“Princess, Your Highness...this servant neglected my duties,” Baili Mingxiang said apprehensively.
If someone asked her whether she regretted it now, she still wouldn’t know how to answer. After all, she wasn’t ruthless enough to watch Xu Donglin die before her eyes. With everything done and Bai Yanqing dead, Baili Mingxiang was already useless. Long Feiye didn’t say much before intoning, “After descending the mountain, go back to the army.”
Before leaving the army, Long Feiye had conferred Baili Mingxiang with a military rank. Now that the business with Bai Yanqing was over, she would naturally return to her official post. Although she was reluctant, Baili Mingxiang still silently exhaled in relief. She knew that leaving those two was the greatest redemption she could find in this lifetime.
“The Raging Flame Lotus…” Baili Mingxiang murmured under her breath, intending to return the item.
But Han Yunxi just said, “No need. Keep it for self-defense, you’re not necessarily safe just because Bai Yanqing is dead.”
Heaven knows whether Bai Yanqing had told anyone else about the dual cultivation? Long Feiye had crafted so many misunderstandings and left so many double meanings with Baili Mingxiang that there would be plenty of people after her life if they knew the truth.
“Many thanks to princess and Your Highness,” Baili Mingxiang bowed. After a pause, she added, “Princess, please take care of your health. Mingxiang won’t be able to wait on you in the future.”
Han Yunxi suddenly realized that this was truly farewell. If Baili Mingxiang was going back to the army, then she’d probably have no more chances to stay by her side in this lifetime.
“You take care too,” Han Yunxi ended up helping the woman up and grasping her ice-cold hands. If not for the rumors running rampant in the army and the calls and shouts of the soldiers on bonfire night, then things might be less awkward between them now. Han Yunxi only sighed. She soon found a few female mercenaries to escort Baili Mingxiang back with careful instructions. “Find a few people to disguise themselves and set off in different directions. Don’t let anyone follow you. And also, keep a low profile once you reach the army.”
Xu Donglin had been unconscious, so aside from Shi Jiuxia, Baili Mingxiang was the only other witness to the truth. But neither Long Feiye nor Han Yunxi had reservations against the woman. If she wanted to betray them, she wouldn’t have waited for so long. After sending off Baili Mingxiang, Long Feiye and Han Yunxi descended the mountain with Shi Jiuxia in tow. The whole way Han Yunxi spoke with the man while Long Feiye simply listened quietly. He noticed that her eyes were hooded the entire time, meaning that she wasn’t in a good mood.
After killing Bai Yanqing and controlling the “truth,” all they had to do was convince everyone below the mountain to erase all enmity between East and West Qin. There would be no gaps between them them--what they always wanted, wasn’t that right? Yet he hadn’t seen a trace of joy on Han Yunxi’s face since the deed was done. No matter how deeply she hid it, Long Feiye could tell that the accusation of “patricide” affected her immensely.
Currently, most of the people down the mountain had risen to their feet to wait. They had no idea what was happening. Even the Hundred Poisons Sect disciples were clueless.
“What’s going on? Did they start fighting? Who won?”
“Are they still fighting? How long is this going to take? Long Feiye and Han Yunxi couldn’t be losing against Bai Yanqing, right?”
“Can someone give us some answers? Where’s that Elder Shi? Come out and tell us what’s happening!”
Many people grew impatient and starting yelling, but most of these were insignificant nobodies. The true players of the field remained silent in their seats to wait, such as Mu qingwu and the East and West Qin factions. They couldn’t figure out why Bai Yanqing had remained unmoved even after Long Feiye and Han Yunxi attacked from behind, or why the man had suddenly chased after Xu Donglin and Baili Mingxiang after they called in the Poison corpses.
What was the meaning behind all this?
Although Baili Qiyu knew that Baili Mingxiang’s dual cultivation rumors were all a sham, he still didn’t understand much. His brain wasn’t sharp enough to realize this was all part of Long Feiye’s plot to lure Bai Yanqing up the mountain, either. No matter whether they were the East and West Qin factions or Mu Qingwu, the outcome of the battle didn’t matter. All of them had faith in Long Feiye and Han Yunxi’s skills and only wanted the couple to bring Bai Yanqing down to tell them the truth about the original civil war conflict.
Soon enough, Long Feiye and Han Yunxi appeared before their eyes. They walked step by step down the mountain, then onstage. Shi Jiuxia trailed behind them before stopping to stand by their side. Everyone grew stupid at the sight. A few in the crowd rose from their seats, while Mu Qingwu’s mind went completely blank except for the sight of Han Yunxi.
Baili Qiyu knew of the sentiments between His Highness and Han Yunxi. He was more interested in the East and West Qin enmity. He remembered that His Highness and Han Yunxi had vowed to meet each other on the battlefield if needed. Thus, he was the first to speak.
“Your Highness, where is Bai Yanqing?”
Long Feiye didn’t speak, but Shi Jiuxia proclaimed, “Everyone, I am Shi Jiuxia, the head of Hundred Poisons Sect’s Council of Elders! I was already a disciple of Hundred Poisons Sect long before Bai Yanqing joined us! Although Bai Yanqing’s a descendent of the Poison Sect and the Wind Clan, he’s been hiding his identity this entire time. No one in Hundred Poisons Sect was aware of his origins including myself until I heard him arguing with the West Qin princess and East Qin crown prince today!”
The hubbub died down at his words. But Shi Jiuxia’s next statement was a bombshell that sent the crowds teeming with energy.
He said, “Bai Yanqing has already died by the East Qin crown prince’s blade. His body fell into the canyon below.”
“Bai Yanqing’s really dead?!”
The three elders from Cloud Realm Trade Consortium immediately asked, “Your Royal Highness, why didn’t you escort Bai Yanqing down the mountain for questioning? There was an agreement to interrogate him about the internal conflicts and confront East Qin!”
“Bai Yanqing wasn’t killed by this princess. You should ask the East Qin crown prince this question instead,” Han Yunxi replied simply.
Third Elder sent Long Feiye a questioning look, but he only ignored the man as if he didn’t exist. Shi Jiuxia looked towards the elders of Cloud Realm Trade Consortium and grew serious. “Everyone, there’s no need for a confrontation between East and West Qin anymore. The truth of the civil war that tore apart the Great Qin Empire lay neither with East nor West Qin, but…”
“Elder Shi, you sure care about a lot!” someone yelled from the stands. “When did it get to be your turn to talk about the enmity between East and West Qin? Neither of its sovereigns are in any rush, so why are you? What a joke!”
The tone was extremely sardonic. But his voice echoed the views of everyone else present. Shi Jiuxia was an elder of Hundred Poisons Sect and the true man in charge of the sect. What right did he have to stand here and speak? He’d led the Hundred Poisons Sect disciples to do so many terrible things that it was already fortunate he wasn’t a public enemy! Despite this, Shi Jiuxia managed to remain calm and shot back, “What are the origins of this young man? Why are you meddling in other people’s business? What’s your rush?”
The speaker was neither from East nor West Qin, so he naturally had no retort.
But Baili Qiyu couldn’t take any more suspense. He asked, “Shi Jiuxia, what do you count for? There’s no need for you to stick your mouth in East and West Qin’s affairs! The civil war began because West Qin harbored evil intentions and instigated it. What the hell do you know? Stop spewing nonsense and get lost!”
Shi Jiuxia wasn’t head elder for nothing. He stood his ground and said, “This one has no right to speak of East and West Qin’s enmity, but as the Hundred Poisons Sect’s head elder, I have the right to denounce Bai Yanqing! And publicize his deeds to everyone!”
The crowd finally quieted down. Shi Jiuxia’s excuse was more than enough!
“The enmity between East and West Qin was all because of the Wind Clan. They claimed that East Qin destroyed the dam to protect an iron ore mine and even spread rumors to destroy the reputation of its heir apparent. East Qin was provoked by the Wind Clan into sending out its troops, but the Wind Clan then created such a fuss that both imperial clans misunderstood the other. Today, Bai Yanqing was even willing to sacrifice Hundred Poisons Sect despite his position as the former sect leader to sow discord between the West Qin princess and East Qin crown prince. As the head of Council of Elders, I have a duty to publicize the facts.”
Overwhelming silence swept across the crowd as everyone’s expressions grew complicated. They never expected these results. In fact, they didn’t dare to believe it! Shi Jiuxia waited a while before continuing. “If this one hadn’t witnessed Bai Yanqing arguing with the East and West Qin sovereigns with my own eyes and overheard the truth, I and the rest of the Hundred Poisons Sect disciples would still be hoodwinked! Bai Yanqing had been standing at the bottom of the mountain this entire time while those two attacked the sect just so he could use the chance to provoke both sides into a confrontation!”
Hearing this, everyone understood why Bai Yanqing had refused to leave his post. Many more began to believe Shi Jiuxia’s words, including members of the East and West Qin factions. Shi Jiuxia took another step forward and declared, “Everyone, I, Shi Jiuxia earned the grace of the West Qin princess’s mercy. From this day on, I’m willing to change Hundred Poisons Sect for the better from the inside out and submit to the Poison Sect. Today I came to personally expose Bai Yanqing’s true face and the Wind Clan’s sinister schemes. I hope that you all will give Hundred Poisons Sect a chance to start anew!”
The large crowd greeted him with silence. Nobody cared what Hundred Poisons Sect was planning, too lost in the truth behind the East and West Qin conflict. There was no right or wrong, just one huge misunderstanding?
This...how could this be?
After all, the enmity between both sides had lasted through three to four successive generations! If Shi Jiuxia had come right up to expose the truth, then no one would believe him. Instead, they might suspect that he’d been bribed. But Shi Jiuxia had used his status as Hundred Poisons Sect’s elder to denounce Bai Yanqing and expose his misdeeds. The effects were completely different and convinced at least half the crowd. Baili Qiyu’s gaze was complicated. He couldn’t help but feel that something was off, but didn’t know what. The old foxes of Cloud Realm Trade Consortium were even less easily fooled.
Third Elder asked coldly, “Shi Jiuxia, why should we believe you?”
Shi Jiuxia was no easy foe, so he only smiled coldly and replied, “This one is only speaking on behalf of Hundred Poisons Sect. Even the likes of you have no right to discuss matters of East and West Qin, much less myself. Only what the masters say count!” He added, “The West Qin princess has already accepted this one’s surrender. If Third Elder doesn’t believe me, heheh, then…”
Shi Jiuxia’s words were quite well-said. If Third Elder doubted his words, then he would be doubting Han Yunxi as well! Who would publicly admit to distrusting their own master unless they were planning to rebel?Previous Chapter Next Chapter
There are so many Council of Elders in this story that it gets confusing! Medical City, Medicine City, Cloud Realm Trade Consortium, Myriad Merchant Hall, Hundred Poisons Sect...the list goes on and on, and they all have "head elder," "second elder," "third elder," etc...
Dear author, have mercy on us readers and translator...!