Baili Yuanlong’s secret message mentioned news of Gu Beiyue but didn’t have any specific details. He wanted Long Feiye to hurry back to the army and oversee the big picture! But news of Gu Beiyue meant that the doctor wasn’t dead.
However, Long Feiye didn’t feel any happier after reading the letter. Instead, his gaze grew more complicated. Baili Yuanlong was with the army, while Gu Beiyue had been lost over the cliffs of the Poison Sect’s forbidden grounds. He had sent countless people to search for him without results, so why would Baili Yuanlong have news now?
Was his information true or false?
Moreover, what did Baili Yuanlong mean by including no details in the letter? Did this sound like someone reporting intel to him? It was more like a threat! Naturally, Long Feiye knew full well how much the Mermaid Clan detested the West Qin imperial family. During the floods of the south, the Bai family had sacrificed countless members of its mermaid faction to hold back the floods again and again. Those who died in the process couldn’t even leave their names behind, while their good deeds were left unknown to the very people they’d saved.
That was because the “Bai Family” had to hide the secret of their mermaid origins. Each merperson that entered the waters to hold back the rising flood with their lives remained unknown to those on shore. Their dead bodies lied the bottom of the river, silent and soundless. Despite all of their sacrifices, the West Qin imperial clan had actually declared war during the floods. Moreover, they even transferred their own troops fighting the deluge to attack the soldiers of East Qin doing the same thing.
How could they tolerate that?
Perhaps the Mermaid Clan hated West Qin even more than East Qin itself. Thus, Baili Yuanlong insisted on going against the teachings of his forefathers this time when they forged the Sandy River to expose the secret of the mermaids to everyone. After Han Yunxi’s identity was exposed, Long Feiye grew the most guarded against not the Tang Clan or the shadow guards, but Baili Yuanlong and his mermaid soldiers. Baili Yuanlong possessed many men under his command. Long Feiye could hardly imagine his reaction once he discovered the truth.
After hesitating again and again, Long Feiye ordered someone to deliver a letter to Gu Qishao before changing his course for the Sandy River battlefield! Gu Qishao received Long Feiye’s letter just as he arrived at Tianning’s capital city. He was like a cheetah of the night, prowling around the perimeter of the palace with narrowed eyes.
“Qi gege, you’re sure Han Yunxi’s in the palace?” Mu Linger asked anxiously.
The guards around the palace were extremely strict and full of precautions. Unless they were certain, it wasn’t worth risking a look! Heaven knows how many traps Ning Cheng had in store for them.
“Don’t make a racket. Go to the sidelines, I don’t have time to save you if you get in the way,” Gu Qishao waved his hand impatiently. It was obvious he considered Mu Linger a hindrance.
But Mu Linger had long grown thick-skinned to his words. Her heart had hardened as well, so she didn’t care how much he disliked her. “Qi gege, let’s discuss this properly, alright?!” Mu Linger tugged on his hand and dragged him off the wall. Ever since Qi gege had gotten wind that Han Yunxi was in trouble, he’d ran straight here without thinking anything through. Gu Qishao’s gaze turned icy. If this was the past, Mu Linger would have been scared off, but she didn’t fear him now even if he really wanted to kill her.
“Get lost!” he snarled.
“What are you looking for Han Yunxi for? She’s the West Qin princess. Would Ning Cheng do anything to her even after kidnapping her? He’d treat her more like a bodhisattva instead!” Mu Linger pursed her lips, before adding, “Qi gege, you’re not thinking to help Long Feiye kidnap the West Qin princess, right?”
At this, Gu Qishao finally calmed down. He suddenly realized he didn’t know why he was looking for Poison lass. She was the West Qin princess, ah. Ning Cheng hadn’t kidnapped her, but rescued her from Long Feiye’s hands.
And him? Could he take her to wander the world now? He had tricked her about Mute Granny. He was an accomplice to Long Feiye’s misdeeds!
“Qi gege, who knows if the Duke of Qin’s even sent people to spy on you!” Mu Linger added.
Gu Qishao’s faced paled a few shades. Before Mu Linger could speak again, he suddenly roared, “Shut your mouth!” Then his figure flashed out of sight as he flipped over the palace walls. He would admit his wrongs for Mute Granny!
“Qi gege, get ahold of yourself!” Mu Linger cried as she chased after him.
It was currently late night. In the dead silence, Bai Yuqiao and Bai Yanqing had just arrived at the capital city. Ning An greeted them in person before arranging for them to live in the palace. Bai Yanqing had disguised himself as a subordinate of Jun Yixie and called himself Uncle Bai. As soon as Ning An left, he murmured, “Prepare yourself, we’ll go greet the princess immediately later.”
“Master…” Bai Yuqiao had hardly spoken when Bai Yanqing glared at her. She realized that the walls had ears and quickly amended, “Uncle Bai, Her Royal Highness is already asleep. It’s not appropriate to disturb her this late.”
“This old man was instructed by the master to give the imperial jade seal to the princess as soon as we reached the capital. I expect the princess knows of the master’s heartfelt sincerity and won’t blame us needlessly,” Bai Yanqing replied.
Bai Yuqiao understood that master was doing this to express loyalty, so she arranged her things before sending word to Ning An.
How could Han Yunxi possibly be sleeping at a time like this? She was sitting in a secret room behind the tea hall, waiting for Ning Cheng to meet with Bai Yuqiao and Uncle Bai. She had been there all night and was practically living in the room for the past few days. Originally, she planned to try cultivating to the third tier of the poison storage space, but her heart couldn’t calm down. Very soon, Ning Cheng was greeting Bai Yuqiao and her master.
“Clan Head Ning, excuse me for my lack of manners in recognizing you!” Bai Yuqiao said warmly, while Bai Yanqing remained mute.
Ning Cheng only nodded at Bai Yuqiao before examining Bai Yanqing. “So this is Uncle Bai?”
“Exactly. Greetings to Clan Head Ning,” Bai Yanqing cupped his fists in salute, his face calm.
“When will Jun Yixie be able to come?” Ning Cheng asked.
“My master has already discussed things with the leader of the Wintercrow Clan. He should have headed back to his country a few days ago. I’m sure the battle horses he brings will be to Clan Head Ning’s satisfaction,” Bai Yanqing replied.
“How many?” Ning Cheng asked.
“They’ll be brought back in batches of three and total no less than 30,000,” Bai Yanqing’s face revealed a rare trace of pride at the number. Ning Cheng only felt his heart gave a lurch. He recalled Han Yunxi’s reminder. As expected, one couldn’t underestimate the Northern Li cavalry!
These three teams of battle horses, when added to Northern Li’s original ranks, would be more than enough to support 100,000 cavalry forces! If the Ning Clan army and Long Feiye fought on against each other, it’d be Jun Yixie reaping all the rewards in the end!
Ning Cheng’s first reaction was to stop fighting immediately! By suspending the fight with East Qin, he could maintain his strength. He had to expose the Wind Clan’s sinister plots and eliminate its threat. Otherwise, the world would fall to the Wind Clan’s hands and they’d be helping it gain all the power. At the very least, he should delay until the Northern Li cavalry could fight together with the Ning Clan troops. This way he could use the Wind Clan while keeping them in check.
I never expected to rely on Long Feiye’s army to deal with this Wind Clan, Ning Cheng’s lips curled into a mocking smile.
Both pledges of loyalty and reviving the country were matters of the mission. None could escape it, nor had he ever dared to consider the option. His path of loyalty had been a lonely one.
“Very good!” Ning Cheng put on a cheerful air. “How long before the first team of horses reach the battlefields?”
“The horses need to be trained before they reach the south from Northern Li and Wintercrow Country. It’ll take about one and a half months,” Bai Yanqing answered.
“Don’t you need to break in the horses first?” Ning Cheng asked.
“No need. My master convinced the Wintercrow Country’s horse trainer to come. One is enough to command tens of thousands of horses,” Bai Yanqing couldn’t help his pride. This time, Jun Yixie had really exceeded his expectations.
“Hehe, Jun Yixie’s got some skills!” Ning Cheng then asked, “What about the second and third teams? When will they arrive?” He had to make sure of the times so he could guard against the other two teams of battle horses.
“That’s hard to say. It’ll depend on the road conditions. It’s going to snow in Northern Li after a month,” Bai Yanqing said reasonably. Ning Cheng only grew more guarded. Privately, he rejoiced that Han Yunxi had enlightened him to the Wind Clan’s infidelity.
He didn’t express his views, but simply changed the topic. “Where is the imperial jade seal?”
“We’ve naturally brought it with us. It’s just that…” Bai Yanqing was very polite. “I’m not sure if it’s convenient to see the princess so late?”
In other words, he wasn’t handing it over unless he saw Han Yunxi.
Ning Cheng sighed before he intoned, “The princess isn’t in my hands.”
“What?” Bai Yanqing was alarmed, while Bai Yuqiao was completely caught by surprise. “How can this be…”
The news they received was that Medical City had been sealed off for days, a clear sign that Han Yunxi had been kidnapped. Ning Cheng had been in Medical City himself, so if it wasn’t he who took Han Yunxi, then who was it?
“Han Yunxi truly wasn’t at Medical City. It’s not just Long Feiye who’s looking for her, but me as well. Could it be that…”
Ning Cheng trailed off for a long time before Bai Yuqiao couldn’t resist asking, “Who do you suspect?”
“A certain person…” Ning Cheng hesitated again until Bai Yanqing grew anxious.
“Who?” he asked.
“A member of the Shadow Clan!” Ning Cheng said coldly. “Chu Qingge confessed before her death that Gu Beiyue was the descendant of the Shadow Clan. Medical City’s announced that Gu Beiyue’s currently in seclusion. Could it be...him?”
“It wouldn’t be!” Bai Yuqiao denied immediately. Bai Yanqing shot her an unhappy look. He had guessed that Ning Cheng would get Gu Beiyue’s identity from the chu Clan, but never expected Han Yunxi to not be in his hands. Was he right or wrong to come in person this time?
“Why are you so sure?” Ning Cheng pressed.
Bai Yuqiao was quick-minded enough to reply. “Gu Beiyue went into seclusion long before the princess disappeared. How would he know of her identity? Moreover, even if he did know the truth, why would he kidnap the princess? He should be bringing her to find you instead.”
Ning Cheng laughed inwardly while stroking his chin in apparent thought. “Judging by the current situation, all we can do is look wholeheartedly for the princess. I ask this elder Bai to personally attend to garrison duty in the battlefield.”
“It’s important that we find the princess, just…” Bai Yanqing put on a serious expression. “But in terms of the battlefield, this old man is willing but incapable. Leaving that aside, even if my master came in person, it’s unlike he can simply rely on the Qimen Dunjia arts to repel the East Qin troops.”
Bai Yanqing was naturally afraid of Ning Cheng sending him into the battlefield and leaving Bai Yuqiao behind. Additionally, the Wind Clan’s Qimen Dunjia technique needed sufficient manpower to work. Ning Cheng and the Wind Clan’s current forces could only come to a stalemate against East Qin rather than fight back completely. Since Han Yunxi was missing, they would have to find her first. He was in no rush to go to war as delays would only prove more unfavorable for the Ning Clan troops’ side.
Once Jun Yixie’s first team of horses arrived, the Northern Li cavalry could head south. Without soldiers at his command, Ning Cheng would lose control of the majority force.
Bai Yanqing felt that his reasoning was very sound, but Ning Cheng only said, “Heheh, Uncle Bai certainly knows how to joke. Why would I let you command all those troops by yourself? I only need you to assist my Ning Clan troops and temporarily stop the fighting. Once we find the princess, it won’t be too late to rally morale to fight!”
At that moment, a guard suddenly shouted a warning from outside.
“Master, there's an assassin!"Previous Chapter Next Chapter