Han Yunxi was supposed to leave the mountain secretly, but she’d hardly reached the bottom when she ran into a group of jianghu personages blocking the way. It wasn’t clear whether they’d had been staking out the mountain daily or received a tip-off to stop her. It was inappropriate for the Celestial Mountain disciples to fight them under these circumstances. Fortunately, Long Feiye’s shadow guards were enough to kill them all. Only one was left alive and sent up the peak for interrogation.
After the inconvenience was dealt with, the sword sect master walked out of cover and said, “Lass, looks like you’ll be dealing with plenty of problems on the road. It’ll be a troublesome journey.”
“There’s nothing troublesome about it since it’s my personal affairs,” Han Yunxi remarked. All of this had come from her birth origins, after all.
“If this old man hadn’t…” the sword sect master was feeling guilty. If he hadn’t let Cang Qiuzi loose all these years, perhaps much of this wouldn’t have happened.
“Celestial Mountain is considered the head of the martial arts world. It’s perfectly reasonable that it’d punish the descendants of the Poison Sect. Yunxi still has to thank the sword sect master for your protection,” Han Yunxi said sincerely. “If there’s anything to blame, it’s the fact that my Poison Sect was too useless to defend against those false charges all these years. Since I’m their descendant, there’ll come a day when I justify myself to the medical academy!”
The sword sect master looked at Han Yunxi’s stubborn gaze and felt another wave of admiration! This lass, she’s the wanted pariah of Cloud Realm Continent right now. She ran into trouble as soon as she left the mountain, but how much more will she face once leaving our grounds? How many dangers and insults will she see on the way back to South Ning?
Despite this, she still had the strength and self-resolve to denounce the medical academy. Even a man might lack her magnanimity and courage.
“Good! This grandmaster will help you delay things on the medical academy’s side for as long as possible,” the sword sect master was giving his all, too. Academy Head Gu had already written him three letters to ask about Han Yunxi’s background. He wanted clear answers, but the sword sect master had yet to reply any of them.
“Many thanks!” Han Yunxi cupped her fists in gratitude and prepared to leave, when the old man spoke up again.
“Please look after him well, grandmaster,” Han Yunxi cut him off. “Let him take care of his wounds. Don’t have him leave the mountain too soon.” After a pause, she added, “And help me take a message to him. Just say…”
Actually, there were thousands upon thousands of things she couldn’t say to Long Feiye’s face. But she couldn’t figure out how to phrase them in front of the sword sect master, either. In the end, all of her thoughts were summed up into two words: “Don’t worry.”
The sword sect master swept his gaze on a nearby tree before he smiled helplessly. “Alright, this grandmaster will definitely pass on the words.”
“Farewell!” Han Yunxi turned back to look at the mountain. But she couldn’t see anything besides a sky full of stars. No matter how long she lingered, she had to leave eventually. She might as well do it quickly. She truly believed that today’s separation was for the best in future days to come. After silently bidding Long Feiye goodbye, she boarded her carriage and left swiftly. For the sake of concealing her identity, this was a humble carriage that only fit Han Yunxi inside. Xu Donglin whipped the horse and drove it himself, while a large group of shadow guards followed in silence.
When the horse carriage finally vanished, Long Feiye walked slowly out of the trees, leaning on his sword for support. Each step took him massive effort. He looked in the direction of the carriage as if bidding goodbye to Han Yunxi himself. Originally, he wasn’t supposed to get out of bed, much less descend the mountain. But the sword sect master couldn’t persuade or force him to stay. Now he quickly went to support him.
“You came, but you didn’t let her know. Nor did you send her off in the open. Why go to such lengths?”
The carriage was long gone by now, but Long Feiye was still staring in its direction. “Even if she knew, she still needed to leave eventually.”
“Then why come send her off at all?” the sword sect master was angry. How much true qi had Long Feiye wasted to come down the mountain?
“She was surrounded as soon as she left the mountain. Looks like they know exactly what’s going on at Nine Xuan Hall,” Long Feiye smiled coldly.
The sword sect master’s gaze grew sinister. He never thought there’d be a spy right by his side. I’ve been too foolish in these past few years.
If Long Feiye hadn’t defeated He Yilian and learned of this news, the sword sect master might have remained ignorant forever. That day, the man hadn’t told Long Feiye the instigator behind the scenes, but he did tell him something very important. His six words were: The Nine Xuan Hall has spies.
“They’ve expanded their reach as far as Celestial Mountain. Looks like the old fox behind the scenes has had his or her eye on you for awhile,” the sword sect master remarked. But Long Feiye rejected the claim.
“No, I’m afraid they’ve been keeping eyes on Cloud Realm for awhile.” What was the use of spying on him? Naturally, vying with him for the lands of Cloud Realm Continent.
“Their hands have not only reached Celestial Mountain, but the Duke of Qin’s estate as well,” Long Feiye said coldly. “They’ve disturbed your lordship’s chessboard. I’ll make them pay the price!”
He hadn’t cared much about Su Xiaoyu when she went missing, not because he was too busy with Celestial Mountain, but because it fell within his range of expectations. After the girl lost her memory and continued to remain at Han Yunxi’s side, he’d sent people to watch her movements ever since. South Ning was his territory, after all. It wasn’t so easy for a person to simply go missing. Su Xiaoyu was simply bait to meet a plot with a plot. He didn’t tell Han Yunxi the details because he was worried that she wouldn’t want to lose Su Xiaoyu. After all, the girl would certainly suffer in the hands of her captors, if not lose her life entirely.
“I’m afraid that old fox must be involved with Gu Beiyue’s poisoning as well,” the sword sect master muttered. “Yunxi’s trip this time will be dangerous. Your heart is even crueler than your master’s, hehe!”
Long Feiye didn’t reply. Actually, if he could make Han Yunxi stay, he would. He didn’t care if the commander-in-chief’s estate fell into chaos or even if his entire chessboard was ruined. He didn’t want Han Yunxi to risk herself, much less face the curses of the world alone. But even if he told her the truth about his plans, she would still return to South Ning fearlessly. This had nothing to do with him stopping her, or parting with her, or even his so-called cruelty. He simply had no means to keep her against her will. Han Yunxi had always been different from other women. She wasn’t afraid of trouble, nor would she hide behind a man’s back to take shelter from her problems.
He transferred all the shadow guards he could to look after her in secret. At the same time, he was monitoring and controlling Lockheart Courtyard and the Sword and Scripture Depositories. As long as those three factions stayed put, nothing in the world could overpower his shadow guard forces. He hoped that she would have a smooth journey home.
At this moment, a white-haired Honored Elder flew out from the shadows to urge Long Feiye back. He was the one in charge of helping him curb his Lusbite Seal energy.
“Feiye, did you forget about the taboos of the Lustbite energy again?” the Honored Elder asked coldly.
Long Feiye and the sword sect master didn’t know much about the seal, but the Honored Elder had discovered it while healing his injuries. His comprehension on the subject far surpassed theirs. The Lustbite Seal’s ultimate taboo centered around “desire.” Thus, anyone who gave into his desires before unsealing or controlling the seal would lose all of their martial arts. The Lustbite energy itself had the ultimate taboo of “sentiment.” It was considered the highest level power in Cloud Realm Continent’s martial arts. Anyone who could control Lustbite energy would have no peer in the martial arts circles. But its energy was completely useless when the host was facing someone he loved.
In other words, if Han Yunxi ever turned her sword against him one day, his internal energy would completely dissipate when they fought. The so called ‘Lustbite’ meant that one could experience backlash from the ‘bite’ of one’s feelings. To put it plainly, if anyone wanted to kill him, their best bet was to send Han Yunxi to fight him face-on!
“I remember!” Long Feiye replied seriously. Thanks to these taboos, he probably had to curb his public displays of affection to Han Yunxi in the future. The old fox behind He Yilian must know something to have made the man stall for time in the ranking matches. If that fox knew about the Lustbite energy too, then Han Yunxi would be in even greater trouble.
Once again, Long Feiye looked into the distance. He suppressed the worries in his heart and followed the Honored Elder back up the mountain. It was going to be a long night…
Han Yunxi sat in her carriage, telling herself to use this spare time to cultivate and familiarize herself with the functions of the level two poison storage system. But it was impossible for her to calm down. She couldn’t help but wonder what Long Feiye was doing right now.
Does the world have an antidote to cure the poison of lovesickness?
At the very least, Han Yunxi couldn’t think of one. Still, she soon ran out of time to pine for Long Feiye, because trouble hit her as soon as she left Celestial Mountain grounds. It wasn’t even light yet, but a bunch of righteous sects suddenly showed up to surround her carriage.
“News spreads fast! Looks like we can’t hide our whereabouts now,” Han Yunxi murmured.
“Mistress, you keep resting. It’s not a big deal!” Xu Donglin said seriously. He sat unmoving on the carriage, allowing the shadow guards accompanying them to deal with the threat. Long Feiye had naturally picked the cream of the crop amongst his top level experts. One man was enough to face off against ten others, so the group of fighters were quickly eliminated. The shadow guards wanted to silence them with death, but Han Yunxi stopped them.
“It’s impossible to hide our movements anyways. Spare their lives so we’re not the source of more gossip.”
Heaven knows how the medical academy would turn this against them if her group killed everyone who blocked their way home.
“Even if we don’t kill them, we should give them something to show we’re not to be trifled with!” Xu Donglin said, before lashing his whip at one of the injured.
As expected, news spread fast. Over three days of travel, Han Yunxi’s group met with 20 separate ambushes and attacks. Every four hours or so, someone else would try to target them. By now, she could recite their curses by heart. If it wasn’t “demoness” and “femme fatale,” then it was “scourge” and “hypocrite.” They accused her of opening Pill Fiend Pharmacy for ulterior motives, of using poisons to bewitch the Pill King into favoring her, etc…
If not the strength of Long Feiye’s shadow guards, Han Yunxi would have long died beneath their chaotic blades; if not for the strength of her own heart, she would have long drowned beneath their righteous spittle.
Everything passed more or less smoothly, but members of Carefree City surrounded her carriage on the fifth day. Unexpectedly...the entire city had turned out against her!
*stumbles in and falls flat on her face* Well I sure just spent my morning tweaking things here and there. Hope you enjoyed your chapter! Going to fix missing chapter titles in the TOC next ooof.. I owe like, 4 more chapters this week and a 6 chapter bonus release later, all of which I'm keeping track of. They'll come out in due time. ;)
P.S. Have a preview at the upcoming story arc titles here.