The sword sect master laughed coldly. “Whether you’re right or wrong? You hurt Yao Yao like that and still have the face to debate right and wrong with your master?”
“Master, my imperial mother is still lying in the estate in a coma. Forget about hurting her, even killing her won’t be enough to relieve my anger!” Long Feiye was very blunt.
A flash of unhappiness flickered past the sword sect master’s eyes. “Just what happened?”
Actually, his own shadow guards had told him everything as soon as he emerged from closed door cultivation. However, he hadn’t expected Duanmu Yao to be so severely injured. Just then, he’d clearly witnessed the dispute between Long Feiye and Cang Qiuzi before the main halls of Celestial Mountain Sword Sect as well. He was clear on all the details, but his unhappiness stemmed from the second half of Long Feiye’s sentence.
Meanwhile, Long Feiye explained everything that had happened before he concluded, “Master, Yunxi poisoned Martial Uncle Cang with the exact same toxin she used in the matrix pathway. If Martial Uncle Cang had really arrived later to Lost Void Lake, then he should’ve been able to dispel the stomach poison. If that’s the case, Yunxi doesn’t need to give him an antidote at all.”
Long Feiye didn’t spell it out, but the implications were clear. If Cang Qiuzi couldn’t cure the poison, then it proved he was hiding by Lost Void Lake the entire time. Cang Qiuzi fell silent. He knew he had no rebuttal. Duanmu Yao only found it unthinkable that Han Yunxi had left such a ploy. In other words, the person who helped us escape that day was a high level poisons expert as well? But she couldn’t be bothered to speculate on his or her identity right now.
With reality before them, how was she to argue back? There was no choice except admitting her guilt! Even then, what would happen to Cang Qiuzi? Goosebumps rose on her flesh as she suddenly realized the severity of the situation.
If master decides to severely punish Cang Qiuzi, then he might drag me down with him. He could even expose the unthinkable things we did together! What would master think if he found out we did those types of things?
Will he think I’m dirty? Or toss me aside?
The nerves in Duanmu Yao’s brain stretched taut as she stared at Cang Qiuzi. Her heart was pounding in her chest! If she only felt slightly contrite before, that had changed into full-blown regret. There was no chance for her to go back!
“Junior brother Cang, what do you have to say for yourself?” the sword sect master asked coldly.
“Yao Yao was heavily injured and needed treatment. As a senior brother, Long Feiye not only refused to help, but exacerbated her wounds. I couldn’t accept that, so I didn’t stop her. I only went to protect Yao Yao,” Cang Qiuzi was in enough pain to kneel on one knee, but still spoke with justice on his side. “If I hadn’t, she would have died for sure.”
“In other words, this grandmaster is supposed to feel indebted to you instead?” the sword sect master asked as he smiled coldly.
“I rescued the sword sect master’s beloved disciple. If the grandmaster still insists on punishment, then I shall listen to your respected orders!” Cang Qiuzi grew even more stubborn.
Duanmu Yao was so scared that her hair stood on end. She never expected Cang Qiuzi to have the guts to challenge her master in person. It looked like she’d underestimated his strength. For the past two years, she’d been doing nothing but asking a tiger for its skin--expecting this man to act against his own interests was an impossible feat!
Han Yunxi could sniff the scent of combat in the air. Cang Qiuzi was both poisoned and heavily injured, so where did he get the nerve to stay so stubborn? You couldn’t act as you pleased without an advantage on hand! She suddenly discovered a frightening truth: the sword sect master dreaded Cang Qiuzi! That’s why he would try to de-escalate the situation and put on a show with Long Feiye.
Now the sword sect master was raging. “Punish as I please? Do you all think this grandmaster locked myself in closed door cultivation just for the right to punish everyone as I please?” As he spoke, he pointed at Long Feiye and roared, “Do you know why master punished you first just then? Because you were the first in the wrong!”
“So master already knew the truth…” Long Feiye intoned as he hung his head.
“Heheh, how could this grandmaster be ignorant? The disciples of the two Depositories and Courtyards were all watching the show. Do you all take me to be blind? I may have rarely interfered with internal sect matters these years, but I know in my heart exactly what each and every one of you is up to!”
The sword sect master whirled around and cried, “Cang Qiuzi, as the leader of Lockheart Courtyard and the four elders, you dared to get involved in such a mess with your juniors. Alright, so Yao Yao might have been disobedient, but you had the gall to collude with assassins? If this grandmaster hadn’t come out today, how could you have any face left after all that commotion? What about the respect owed to our Celestial Mountain?”
Cang Qiuzi fell silent, also hanging his head. But the sword sect master still wasn’t done.
“Feiye committed the crime of disrespecting his elders and made the first mistake, but you are guilty of the second by acting in a disrespectful manner. This grandmaster didn’t rebuke in front of all the other disciples so I could save your pride--and the face of the Council of Elders and Celestial Mountain Sword Sect.”
Cang Qiuzi’s eyes dimmed with complex thoughts. He was surprised to hear such thoughts from Li Jianxin’s lips. Looks like he still hasn’t changed after all these years! The veneration of the sword sect and its respected name was more important than anything else in his heart. It seemed like Li Jianxin wouldn’t publicize the news of him colluding with the City of Daughters to kidnap Grand Concubine Yi, much less punish him for the consequences. As long as he escaped a serious sentence, he didn’t need to get into a fight. After all, the ranking matches and Celestial Mountain Assembly were coming up next. He could gain more forces to supplement his power and move afterwards. Additionally, Long Feiye had brought Han Yunxi to Celestial Mountain, making this the perfect chance for him to use Duanmu Yao to sour relations between Long Feiye and his master.
Cang Qiuzi’s harried heart finally calmed down. After waiting patiently for so many years, he didn’t mind another two to three month delay. He relaxed his guard and borrowed the pain in stomach with the lack of energy in his limbs to pretend to collapse by the sword sect master’s feet and curl up into a ball. “Senior brother, I know my wrongs...I am willing to accept the punishment.”
Hearing this, Duanmu Yao relaxed as well. She was almost scared to the point of collapse herself. Subconsciously, she pressed a hand over her heart and congratulated herself on her luck.
“You’re confined to Lockheart Courtyard for a month!” the sword sect master declared coldly.
Since the punishment wasn’t meted by the Abstinence Courtyard, one could consider this a private penalty--a minor one too, like Long Feiye’s month-long vigil in front of a wall. The only difference was that Long Feiye’s punishment was public, which would lose him a bit of face. These arrangements were par the course for a sect head, which made Cang Qiuzi’s guard drop even further. Inwardly, he chuckled to himself: looks like Li Jianxin has no idea what I’ve been up to these past few years!
“Thank you, senior brother…” he replied in a heavy tone while clutching his abdomen.
Only then did the sword sect master look directly at Han Yunxi with a cold voice. “What are you dawdling for? Hurry and hand over the antidote!”
Now that the immediate danger had passed, Han Yunxi felt more relieved as well. She poked her fingers together and looked apologetic. “Senior sword sect master, this poison….this poison….”
“What’s with the nonsense? Hand over the antidote!” the sword sect master was clearly impatient.
“There’s no antidote for this poison,” Han Yunxi was telling the truth.
The sword sect master’s expression grew fierce as he turned away from Han Yunxi to Long Feiye. “Antidote!”
“Master, if Yunxi says there’s no antidote, then it doesn’t exist. I can’t do anything either,” Long Feiye replied.
Only then did the sword sect master realize that Han Yunxi wasn’t joking. Cang Qiuzi grew alarmed at the fact. “What?!”
Meanwhile, Han Yunxi was disregarding the sword sect as well. If she couldn’t avenge their debts today, at least she could torment Cang Qiuzi a bit! She understood that the sword sect master had acted for the sake of Celestial Mountain’s righteous image and the current political situation within the sword sect. That was why he’d let Cang Qiuzi off lightly. Still, that didn’t mean she had to approve. As a “good daughter-in-law,” she wouldn’t be doing the comatose Grand Concubine Yi any justice unless she had that man suffer a bit more.
Now she went to kneel in front of Cang Qiuzi, her face filled with regret. “Elder Cang, do you still remember the female assassins back at Lost Void Lake?”
Cang Qiuzi glanced past her towards the sword sect master instead. “Senior brother…” In truth, he was almost at his breaking point. But he didn’t want to lose his composure in front of Li Jianxin or Long Feiye. If no one was around, he’d be writhing on the floor in agony by now. The pain was already spreading upwards from his belly to seemingly twist his organs together. Even the act of breathing was pure torture!
“Senior brother....this damned woman is too...too unbridled. I’m a righteous and proper elder of Celestial Mountain, yet I’ve been…. If news of this spreads, how will my Lockheart Courtyard show its face?” Cang Qiuzi endured his pain to ask in indignation.
Han Yunxi had gotten used to the disgusting words of hypocrites like him, and simply feigned an air of anxiety. “Elder Cang, don’t say things like that. I didn’t do it on purpose! Poisons like these really have no antidotes, but you’ll be fine after three days and three nights of pain. The toxins will naturally disperse from your stomach then.”
“You’re lying!” Cang Qiuzi felt more pain as soon as he spoke. “All of the female assassins at Lost Void Lake died. Do you think this old man doesn’t know?”
Many of the mercenary corpses that Han Yunxi and Long Feiye had delivered before their trip to the City of Daughters came from the hidden ambush killers of Lost Void Lake. Cang Qiuzi had been keeping tabs on the news.
Han Yunxi only made a pouting noise of protest. “It’s not like that’s my fault. They weren’t poisoned to death, but pained to death. If you want to blame anyone, blame their bodies for being too delicate to bear the agony.” She grew serious then, and went on to explain, “Martial Uncle Cang, don’t you worry. Poison like this isn’t fatal. Only those coddled females would die from such pain. You’re a manly man, so the most it’d do is leave your legs weak. Go back and rest for three days and I promise you’ll be fine.”
Cang Qiuzi’s ashen face turned whiter at her words. All of the dead mercenaries may have been female, but they were still assassins. Since youth, they’d undergone hellish training to master their craft! If even professional killers could succumb to the pain, then what kind of torture was awaiting him? Only half a day had passed. How was he supposed to survive the next two days and a half?
Long Feiye couldn’t resist a slightly smirk, looking wicked and mesmerizing. The sword sect master remained expressionless, but his patience seemed to have improved by leaps and bounds. He didn’t urge Han Yunxi any further. Duanmu Yao sat on one side looking nervously towards Cang Qiuzi. For the first time in her life, she admired Han Yunxi’s poison skills. Although she knew it wasn’t likely that Cang Qiuzi would really die from pain, she couldn’t help but wish he could.
Cang Qiuzi never expected this toxin to be so frightening. He regretted the fact that he’d been too smug with success to evade Han Yunxi’s needle attack. His grand plans had yet to come to fruition, so how could he die by a single poke? Finally, he sent a pleading glance towards the sword sect master.
“Senior brother, save me…”
The sword sect master coughed lightly before glancing towards Long Feiye. In the end, he still didn’t want to talk to Han Yunxi if he could help it. Unfortunately, Long Feiye simply averted his eyes and pretended he didn’t see a thing…Previous Chapter Next Chapter