A little more than two hours remained before noon. Long Feiye and Han Yunxi had joined hands to challenge Bia Yanqing. Logically speaking, they should have long shown up at Hundred Poisons Sect by now. Unfortunately, they were now the only ones missing from the party.
Bai Yanqing had ordered the sect to put out tables and chairs and invite guests to a feast. He even had a stage built for the big battle. No matter what he was planning, his methods were even more sublime than Emperor Kangcheng. This sort of setting meant that every minute of the face-off, including each and every word he, Long Feiye, or Han Yunxi said, would be publicized to all eyes and ears. Everyone here could act as witnesses--not just to victory or defeat, but the origins of the civil war in the Great Qin Empire. The intelligent in the crowd could tell that Bai Yanqing was not only building a stage for the fight, but the interrogation, too. Both sides of the stage were lined with seats filled to capacity by witnesses.
Of course, everyone was afraid that Hundred Poisons Sect might seize the chance to do something untoward, but they couldn’t very well refuse invitation letters from the sect. Otherwise, they’d be seen as a joke. Moreover, Hundred Poisons Sect wouldn’t resort to foul play in such a grand setting unless it wanted to earn the enmity of the entire world.
Western Zhou and Tianan’s two sovereigns sent representatives in their place. Emperor Kangcheng had delegated the head commander of his imperial guards--the man who was his personal bodyguard, named Wang Yong (王镛); Long Tianmo had sent out none other than Mu Qingwu. Cloud Realm Trade Consortium’s Council of Elders, Baili Army’s Young General Baili Qiyu, Medical and Medicine City representatives, and a few factions from the jianghu, prominent old families, and noblemen were all in attendance. Currently, everyone was discussing with each other over the proceedings.
“What’s going on? Is the East Qin crown prince and West Qin princess playing a trick on us all?”
“They wouldn’t not show up, right? Heheh, that’d be a huge joke! I was just saying, how could East and West Qin ever agree to cooperate?”
“They’re treating us all like monkeys!”
“As I see it, this can’t be a sham. Hundred Poisons Sect even built a stage! I’d say it’s an 80 percent chance that Long Feiye and Han Yunxi are scared!”
Naturally, it was the jianghu faction sending out such sneers. Meanwhile, the prominent old families, noblemen, and members of the East and West Qin factions appeared calm on the surface, but were on the verge of falling apart inside! They had been trying to contact Long Feiye and Han Yunxi all night yesterday, but couldn’t find hide nor hair of either. After worrying overnight, they were now starting to doubt whether the pair would show up at all. Long Feiye and Han Yunxi wasn’t just toying with the world, but their own allies as well!
As time drew closer with no sign of the pair, many began to sweat from anxiety despite the cold weather.
“There hasn’t been any news from Xu Donglin, either?” Baili Qiyu asked his subordinates.
“None. We’ve already sent men to search the surroundings. Young General, could something...have happened to His Highness?”the subordinate asked in worry.
“What could ever happen to His Highness?” Baili Qiyu replied unhappily. Right now, he was worried that Han Yunxi had poisoned or bewitched His Highness to toss aside this plan and run away with her to the ends of the world. Only he and his father knew the truth of the relationship between the pair in their army.
It went without saying that Han Yunxi was innocent. Over on the Cloud Realm Trade Consortium side, a few elders were also suspecting her.
“It was the princess’s idea to form an alliance, but why has she left us unattended? What does that count for?”
“Myriad Merchant Hall is too sloppy. Alright, so the princess was stubborn, but they insist on following along? If Master Ning was here, nothing like this would have happened!”
“Just where is the princess? Will she really not show?”
“Yesterday that East Qin crown prince humiliated Qi Zonglin like a cur and even said it was revenge for the sake of the princess. There’s all sorts of rumors about that spreading now. Could the East Qin crown prince have stolen the princess away?”
As the deadline drew closer, everyone grew more and more impatient. Discussions turned heated until complaints soon filled the air.
“Heheh, the East-West Qin Alliance truly is one of a kind to fool us all!”
“Isn’t that right! Han Yunxi’s the Poison Sect heir, isn’t she? Is she hiding away as soon as the Hundred Poisons Sect accepted the challenge?”
“Aiya, this isn’t a trick! They’re teaming up to shrink in their shells like turtles!”
The world was so vast that inevitably, some amongst the rabble had no concept of the difference between Heaven and Earth. For some reason, the two men who’d voiced those comments had exceptionally loud voices.
Baili Qiyu instantly rose to his feet. “East Qin’s crown prince had already arrived at Great Central County yesterday and is on his way here! As for the West Qin princess…” He trailed off with a look towards Cloud Realm Trade Consortium. Despite his impulsiveness, he had a bit of scheming in mind. These words told the crowd that the East Qin crown prince was already here and didn’t cower while pushing the blame to the West Qin princess. Moreover, it was probing West Qin to see if they knew any clues of the princess’s current whereabouts and whether she was coming.
However, circumstances proved that Baili Qiyu had overestimated his own intelligence. How could a mere military man outwit the elders of Cloud Realm Trade Consortium, who had grown seasoned with years of doing business?
Second Elder smiled coldly and replied, “Didn’t the Young General already know? The West Qin princess came together with Your Highness?”
In truth, no one else besides Myriad Merchant Hall knew the details of the matter. Like Baili Qiyu’s words, Second Elder’s statement told the crowd that Han Yunxi was already here and didn’t hide away. Moreover, she was traveling together with Long Feiye, so if anything happened to her--such as going missing--then Long Feiye had the greater responsibility as the man. Furthermore, it was probing East Qin to see if they knew what had happened to the pair to keep them from showing.
However, Second Elder’s words only incensed Baili Qiyu, who shot back, “What do you mean by that?”
The scene stilled at his words, the witnesses still watching.
Second Elder noted Baili Qiyu’s exaggerated reactions as his eyes flashed calculatingly. “That’s all I meant. Could it be that the young general doesn’t understand human speech?”
If anything ugly happened to the Baili Army’s young general here, such as some extraordinary remarks or actions, the reputation of their entire army would be ruined. Han Yunxi and Long Feiye dearly wished that everything between East and West Qin all these years had all been a misunderstanding, and that things could be settled peacefully today. However, their respective factions disagreed. They were here to push the blame for the past onto each other’s shoulders. All of their members would rather use this stage to embarrass the other and turn them into a joke.
As expected, Baili Qiyu couldn’t stand being provoked. He slammed the table and demanded, “Try and say that again!”
Second Elder only scoffed and ignored him.
Baili Qiyu prepared to dash over! But he’d hardly taken a step when a familiar voice rose from the crowd. “Young Heneral, it was hard for all us friends to assemble here today. For the sake of giving everyone face, let’s speak civilly.”
Turning towards the sound of voice, Baili Qiyu saw Tianan Country’s representative, Young General Mu Qingwu! He immediately understood the meaning and felt his temper flare away, but endured it. Everyone was waiting for His Highness and the princess and nobody knew what would happen then. If he made the first move, then West Qin would definitely make a big deal out of everything. As things stood, it was better being seen as a joke by Hundred Poisons Sect than the entire world. His crime would be unforgivable then.
Mu Qingwu’s words were genius. He not only reminded Baili Qiyu of their situation, but gave him a platform for a graceful exist. Baili Qiyu put down his saber and cupped his fist at Mu Qingwu. “Alright, let the bigger picture taken precedence!”
But he’d hardly sat down when laughter ran out from amongst the guards of the Hundred Poisons Sect stationed before the gates. “Only a dog would fail to understand human speech!”
At that, a figure flew out from the crowd to land onstage. He was a man of about fifty with a short goatee. His robes were gray and understated, but didn’t obscure the noble air about him. His smile was rather carefree, like an arrogant soul who only looked upon the mortal coil with disdain. No one knew who he was beyond the fact that he hailed from the Hundred Poisons Sect.
“Heheh, I never expected the Baili Army to have such cowardly soldiers!” he laughed louder at the sight of Baili Qiyu. “But that’s fine. You’re not a bad a coward as Long Feiye!”
Baili Qiyu was beyond caring whether this man was mocking him or instigating him on purpose. He unsheathed his saber and sprang up from his seat. “What do you count for?! If you have any skills, fight me a round! We’ll see who’s the coward after that!”
“Hehe, someone like you isn’t worthy of being my opponent! There’s only two hours left. This old man will stand here and see just how much of a coward Long Feiye is! All of you can watch as well!”
As he spoke, he soared up into the air before landing on stage with his hands behind his back to wait!
The crowd was collectively stunned, while Baili Qiyu’s complexion turned ashen. This old man was planning to wait for Long Feiye to show up? In other words, he was…
“Bai Yanqing!” Mu Qingwu muttered to himself. Soon enough, the crowds quieted down. Baili Qiyu didn’t dare to raise another row, but at least he hadn’t completely lost face for Long Feiye.
He soon recovered his spirits and roared, “Bai Yanqing, just you wait. His Highness will teach you a lesson!”
Bai Yanqing didn’t bother arguing. He steadfastly stood his ground, surveyed the crowds, and finally settled his gaze on the path leading away before him.
He would wait!
Over the past few days, he’d been investigating Long Feiye and Han Yunxi’s whereabouts, but had gotten no clues. He too, was curious to know why the couple still hadn’t shown themselves. Even though Gu Beiyue was no longer in his hands, he could still make the pair suffer a horrible defeat! Last time at Blacktower was an exception and missed chance; but here was the perfect moment! He had been waiting all too long for this very day.
Silence reigned around them. Almost everyone here was seeing Bai Yanqing for the first time and were both stunned and curious. Yet they hid away their emotions, too afraid to talk.
Only two hours were left. Would Long Feiye and Han Yunxi show up?
Nice cliff, heh.
Have fun hanging on, readers! Wahahaha....