Long Feiye and Han Yunxi had just reached the peak when news of Grand Concubine Yi’s kidnapping spread throughout the mountains. There were rumors that Duanmu Yao threatened the Grand Concubine in a moment of impulse just so Long Feiye would treat her injuries, but was played by Han Yunxi, who instigated Long Feiye into ruining her martial arts; that Han Yunxi hated the head elder for rescuing Duanmu Yao and so poisoned him when she couldn’t beat him in an argument; that Long Feiye had been utterly bewitched by Han Yunxi to take on the punishment in her place and face the wall for a month.
In any case, everyone’s final verdict was that Han Yunxi was a wild, cruel and ruthless woman. It was better not to touch her if you knew what was good for you. Of course, everything had just begun.
Han Yunxi was very surprised when they landed at the peak, because there was nothing there beyond a single tree and one residence hall. It was quiet and still, almost like a separate world. The tree in question was a peach blossom tree planted in front of the building. Unlike others of its species, it was as tall as two men and quite thick. Its old limbs tapered off into many intersecting branches and were all in full bloom despite the chilly frost of Celestial Mountain’s peak. The flowers were tender and luxuriant, shining brilliantly in their splendor.
As the cold winds picked up, the petals began to dance like a vision from a dream. It was almost unreal. One petal landed on Han Yunxi’s nose as she caught the scent of its faint fragrance. Han Yunxi loved the aesthetics of petals falling in riotous profusion, even if she was utterly indifferent to other kinds of “peach blossoms.” Meanwhile, Long Feiye gently brushed aside more petals that had landed on her shoulders and dotingly wiped her nose. Without saying a word, he led her into the building after the sword sect master.
This building was a Nine Xuan Hall. By that it meant that it was nine stories stretching straight up into the skies, where it was almost impossible to see the top. Once couldn’t use “magnificent” to describe the sight of a sheer tower reaching to the Heavens from the mountaintop! It had stood for hundreds of years in awe-inspiring grandeur while enduring centuries of wind, rain, and lightning. Even now, it had yet to fall. As long as it existed, Celestial Mountain would as well.
As Han Yunxi stared at the tower, she felt waves of shock wash over her body. But nothing except desolation filled her heart upon walking inside. She glanced back at the blooming peach blossom tree by the entrance and felt sadness overtake her heart. It was such a large hall, but filled with nothing but icy cold. This was an empty building devoid of anything or anyone except for Duanmu Yao and her servant girl kneeling inside. Their footsteps were light as they walked in, but still echoed in the empty space.
Has this place ever been more lively in the past? Was it warmer when the old sword sect master’s beloved first disciple still lived on this world?
A single person’s death was capable of destroying another person’s entire world.
Han Yunxi subconsciously tightened her grip on Long Feiye’s hand. If anything happened to him, would I go insane as well?
“What’s wrong?” Long Feiye could easily sense her unease.
“It’s very cold here,” Han Yunxi murmured back.
Long Feiye simply moved to hug her from behind. “Bear it for a while, we won’t stay long.”
Cang Qiuzi and Cang Xiaoying were still at the entrance. She insisted on sending her father inside, but he told her to leave at once. In the end, Cang Xiaoying ran off in a hurry after her father left her some words. Both Long Feiye and Han Yunxi noticed this, while the sword sect master only spared the man a glance before knitting his brows to approach Duanmu Yao. Meanwhile, Cang Qiuzi clutched his stomach while using his sword to prop himself upright. He grit his teeth to walk in step by step, while Han Yunxi secretly esteemed the man for still having the strength to move after being poisoned for so long. His actual strength couldn’t be underestimated.
Cang Qiuzi understood the nature of the poison from the matrix pathway. Moreover, the sword sect master had turned a mountain back into a molehill for the mess down below, but hadn’t dismissed the problem entirely. Otherwise, he would have asked Han Yunxi for the antidote ages ago. No matter what, he couldn’t give Han Yunxi or Long Feiye the chance to show their proof here. Thus, the only option left was to enrage the sword sect master.
That meant it was all up to Duanmu Yao now.
Cang Qiuzi went with intimidation first as he entered the hall. “Senior brother, I couldn’t speak freely in front of the disciples then, but now I have to! Han Yunxi is simply too vicious! She poisoned Yao Yao and ruined her face! Now Yao Yao won’t be able to see anyone ever again!”
The words were spoken both for the sword sect master and Duanmu Yao’s sake. On cue, Duanmu Yao tore off her mask to expose her old and haggard face. Sobbing, she cried, “Master! You have to seek justice for Yao Yao, ah! Sobsob...Master, senior brother bullied Yao Yao. Even Han Yunxi picked on me! Yao Yao doesn’t want to live anymore!”
As she spoke, she ran with frightening alacrity towards the nearest pillar to ram her head. It was too fast for her servant girl to stop her, but the sword sect master did. In the blink of an eye, he had stepped in front of Duanmu Yao to block her way. Duanmu Yao knew this would happen, so she threw herself into his arms to bury her face into his chest and cry.
The sword sect master knitted his brows as he pulled her from his chest. At the sight of her face, he sucked in a cold breath.
“Master, Yao Yao doesn’t want to live...anymore!” Duanmu Yao cried with a face full of tears.
The sword sect master immediately turned a cold eye towards Han Yunxi. “You did this?”
“Yes!” Han Yunxi admitted it openly. She wanted to bring up Grand Concubine Yi, but Duanmu Yao suddenly butt in.
“Master, Yao Yao will never be able to practice martial arts again! Yao Yao’s dantian...is ruined!”
The sword sect master could tell that her martial arts skills had been spent, but never expected her dantian to be wrecked as well. A ruthless look came into his eyes before he urgently took her pulse. The results left his expression uglier than ever. Seeing this, Cang Qiuzi relaxed. His stomach was still in agony, but he fought against the pain. Compared to his antidote, Duanmu Yao’s tearful complaints were more important right now.
As long as Duanmu Yao could make the sword sect master lose his temper and all sense of reason, then he’d refuse to listen to Han Yunxi or Long Feiye’s explanations. With her position in the old man’s heart, it was completely possible!
In the silent room, the sword sect elder took Duanmu Yao’s pulse again and again. Although he didn’t speak, the killing intent emanating off his form was palpable to everyone present. The servant girl by Duanmu Yao’s side couldn’t take it and backed away, her heart sticking in her throat. She feared for her life. Han Yunxi lowered her voice and murmured, “Long Feiye, if this keeps on...he’ll go mad.”
Long Feiye might trust the sword sect master, but the old man couldn’t control when his fits of insanity came on! Han Yunxi even regretted listening to Long Feiye’s words. But still, he held her hand and said, “No rush.”
His icy gaze stared fixedly at Duanmu Yao as if waiting for something. Han Yunxi was certain she must have gone insane herself to keep listening to him. Cang Qiuzi was staring anxiously at the sword sect master as well. He was so expectant that he had forgotten about his stomach pain. He not only wanted to see the man lose his temper, but his sanity as well. Of course, he didn’t know anything about the old man’s occasional bouts of insanity, but he’d delved into all sorts of rumors over the years while vying for the eventual spot as sect head. More or less, he’d heard about the allegations that the sword sect master had a condition where he’d lose all rationality once angered beyond a certain point and act like a crazy man. Only Duanmu Yao could calm him down then.
There were no waves without wind, so he’d even made references to it around Duanmu Yao, who denied it completely. Today, he wasn’t just seeking his own innocence, but using Duanmu Yao to verify the rumors as well. He had made plenty of preparations ahead of time, so he didn’t even care if the sword sect master turned hostile towards him, or lost his mind, or if Long Feiye exposed his true self. He controlled vast amounts of power in his hands, while the peak only had the sword sect master and Long Feiye. Even poisoned, he still had Duanmu Yao to pin the old man down and make Long Feiye hand over the antidote.
Already, he had told Cang Xiaoying to go down and pass on word to his eldest disciple. As long as he issued the order, the fight for the position of sect head would begin! Everyone stared at the grandmaster as tension mounted in the room.
Unexpectedly, Duanmu Yao suddenly drew back. “Master, hurry and treat martial uncle’s poison. If this goes on, he’ll die! If martial uncle hadn’t saved me, Yao Yao wouldn’t have been able to see you at all!”
Her words snapped the sword sect master out of his breaking point and remember that Cang Qiuzi still existed.
“Master, the antidote’s right in Han Yunxi’s hands!” Duanmu Yao added as she skirted away from the topic of her dantian. No matter what, she couldn’t expose his secret condition. Master was her true source of support on the mountain, the one who could act as her judge. Once his secrets were revealed, then Cang Qiuzi would simply seize the title of sect head for himself, leaving her in his thrall for the rest of her life.
The sword sect master realized his mind had been wandering as a complicated look flashed past his eyes. He released Duanmu Yao, allowing Han Yunxi’s heart to settle in her chest as well. As long as the sword sect master didn’t lose his mind, she was willing to trust Long Feiye’s faith in him.
“Feiye, where’s the antidote?” the sword sect master demanded.
Seeing this, Cang Qiuzi grew doubtful as well. Was the rumor nothing more than a rumor after all? Maybe Duanmu Yao wasn’t lying to me. Maybe she’s just stupid and in a rush to get me my antidote?
“Senior brother, I can take it. Hurry and look at Yao Yao instead! Perhaps her dantian can still be saved,” Cang Qiuzi urged.
Of course, he knew better than anyone else that it was hopeless. He understood her dantian situation like the palm of his hand!
“It’s impossible to save hers,” the sword sect master cast Long Feiye a cold glance before he continued, “Junior brother, if you come to your end after that, then even a sect master like me will be hard-pressed to escape censure!”
Cang Qiuzi grew uneasy. Well, if we can’t provoke the sword sect master, then I’ll just get my antidote first. Every little step counts. This wasn’t the best time to seize the position of sect head, after all. But if Long Feiye forced his hand, he was still willing to go all out despite the sacrifices.
Just then, Long Feiye had been placing his bets on Duanmu Yao’s nerve. He was certain Duanmu Yao didn’t have the guts to publicize master’s insanity in front of everyone else. Thus, he replied simply, “Master, this disciple has no antidote.”
“You were the one who accepted the punishment. Where is master to look for the antidote, if not from you?” the sword sect master said unhappily.
“This disciple is simply guilty of defying one’s elders,” Long Feiye replied calmly. “No matter whether I was right or wrong, this disciple has no right to raise my hand against martial uncle. Trying martial uncle should be left to master and the Abstinence Courtyard.”
Han Yunxi suddenly felt relieved. She could tell that the master and disciple pair were singing to their own tune! She finally changed her perception of the sword sect master slightly. For now, she’d watch and see just why this man had earned Long Feiye’s trust…Previous Chapter Next Chapter