Jun Yixie had prepared everything and was ready battle north at any time. Han Yunxi’s group and Ning Cheng simple waited for him to make arrangements for his other hostages. It would be troublesome to bring them along to a battle, so Jun Yixie wouldn’t pick such a rash choice. He would either keep them confined at Skyriver City or secretly bring them elsewhere.
This morning, Jun Yixie sought out Ning Cheng personally.
“Shall I bring you somewhere good?” he asked with a grin. He was in excellent spirits.
“Where?” Ning Cheng asked.
“Hehe, you’ll know when you get there!” Jun Yixie signaled with his eyes, and a subordinate came to blindfold Ning Cheng, who could more or less guess what was going on. He didn’t ask any questions, but simply followed the subordinate into a carriage with Jun Yixie.
The whole way, Ning Cheng remained silent while quietly calculating the time, jolts of the carriage, terrain, and road conditions. Their ride moved extremely rapidly, but they didn’t stop until noon. As if afraid of revealing a clue, Jun Yixie didn’t say a word. He walked for a while before personally removing Ning Cheng’s blindfold. Only then did Ning Cheng discover that Jun Yixie had also brought along Ning Jing, Mu Linger, Su Xiaoyu, Manager Jin, and Uncle Cheng. Bai Yuqiao stood at the rear of the crowd, her expression unpleasant.
Right now they were standing in a dense forest, too thick to see any trails. Nearby were two small compounds with extremely high walls, deeply hidden by the trees. If the day was any darker, it would be impossible to even see the outline of the houses. Ning Cheng soon understood that Jun Yixie was planning to trap his hostages here. But there didn’t seem anything special about this place besides its remote location. Fortunately, he had the foresight in these past few days to tell Ning Jing everything she needed to know. Otherwise, he’d never find a chance to speak with her alone again.
“Jun Yixie, what are you doing? If you have the skills, go duel with my big sis. What’s so great about holding us hostage?” Mu Linger raged.
Ning Jing fell silent. Although she was wearing a loose dress, she still stood behind Mu Linger and did her best to straighten up in case Jun Yixie noticed anything amiss. Su Xiaoyu was still wobbling on her feet, so a servant girl had to support her. Her eyes studied everyone shrewdly, but she didn’t say anything to reveal her thoughts.
Jun Yixie looked at Mu Linger before suddenly opening his mouth to roar at her. Frightened, she backed away and cursed, “You’re insane! I’m not afraid of you!”
But seconds later, the roars of tigers greeted Jun Yixie’s cry as the forest began to stir. There were tigers here! Tons of them! Everyone suddenly realized their danger. Mu Linger grew fearful as her hairs stood on end.
Heavens, Jun Yixie raised tigers to guard us! He really is insane!
She obediently shut up, afraid that any more words would elicit the tigers’ attention and start an attack. Ning Cheng silently mused that the Black Clan held the power to communicate with animals and command them to do one’s bidding. Most likely, Jun Yixie had tamed all of the surrounding tigers here. By delivering the hostages to this place, he could guard them with both poison guards and a tiger pack. It really was a tight-knit, comprehensive system. If not for their agent Bai Yuqiao, it would be harder than climbing to Heaven to rescue Ning Jing and the rest.
Ning Cheng gave a careful look at Bai Yuqiao, who was knitting her forehead fiercely as she stared at Su Xiaoyu.
“Leave Su Xiaoyu, but take the others inside,” Jun Yixie drawled.
A complicated look stole into Ning Cheng’s eyes, but he didn’t say a word. He assumed that Jun Yixie would keep Uncle Cheng and Manager Jin by his side, but it seemed like the man wasn’t planning to leave him any useful people! Mu Linger struggled with all her might, but she was the first sent into a compound. Manager Jin fell very quiet before going in by himself. Ning Jing looked back at Ning Cheng, then said, “Jun Yixie, on what grounds do you have to lock me up with Mu Linger? Let me stay with my brother. I promise I’ll get the Tang Clan’s strongest weapons for you!”
Ning Jing was simply playacting. If she could, she’d rather Jun Yixie throw her aside and not care about her at all. Uncle Cheng was truly unresigned, but he uncharacteristically relented and went inside as well.
“The Tang Clan? Heheh, no need to rush. Once this lord and your brother returns in victory, I’ll have a good talk with the Tang Clan head on how to ransom you back!” Jun Yixie looked towards Ning Cheng and added, “Wouldn’t you say?”
“You call the shots,” Ning Cheng said coldly. By bringing him here today, Jun Yixie was allowing him to personally witness the dangers of the tigers before locking Ning Jing up. It was obviously a warning for him to keep away from any tricks in the days to come. Otherwise, Ning Jing would suffer.
“Just return Mu Linger to me later. We’ve agreed that she’s my hostage,” Ning Cheng added.
“No problem!” Jun Yixie agreed with a laugh. Since he was the one locking them up, wouldn’t he be calling the shots later, too? Ning Jing was his chess piece to control Ning Cheng and later on, the Tang Clan. Mu Linger was his key counter against Han Yunxi and Long Feiye when they headed south in the future. These people were too important to trap with anything less than a full tiger guard.
Once everyone went inside the compounds, Jun Yixie told Bai Yuqiao, “Take Su Xiaoyu to the dungeons. I’ll leave everything else here up to you. If you can’t get the whereabouts of the Perplexing Butterfly Illusion before I come back, there’s no need to stay by my side any longer.”
Bai Yuqiao’s heart was heavy, but she still managed a smile. “Senior brother, this is a tiger den. Even if anyone could find their way in, they won’t be able to enter! I don’t want to stay here--it’s so boring! I’d rather go to the battlefield with you.”
Jun Yixie gave her an arrogant glance. “If you won’t stay behind, then get lost this instant.”
Bai Yuqiao immediately hung her head before shouting irritably at Su Xiaoyu, “What are you looking at? Come with me!”
After Bai Yuqiao took Su Xiaoyu to yet another compound, Jun Yixie surveyed the surroundings and clapped his hands. Very quickly, multiple tigers poked their heads out from the foliage. All of them were white tigers, but differed in that they possessed scarlet irises. As they stared at Ning Cheng like fresh prey, it felt like they would pounce on him at any second and tear him to shreds.
“Poison corpses?” Ning Cheng asked, growing guarded. Jun Yixie had plenty of Poison Humans among his subordinates and had cultivated some Poison corpses as well. While people could be subject to those treatments, so could tigers. If these tigers had been personally cultivated by Jun Yixie himself, then it wouldn’t be easy to make them toxic, too.
“Heheh, Master Ning’s knowledge is quite broad!” Jun Yixie chuckled.
“It’s my first time seeing them,” Ning Cheng said while examining the white tigers. There were six of them in total, but none of them moved to attack without Jun Yixie’s orders. Since they were Poison corpse tigers, it’d be a challenge for Bai Yuqiao to kill them as well. Ning Cheng finally understood why her complexion had looked so ghastly. Still, he had more questions for the girl.
Jun Yixie raised a hand to summon one of the tigers, who padded over to meekly prostrate at his feet. He gently stroked the tiger’s forehead while smiling at Ning Cheng. “My Black Clan might be able to talk with animals, but it isn’t easy to tame them! I spent years’ worth of time to get them to obey me. Ning Cheng, I’ll gift you one after we return!”
“I’m not interested. Just don’t skimp out on the share I’m supposed to get,” Ning Cheng said brusquely.
Jun Yixie laughed. “So forthright! Let’s go! Tonight we’ll have a good rest, tomorrow you’ll come with me up north. We’ll gallop across the plains together!”
Since they were setting out tomorrow, Ning Cheng only had tonight to meet with Bai Yuqiao one last time and send out a secret letter. He glanced at the compounds, unsure whether the girl would be able to slip away from here tonight. Once again, he was led back to the carriage while blindfolded and returned to camp much sooner than the first trip. It was obvious that they’d used a different route. At night, Jun Yixie called Ning Cheng over to the main tent to drink wine, only sending him back when it was very late.
Ning Cheng stood outside his tent for awhile, hoping that he’d see Bai Yuqiao inside. Unfortunately, only the usual two guards greeted him. Could Bai Yuqiao make it tonight? The whole night long, Ning Cheng held onto his finished letter and sat waiting against the bed. Soon enough, time trickled by. When it was almost dawn and many of the soldiers already gathered, Bai Yuqiao had still to arrive. If this went on, she would have no more chances.
Just when Ning Cheng was about to give up, Bai Yuqiao suddenly rushed inside. She gave silver to the two guards on duty and whispered a few orders to get them out. Ning Cheng quickly rose to his feet, but he’d hardly opened his mouth when Bai Yuqiao cried, “Ning Cheng, I really have no way to follow the army! That place is called the Tiger’s Prison. I know its location, but I can’t bring anyone out. I’ll ask you one last time: can you save my little sister or not?!”
“I can’t, but Han Yunxi and Long Feiye definitely can,” Ning Cheng muttered back.
Bai Yuqiao was shocked. “You…” She’d always known that Ning Cheng wasn’t really allied with Jun Yixie, but never expected him to team up with Long Feiye!
That means the battle between East Qin and the Ning Clan troops are all a sham? They’ve teamed up to hurt senior brother!
“As long as you help Ning Jing deliver letters, I promise Han Yunxi and Long Feiye will come save them before Jun Yixie returns!” Ning Cheng said.
Even master feared the thought of Han Yunxi and Long Feiye teaming up, to say nothing of senior brother’s white tigers. Bai Yuqiao was suddenly enlightened. “Ning Cheng, you wanted to sit back and reap in all the rewards! You’re all so despicable!”
“You don’t have to join us. Su Xiaoyu...doesn’t need to either,” Ning Cheng’s expression was indifferent. “But you’ll have to shoulder the consequences alone!”
Ning Cheng dared to tell Bai Yuqiao the truth at this moment because he didn’t fear her going to tattle.
“You promised me that you wouldn’t kill my senior brother!” Bai Yuqiao grew agitated. This was her bottom line.
“Don’t worry, I can still guarantee he keeps his cheap life,” Ning Cheng said, his heart cold. Only by keeping Jun Yixie alive can I make him suffer a fate worse than death!Previous Chapter Next Chapter
It's like Law of the Jungle all of a sudden hahaha~