Hearing Bai Yuqiao’s explanation only made Ning Cheng laugh. “Jun Yixie, Bai Yanqing really does have you running around in circles for him! Northern Li’s emperor is no fool. You killed the crown prince and second imperial prince, then took control of almost 100,000 battle horses. How was Bai Yanqing supposed to convince the emperor to trust you? That’s a joke, and you still believe it?”
Jun Yixie’s eyes flashed with unhappiness as he refuted, “Even if master can’t convince the Northern Li emperor, it’s unlikely he can keep me in check! A single order from me, and at least half the cavalry forces here will listen!”
“What about your soldiers’ pay and provisions?” Ning Cheng challenged. His words rendered Jun Yixie speechless, while Bai Yuqiao realized the gravity of the situation as well. She only felt ashamed after all her words to Ning Cheng in the teahouse. Ning Cheng could see Northern Li’s current situation and her senior brother’s plight even better than she did.
Senior brother really did have the skills to command half the army to revolt, but he didn’t have any pay or provisions! At most, he’d last a month before winter set in. Without fodder, the horses would starve to death and the soldiers would scatter. This was senior brother’s fatal weakness.
“Jun Yixie, Bai Yanqing should know perfectly well how much grain you have on hand. One more day without him is another day you’re at a stalemate with the Northern Li emperor. Bai Yanqing never planned to take you with him to conquer the world, but only needed you to keep Northern Li in check. Then my Ning Clan troops would have nothing to fear and throw everything into a deathmatch with East Qin!” Ning Cheng pointed out the truth.
Bai Yuqiao shook her head. Ning Cheng’s analysis was too accurate. If Han Yunxi hadn’t exposed master’s identity back then, everything would go as he predicted. With East and West Qin locked in battle while Northern Li dealt with internal power struggles, Jun Yixie would gain no advantages even after the East-West conflict ended, because he’d be hurt by his fight against the emperor, too.
Jun Yixie finally got it as he muttered to himself. “Master...he was helping you!”
Ning Cheng shook his head helplessly. In some ways, Bai Yanqing was helping the Di Clan, but it was a pity he’d discovered all this too late. Back then, he’d been too intimidated by the thought of Jun Yixie’s 100,000 battle horses. If it weren’t for Bai Yuqiao’s earlier remarks, he would have never thought of this point even after discovering all of Bai Yanqing’s plots.
“Why is master helping you?!” Jun Yixie couldn’t accept it.
But Ning Cheng knew exactly what was going on. While Bai Yanqing appeared to be aiding the Di Clan, his true motive was to spur them on to fight East Qin without reservations or fear! Bai Yanqing’s chessboard had taken into account Long Feiye, Han Yunxi, himself, and Jun Yixie. His goal was to pit East and West Qin against each other in an eternal conflict without end. Once again, Han Yunxi’s words sounded in his ears.
“And also, we agreed to give everyone a chance to salvage the situation. You’ve even used the red coat cannons, so what’s your meaning by this?”
Both Han Yunxi and Long Feiye had suspected Bai Yanqing’s motives, and that the enmity between East and West Qin was nothing but a misunderstanding. He, on the other hand, refused to accept the possibility and didn’t want to believe it. But now that he knew how much Bai Yanqing had hidden from Jun Yixie, coupled with Bai Yuqiao’s words, he lost all doubts. Still, he couldn’t understand what the Wind Clan’s motives were if they were the instigators of the civil war. Was it to gain sovereignty over Cloud Realm Continent? But judging from Bai Yanqing’s actions, he wasn’t interested in taking over the world at all. He only wanted to chaos chaos. While he was puzzling this out, Jun Yixie suddenly broke into guffaws.
“Ning Cheng, don’t tell me you think my master’s really loyal to West Qin! I’ll say this now, that’s impossible!”
It was obvious that Jun Yixie hadn’t grasped Bai Yanqing’s true plans. A complicated look flitted past Ning Cheng’s eyes before he asked, “Jun Yixie, you were his disciple for over 20 years. What do you think he wants to do?”
What did master want to do? Master had always told him that the Wind Clan would help his Black Clan snatch the armored cavalry forces from Northern Li and conquer Cloud Realm Continent! Just like in the past, when the Black Clan had helped the Wind Clan start the civil war between East and West Qin! They were the best of allies!
But even he couldn’t believe those damned words now!
Ning Cheng walked back to him. “Have a go, what does he want to do?”
“No matter what he wants to do, he’ll never be loyal to West Qin! Definitely not!” Jun Yixie had been forced to a corner.
Bai Yuqiao watched from the sidelines, wanting to cut in but holding back in the end. When had senior brother ever seemed so desperate? Only matters with master could hurt him so much. She steeled her heart and remained silent, hoping that Ning Cheng could viciously curse some sense into him! But she was wrong. Ning Cheng’s every word was meant to sound Jun Yixie out! He couldn’t see through Bai Yanqing, so he hoped he could glean some clues from his disciple’s reactions.
“Jun Yixie, he led you on like a fool for 20 years. Why are you so sure he won’t?” Ning Cheng smiled coldly. “Are you actually an idiot, or just pretending?”
Jun Yixie suddenly grabbed Ning Cheng by the collar. “Ning Cheng, I’ll tell you this now, the Wind Clan long betrayed West Qin’s imperial clan. It wasn’t here, but back when the civil war first broke out between East and West Qin!”
Now Ning Cheng was stunned. The reason for the civil war between the two dynasties began with the Sandy River flood. The Wind Clan claimed that the East Qin crown prince had wanted to protect his iron ore mine and ordered the dam destroyed so the water could be diverted downstream. Back then, East Qin had apparently sent out the Black Clan to do the deed, and the Wind Clan from West Qin had done their best to stop them. But thanks to their repeated defeats, West Qin failed to gain any advantage when civil war officially broke out. Within a year, the dynasty fell.
However, Long Feiye had denied the account during their meeting. East Qin hadn’t tried to protect its iron ore mine, but simply sent the Black Clan to collect as much of it as they could. However, the Wind Clan had ambushed the Black Clan general, which led to further outbreaks between the two. If the Wind Clan had betrayed the West Qin imperial family, then did they make up false reports? And frame East Qin?
Could the Wind Clan have attacked the Black Clan on purpose to start the civil unrest?
“How did the Wind Clan betray West Qin?” Ning Cheng exclaimed.
Jun Yixie only laughed. “Ning Cheng, the Wind and Black Clans were always allies. The civil war in the past started because of the Sandy River flood and the conflicts between the Wind and Black Clans. Think it over carefully, hehe!”
Did Ning Cheng need to think twice? Jun Yixie’s words confirmed his guesses! East and West Qin had really been provoked into fighting! Everything started with the Wind and Black Clans. All these years, all those people who held onto their hatred, wasn’t for the sake of East or West Qin at all!
It was for the Wind and Black Clan! They were the ones they should hate!
Ning Cheng staggered back a few feet. How was he supposed to accept this? The belief that he and the Di Clan had held onto for years was nothing but a joke!
Ning Cheng kept shaking his had while Jun Yixie moved to press closer. “Even if my master betrays the Black Clan, he won’t pledge loyalty to West Qin! Ning Cheng, don’t bother meddling in his business. I’ll only ask you one thing.”
“Are you interested in...forming an alliance with my Black Clan?”
Jun Yixie was a descendant of the Black Clan?
Ning Cheng was shocked, while Bai Yuqiao could only gape in disbelief. Despite this, they soon understood everything. Jun Yixie was a descendant of the Black Clan, so no wonder Bai Yanqing took him as a disciple and raised him so many years!
The Black Clan understood the speech of animals and was proficient at commanding beasts.
“Are the horsekeepers of the Wintercrow Clan all from your Black Clan?” Ning Cheng asked.
“Exactly!” Jun Yixie admitted openly.
The story behind him inviting the horsekeepers back from Wintercrow Clan to look after the animals was all a pretense to pull the wool over their eyes. All of the horsekeepers were members of his Black Clan. Because he knew the art of commanding beasts, he had earned the worship of the Wintercrow royal family and easily purchased 90,000 battle horses. Ning Cheng’s heart was filled with emotions. He never thought this would be the ultimate truth. Long Feiye must be wondering how Jun Yixie won over the Wintercrow Clan and his horses as well.
“Ning Cheng, that slut Han Yunxi can even throw herself into Long Feiye’s arms, so why persist in reviving West Qin? Heheh, you were really blind to make her your master,” Jun Yixie mocked.
Ning Cheng only lowered his head in silence.
Jun Yixie rapped his fingers against the phoenix wing face mask and sneered. “What, you’re still wearing something like this on your face? Are you expressing your sincerity or courting disgrace?”
Ning Cheng knocked aside Jun Yixie’s hand but remained silent.
Doubt flashed past Jun Yixie’s eyes before he simply decided to rip off the mask. He was about to toss it when Ning Cheng finally stopped him and snatched it back with a cold voice. “Jun Yixie, I can work with you. The country will be yours, but Han Yunxi is mine! I won’t let you hurt a hair on her head, how’s that?”
Bai Yuqiao’s head whipped back. Although she’d more or less guessed his feelings, hearing them from Ning Cheng’s own lips was still a little unbelievable. No wonder Ning Cheng would still defend the Di Clan to the death even when Han Yunxi forgot about her national enmity to ally with Long Feiye. As it turned out, Ning Cheng’s heart lay not with West Qin, but its princess!
Jun Yixie roared with laughter. “Giving up the kingdom for a beauty! Hahah! Han Yunxi’s flavor is indeed fine, but it’s a pity! Back then…” Back then, in a moment of impulse, he’d narrowly claimed the woman for himself.
While Jun Yixie was grinning, Ning Cheng suddenly punched him in the mouth. Not expecting this, he was struck sideways and knocked to the ground, spitting out two teeth!
“Ning Cheng!” Bai Yuqiao rushed over angrily, but Ning Cheng kicked her aside. His rage towered to the skies, so before Jun Yixie could get up, he’d grabbed the man and punched him again.
Abruptly, Jun Yixie blocked his fist and laughed. “Truthfully, I’ve never had the chance to try her flavors. But...hehe, Long Feiye probably has. I’m not interested in his worn shoes. If you want it, you can have it! Save all your temper for Long Feiye instead! What do you count for...if you direct it towards me? Haha!” Jun Yixie’s words made sense, but Ning Cheng somehow found the strength to break free of his grip and form his left hand into a fist. Once again, he punched the man in the face until he was sent flying.
The needle embedded in his left hand was forced deep into Ning Cheng’s flesh by the impact, but he couldn’t feel any pain. It was his heart that felt miserable. As he stared at Jun Yixie’s face and lips, he suddenly realized that they were the same: both worthless good-for-nothings!Previous Chapter Next Chapter