Baili Yuanlong immediately reacted when Long Feiye said that he’d go alone. “You Highness, this subordinate must accompany you. There are many details related to military affairs that I know best. This subordinate must--”
“What you mean is, this crown prince isn’t familiar with military matters?” Long Feiye cut him off coldly.
“I wouldn’t dare!” Baili Yuanlong realized that he’d exceeded his boundaries. “This subordinate is simply worried that Your Highness--”
“Could this crown prince be blinded by a mere woman?” Long Feiye interrupted harshly. “Or are you like the Tang siblings, still suspecting that I pine for Han Yunxi even now?”
After the results of their first meeting, when His Highness had humiliated the West Qin master and servant so thoroughly, Baili Yuanlong had stopped all suspicions. He only wanted to follow along so he could serve as His Highness’s advisor. Before he could explain, Long Feiye demanded, “What, you think that this crown prince would forget who I am for the sake of a single woman?”
“No! No!” Baili Yuanlong dropped to one knee. “Your Highness has penetrating judgment, this soldier means nothing of those things! This soldier will definitely listen to all of Your Highness’s orders! I only ask that Your Highness takes extra care to guard against swindlers.”
Long Feiye’s tone relaxed at that. “Go busy yourself with what you need to do. This crown prince has naturally made my own plans for the talks.”
“Yes! This subordinate will be respectfully waiting for Your Highness’s good news,” Baili Yuanlong finally withdrew. It was still quite simple for Long Feiye to deal with Baili Yuanlong. After all, his martial arts skills were unparalleled, so no one needed to worry about him. Moreover, his attitude had always been aggressive and to the point, allowing no one to get in an extra word.
But Han Yunxi was different. Without Ning Cheng’s help, she was useless. She couldn’t even climb up a cliff by herself. She did her best to convince Ning Cheng that some simple guards would do, but Ning Cheng couldn’t stop worrying about her traveling alone. In the end, she lost the argument.
“Your Royal Highness, when we have free time, this subordinate will teach you martial arts, alright?” Ning Cheng asked.
If I knew martial arts, I could have convinced Ning Cheng today. She smiled bitterly and said, “I can’t learn it.”
“How can this be? Your Royal Highness has never tried, have you?” Ning Cheng asked.
Han Yunxi was about to tell Ning Cheng how she’d been deemed as a natural-born waste with no ability to circulate qi or cultivate inner energy, thus making learn martial arts useless. But yet another retainer arrived with a very familiar item in his hands: the Pear Blossom Teardrop Rain!
Han Yunxi’s heart gave a lurch as she saw Ning Cheng accept the item and walk her way.
“Here!” Ning Cheng said seriously.
“This…” Han Yunxi feigned ignorance.
Tang Li had long used up all of the needles in this weapon while escaping from his marriage. Right now it was nothing short of useless. When Ning Jing had married into the Tang Clan, they had used the Pear Blossom Teardrop Rain as a betrothal gift to trick Cloud Realm Trade Consortium. Who knew that Ning Cheng would be treating it as a treasure even now?
“The Pear Blossom Teardrop Rain, the Tang Clan’s second most powerful weapon! It’s for you. Keep it to use. It’s at least a hundred times more formidable than that weapon concealed in your sleeve,” Ning Cheng said, before adding, “I used a massive amount of effort to find out how to operate this thing. Hold it like this and then press this button when you’re ready to shoot. Remember, you have to aim before you fire.”
As Ning Cheng demonstrated, he went on to explain, “There’s a limited number of needles hidden in this thing. Once it’s used up, it’s gone. So don’t use it carelessly unless it’s a matter of life and death.”
Han Yunxi only nodded blankly with a stricken conscience. After all, she had used up quite a few needles herself already. Moreover, Tang Li and Long Feiye had even praised her back then for looking quite smart when she held the weapon. It was no less inferior than any man.
What would Ning Cheng think if he knew the truth?
As Han Yunxi battled with her conscience, Ning Cheng finished in a serious tone. “Your Royal Highness, better to save this...to deal with Long Feiye.”
Han Yunxi knew he’d gotten this weapon just to deal with Long Feiye. All of her guilt evaporated in that instant. “No need to give it to me. I trust that Long Feiye wouldn’t really do anything against a woman like me. You keep it for yourself.”
“Ning Cheng, if you’re safe then I’m safer, isn’t that right?” Her words touched Ning Cheng’s heart. He stopped declining her offer as she asked, “How are things going on Ning Jing’s side?”
“I just received news last night and was about to report to you, princess,” Ning Cheng answered. “Ning Jing’s fallen into Long Feiye’s hands. Tang Li stood up as the Tang Clan head to claim her from him, but was refused. Princess, this is an excellent chance. This subordinate has already arranged for Ning An to hurry to the Tang Clan. Perhaps we can use this opportunity to convince the Tang Clan to cooperate with West Qin.” As he spoke, he added, “Princess, have you ever seen any private associations with Long Feiye and the Tang Clan in the past?”
Han Yunxi was so shocked that her chin dropped. She subconsciously shook her head and said, “I...I haven’t.”
She was even worrying whether the Tang Clan had been exposed, but never expected Tang Li had the skills to spin the story like that, eliciting a massive misunderstanding from Ning Cheng. If she guessed right, then Tang Li was the one who imprisoned Ning Jing, then pushed the blame on Long Feiye. Ning Cheng wanted to cooperate with the Tang Clan. Right now, Tang Li must be waiting there for Ning An to deliver herself to him! As long as the Tang Clan seized this chance to fake their alliance with Ning Cheng, Tang Li could trap Ning Cheng under all sorts of instructions from Long Feiye.
How did Tang Li have the confidence to trust that she wouldn’t sell the Tang Clan out? After all, she knew full well of the relationship between them and Long Feiye! After a while, Han Yunxi finally said, “It’s a good idea.”
Ning Cheng grew more reassured about the Tang Clan after her words.
Night fell. The men and horses from both sides reached the cliff at the appointed time. Like their first meeting, Han Yunxi recognized Long Feiye from a distance at once. He was still standing in the middle of the bridge, dressed in black robes with an icy countenance. As a god of th night, he stood tall and cold as if controlling all life beneath his hands with scorn. His figure blended in with the darkness, mysterious to the point of fear. No one dared to approach him despite his mesmerizing allure. Even if proximity spelled disaster, one wanted to get closer, ever closer, to respect, love, cherish, worship, and offer their tributes.
Long Feiye...Long Feiye…
Han Yunxi silently chanted his name inside her head. But Ning Cheng only noticed that there were no people on the other side of the cliff. It was only Long Feiye himself.
What does he mean by this?
“Princess, Long Feiye came alone,” Ning Cheng murmured.
They were still far, so Han Yunxi couldn’t see Long Feiye’s expression. But for some reason, she was certain he was staring at her every move. She silently moved aside a step to maintain her distance from Ning Cheng. “He has full power to decide for himself, so why does he need anyone to accompany him?” Han Yunxi’s words made herself sound like a puppet.
Ning Cheng was quick to explain. “Naturally, princess has full rights to call the shots too. This subordinate is only worried for the princess’s safety.”
“Negotiation between two sides doesn’t kill the envoys. Now that we’ve stopped fighting, we won’t raise weapons of war. He’s a dignified man, what could he do to me?” Han Yunxi challenged.
“Yes,” Ning Cheng said and stopped the explanations.
The true location of the meeting was at the center of the bridge, high up in the air without walls on either side. Only those involved could hear what was being discussed. Even the closest aides would be deaf to the words being spoken. This location had been picked by Ning Cheng to the satisfaction of both parties. Everyone in Han Yunxi’s retinue waited behind while she and Ning Cheng reached the head of the bridge. Long Feiye’s cold eyes gradually narrowed into slits as they filled with warning. However, it wasn’t clear whether he meant the look for Han Yunxi or Ning Cheng.
“Princess, this subordinate will bring you over. Please forgive the offense!” Ning Cheng said, but before he could make a move, Long Feiye spoke up icily.
“Han Yunxi, you’re the princess of an entire nation, and yet you need someone to escort you across a bridge? Is your West Qin weak to this extent? What right do you have to talk terms with this crown prince? Go back!”
Han Yunxi stared at him from a distance without blinking, afraid to miss a second. Long Feiye next raised his voice at Ning Cheng. “Ning Cheng, why don’t you speak with your lordship instead. This crown prince has no interest in such a useless woman!”
“You’re going too far!” Ning Cheng was about to blow when Han Yunxi stopped him.
Loudly, she replied, “Long Feiye, you just wait. This princess will walk over by herself!”
“Princess, you mustn’t!” Ning Cheng grew alarmed. “Princess, don’t fall from his game! He’s doing this on purpose!”
Ning Cheng was no idiot, but he still hadn’t guessed the truth of the situation. Long Feiye was creating a chance for Han Yunxi so they could talk alone. He had already placed dozens of shadow guards in hiding in the abyss below. Even if Han Yunxi fell off the bridge, she wouldn’t come into harm’s way. In any case, his current martial arts skills were more than enough to protect her even without any guards.
Han Yunxi, if you want to know the answer, come over here!
“I know he’s doing it on purpose,” Han Yunxi intoned.
“Then why are you still…” Ning Cheng was almost mad with anxiety.
“Ning Cheng, as the West Qin princess, I must defend the dignity of the imperial clan. That’s much more important than revenge or reviving the country!” Han Yunxi’s words were both the truth and an excuse.
When Ning Cheng made to explain himself, she added, “Ning Cheng, we’ve already lost face last time. We can’t do that again this time!”
Ning Cheng fell silent. Meanwhile, Han Yunxi took a step onto the bridge while holding onto a handrail with both hands. Unfortunately, the wooden planks beneath her feet still swayed unsteadily.
“Princess!” Ning Cheng placed his foot on the bridge to steady it.
“I’m fine. Ning Cheng, trust me!” Han Yunxi said.
Ning Cheng still refused to withdraw, so Han Yunxi simply stepped back on land and said, “That works too. You talk with him while this princess goes back!”
“This subordinate doesn’t dare!” Ning Cheng immediately fell to one knee. He was annoyed beyond belief: why did he pick such a crappy place to hold their meetings?
“Ning Cheng, wait until I return. This is an order!” Han Yunxi said seriously.
Ning Cheng didn’t want to look at her, much less reply, but in the end he submitted to her will. “This subordinate obeys!”
Han Yunxi finally took to the bridge again. She took her first step and got her balance before firmly taking a second. Both Long Feiye and Ning Cheng never took their eyes off her form, afraid to be careless a single instant.
The wood planks swayed underfoot as they creaked, threatening to break at any second. The thin rope handholds on both sides were too slender to take much force from Han Yunxi or help her maintain her balance. As soon as she took a third step, she abruptly fell towards the right…Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Happy news for readers as another double release is expected today! Next chapter coming out soon!