”
As the two sides fought, the City of Daughters kept their gates sealed shut for fear of the vast disparity in strengths. Han Yunxi assumed that they’d need plenty of time to take care of them, but now that didn’t seem to be the case.
Long Feiye will probably be an important player in the annals of assassination history! Even though he’s not an assassin, he has the power to change their path all the same.
As their carriage approached and stopped, the three teams of killers made way for the vehicle. Under the eyes of everyone present, Long Feiye personally helped Han Yunxi off their ride. All three groups bowed towards them--the shadow guards on one knee, the others standing with hands clasped before their chests in utter respect.
Atop the city walls, a newly recovered Leng Shuangshuang lost all hope upon seeing the scene and Han Yunxi. Three years ago, she had cast disdain upon the other woman, who now surpassed her so far that she didn’t even have the right to feel jealous of her anymore. Meanwhile, she couldn’t afford to love that man who came today to get revenge.
Long Feiye waved a hand to bid the shadow guards rise while nodding towards the Carefree City and jianghu fighters. He didn’t return their greetings, being an uncourteous man by nature. Moreover, he had full rights to be blunt.
He lifted his head towards Lady Leng Yue and asked coldly, “What, aren’t you coming out to collect the bodies?”
Lady Leng Yue long expected Long Feiye to come knocking at her doors, but never thought he’d hire Carefree City and gain the aid of all these other people. Her proud and arrogant attitude had already given way to fluster at the sight of him descending the carriage. His arrival meant that the confrontation was drawing to an end, and that he’d come to besiege the city.
“Lady Leng Yue, these children all sold their lives for your Leng Clan. How are you worthy of being city lord when you won’t even take back their corpses?” The voice came from someone of the Carefree City group--the leader of its Council of Elders, known in the jianghu proper as Third Elder Qi.
“Heheh, since when has Carefree City acted as the Duke of Qin’s dogs? Congratulations!” Lady Leng Yue sneered back. Despite her dread, she hid her feelings well.
“We’re only taking his money to throw our lives on the line. Lady Leng Yue’s in the same line of work, so why sound so nasty? Does a whore still want to pay homage to her lost chastity?” Third Elder Qi guffawed.
“Third Elder Qi!” Lady Leng Yue fumed.
“If you have the guts, get down here!” Third Elder Qi provoked.
By now, the denizens of the jianghu were joining in the taunts.
“Leng Yue, get down here and die! Today, this old man is going to avenge the deaths of my brothers in Clear Sky Sect!”
“Leng Yue, come down if you have the courage! You killed the eldest disciple of my Changqing Mountain, so you have to repay with your life!”
“Leng Yue, do you still remember the murders five years ago at the manor at Listening Snow Peak? Today this old man will kill you to eliminate a scourge of the jianghu and avenge my eldest sister’s entire family!”
A mocking smile rose to Han Yunxi’s lips as she listened to the accusations. Whether it was the imperial halls or the jianghu, everyone had such high-sounding, righteous ideals. Today, these people had seized advantage of Long Feiye and Carefree City’s strength to get revenge, but all they spoke of was justice. They were just here to repay grievances and grudges, but painted it with such noble sounding words. No matter how many are killed or injured today, once news of this spreads, the jianghu will do nothing except sing their praises.
What was justice?
Strength and victory. Truth could be hidden, and history could be changed. Only the victors and losers would remain as fact. This was the reality of the world. No one could change that, but you could try your best to become strong enough until the day you were making the rules.
Han Yunxi was very lucky that the man by her side had enough power to do just that. Long Feiye wasn’t as weak as the other jianghu denizens. He simply declared, “Leng Yue, your lordship came to seek revenge today. You can choose to duel me alone or have your lordship...massacre the entire city!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter