The longest distance between peaks was from the first to the second mountain. Even a high level expert like Long Feiye needed to push off the bridge five to six times to fly to the other side. Still, the scenery was excellent, so Long Feiye slowed down on purpose to let Han Yunxi take in the view.
Han Yunxi had been both afraid and startled when this guy picked her up for the first time to travel on air. Now she’d gotten used to it. It wasn’t that she wasn’t afraid of heights, but that she trusted the man carrying her. He was more than capable of protecting her.
“Long Feiye, I was really afraid when you took me flying the first time,” Han Yunxi muttered.
“What were you afraid of?” Long Feiye asked.
“That you’d drop me if you were unhappy,” Han Yunxi replied.
Long Feiye gave a start, then laughed out loud. “Would your lordship do that?”
“Yes,” Han Yunxi was convinced, then added, “You really would’ve, back then!”
“Then how about now? Will I?” Long Feiye asked next.
“Definitely not,” Han Yunxi was as convinced as ever.
Long Feiye nodded and fell silent. But after a while, he suddenly said, “Actually, I wouldn’t have dropped you then, either, Han Yunxi. Definitely not.”
Han Yunxi readily agreed without much thought. She could still remember his icy, aloof cruelty back then. It felt like he’d get annoyed as soon as she talked too much, so he’d outright ignore her. She was about to argue when Long Feiye suddenly asked, “Do you know why I wouldn’t have?”
“I don’t,” Han Yunxi waited for his excuse before she refuted him.
Long Feiye just chuckled and sighed with emotion. “Your lordship doesn’t know either. In any case, I just wouldn’t cast you aside.”
Is it because you long started liking me? Long Feiye, when did that happen? Could you...have started even earlier than I did?
“Yes, why is that?” Han Yunxi sighed before unconsciously tightening her grip.
Meanwhile, Xu Donglin had suddenly returned from scoping the path. “Master, there’s a person blocking the way up ahead--female.”
Xu Donglin was Han Yunxi’s trained shadow guard, alright. He’d specifically included that detail for her sake.
“It’s only the fourth month, but why are there so many peach blossoms about?” Han Yunxi could only sigh. The meaning of her words was obvious, but Xu Donglin didn’t get it.
He only said, “Esteemed wangfei, the temperatures at Celestial Mountain are colder than those of lower elevations. That’s why peach blossoms bloom later. This is the perfect time for them to flower in abundance.”
“Really? How abundant are we talking about?” Han Yunxi asked lazily.
“All over the mountains. You’ll see them as soon as you reach ahead. There are giant swathes of blossoms surrounding the mountain’s waist, like a sea of flowers. It’s very beautiful,” Xu Donglin said happily.
Quite pleased, Han Yunxi only smiled and kept silent. Before Xu Donglin could say any more, he caught Long Feiye’s icy eyes. Although he was still clueless, he knew he had spoken the wrong thing. He trembled a few times before retreating to the side, afraid to say anything more. Long Feiye held Han Yunxi and kept moving forward with help from the bamboo bridge. He didn’t take Xu Donglin’s warning to heart. One other reason he hated coming to Celestial Mountain was because its female disciples were too annoying.
Soon enough, they saw a female high up in the air before them. She was dressed in a light yellow dress with long flowing sleeves, her hands holding a fine gauze shawl as she floated in the skies. Part of her hair was gathered up above her head and accented with goose yellow pearls that made her look both lovely and noble.
Adrift in the wind with her sleeves fluttering freely before a curtain of black hair, she looked like a celestial fairy descended upon the Earth. Everything about her was beautiful, her accessories done just right. Unfortunately, she had a hideous face. There were people with ordinary looks who could rely on their ornaments and clothing to make up for their face. But there were also those who were beyond help no matter how much they dressed up.
Han Yunxi only felt that it was a pity for the dress.
“Which peach blossom is this?” she asked in a low voice.
Long Feiye didn’t care a whit about the other girl, because he simply held Han Yunxi and kept flying. “Cang Xiaoying.”
Han Yunxi thought that the name sounded familiar, but couldn’t place why. Still, she didn’t want to bother remembering. What was the point of knowing such a name?
Cang Xiaoying didn’t move as Long Feiye and Han Yunxi approached, but when the duo passed her, she opened her mouth. “Long Feiye, those who don’t know martial arts must travel the bridge on foot to get to Celestial Mountain. Did you forget?”
Long Feiye didn’t answer and kept going. Cang Xiaoying abruptly raised her sword, summoning countless sword maidens to her side. All of them lined up to block Long Feiye’s way.
“Scram!” Long Feiye said coldly.
“And if I say no?” Cang Xiaoying retorted.
Long Feiye was about to attack when a strong sword qi swept against him. Afterwards, an old woman over fifty years old flew over with sword in tow. Han Yunxi noted the jade command tablet by her waist: clear and colorless. Aside from the sword sect master, only the four main elders had such tablets. Of the quartet, the only female was Granny You of the Abstinence Courtyard.
Cang Xiaoying was cheered by the sight. “Auntie You, Senior Brother Ye is going against sect regulations. Shall I go call for my father?”
Despite seeking trouble for Long Feiye, Cang Xiaoying’s true target was Han Yunxi! If she could force Long Feiye to follow sect rules, then Han Yunxi would be forced to walk step by step over the bridge. Even men would find the task impossible, to say nothing of a woman. Either one would fall right off or be scared to death.
“Matters of the Abstinence Courtyard have nothing to do with Lockheart Courtyard. What’s the point of finding your father?” Granny You said coldly. She had a stern face and set speech pattern, emanating an impressive severity. Within the internal struggles of Celestial Mountain, she remained the neutral party that didn’t favor either side. Naturally, she had to come personally when someone reported Long Feiye for violating sect regulations.
“Auntie You is right, Xiaoying was being rash,” Cang Xiaoying said before retreating to one side. Actually, it was one of her subordinates that had reported Long Feiye to Abstinence Courtyard. Cang Xiaoying controlled much of Celestial Mountain’s estates and properties. Moreover, she was the daughter of a head elder, so she was considered quite powerful amongst the younger generation. Over the past two years, she’d lost face because of her failed marriage, so she’d mostly kept to the mountain. If she didn’t know Long Feiye and Han Yunxi were coming today, she’d never show her face.
Although she had listened to her father’s words and agreed to marry Tang Li, her true crush was still Long Feiye. She knew that her father and Long Feiye would be irreconcilable, so she could only hide her feelings in her heart. She had accepted that she’d never get him in this lifetime. But she couldn’t accept watching him bring another woman up Celestial Mountain! That was her Cang Clan’s territory. She wouldn’t let Han Yunxi have an easy time of it.
Granny You only gave Han Yunxi a once-over before her eyes filled with disdain. She hated women who couldn’t do anything but give their men trouble. If she doesn’t know martial arts, why is she coming to Celestial Mountain? Of course, she had no right to deal with Long Feiye’s private affairs--that was up to his master. She only held jurisdiction over the rules.
Coldly she said, “Feiye, you haven’t gone halfway across the bridge yet. Take her back to the beginning and walk it step by step, and this old woman will pretend nothing ever happened. If you insist on going forward, don’t blame the Abstinence Courtyard for not giving your master any face.”
Of course Long Feiye knew the rules, but he didn’t expect these people to investigate Han Yunxi so thoroughly that they even knew she didn’t have martial arts skills. The Abstinence Courtyard didn’t participate in the internal power struggles, who also relied on Granny You to play mediator. Though it was hard to gain their favor, one shouldn’t offend them, either. Moreover, Granny You had come out personally to stop him. If he kept violating the rules in public, people might seize upon his weak spots before he ever got to the mountain. Forcing his way through would be unwise, as would putting Han Yunxi in danger.
Without hesitation, Long Feiye started circulating his qi to channel internal energy into Han Yunxi’s body. Actually, she wasn’t a useless good-for-nothing in martial arts at all. By contrast, her innate talents were twice as good as Duanmu Yao. She didn’t even need a seal to easily accept Celestial Mountain Sword Sect’s internal energy. With that and her own talents, he only had to teach her one to two sword combinations for her to learn them instantly.
Although the effort would cost much of his internal energy, he threw caution to the winds and did it anyway. Seeing this, the crowd was stunned. Long Feiye’s methods were too risky!
“Feiye, are you mad? She doesn’t have a whit of internal energy to act as a foundation. And she hasn’t even been sealed! If you rashly channel internal energy like this, you’ll risk going insane!” Granny You rebuked.
Hearing this, Han Yunxi finally realized what he was doing. She pushed his hand aside and said, “Long Feiye, I don’t want it!”
“It’s fine. Be good,” Long Feiye murmured back.
“I don’t want it!” Han Yunxi gripped his hand tightly as she lowered her voice. “Even if you don’t go insane, I don’t want you to waste your internal energy. I won’t allow a single bit of this!”
He had to face so many things after climbing Celestial Mountain. She wouldn’t let herself be his burden one bit. She was here to help him! Before mid-autumn came, they had to descend the mountain together!
Long Feiye was about to coax her some more when Han Yunxi said coldly, “If you insist on this, I’ll just get off the mountain and wait for you there! Believe me, I can walk the way back.”
“There’s nothing to discuss,” Long Feiye stood firm, his voice cold.
Han Yunxi pulled on his hand until their fingers were intertwined, then said, “Long Feiye, I believe you. I trust that you wouldn’t have cast me aside in the past or the present. You can lead me along the bridge so we can walk it together. How’s that?” Han Yunxi’s eyes shone not only with stubborn determination, but faith as well. Long Feiye could ignore the first two, but not the last.
Finally, he nodded his head. “Alright, I’ll come with you.”
Ignoring Granny You and Cang Xioaying, he held Han Yunxi and flew back to the beginning of the bridge. Granny You didn’t expect Han Yunxi to have such courage and began to change her views of the girl--if only by a little.
“Someone come, keep an eye on them. Make sure she’s really walking the entire way,” Granny You said coldly. She trusted Long Feiye enough, but not Han Yunxi. The girl looked frail enough to be scattered by a gust of wind. Maybe she’d even end up crying on the bridge!
“Yes!” the various servant girls obeyed and went off, while Granny You stood waiting in the center.
“Auntie You, I’ll go look too!” Cang Xiaoying cried as she chased after them. She couldn’t wait to see Han Yunxi make a laughingstock out of herself!
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