Chapter 488: Who kept the Duke of Qin behind? Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Faced with Long Tianmo’s questioning, Mu Qingwu’s gaze turned evasive. “This soldier is very contrite. Because the situation was quite urgent, I killed him in a moment of impulse. Fortunately, that young commander still had a few captains under his command that we can interrogate for answers. This soldier has already locked them up in the prisons.”
Moment of impulse?
That wasn’t Mu Qingwu’s style at all. Long Tianmo gave him a scrutinizing look as he ordered. “Forget about that for now, then. Hurry back to the palace with your troops, the quicker the better!”
Mu Qingwu hastened away while Long Tianmo went to inspect the bag of crossbow arrows he’d collected. These weapons were much shorter than typical crossbow arrows, with tips as sharp as swords.
“Even Imperial Qin Uncle’s guards couldn’t fight them off. Indeed, they’re not a simple opponent, heheh!” he laughed coldly.
“Your Highness, hurry away from this place. It’s not safe here, those archers are still at large!” one of his attendants urged worriedly.
Long Tianmo was in no rush. He took out a handful of the crossbow arrows and gave them to the attendant, then whispered in his ear, “Take these to Xuanlong Gate.”
Others might not catch the hidden meaning of his words, but his personal attendants were very clear. His Highness Crown Prince wanted to plant evidence of the mystery archers at Xuanlong Gate by killing the guards stationed there. The emperor was no fool, so it was unlikely he’d fall for the Young General’s ploy to guard the imperial palace and get nervous. However, if the guards at the gate were killed by these special arrows, His Majesty would jump out of his bed even if he was ill!
“This subordinate understands, I’ll do it immediately!”
As the attendant left to fulfill his commands, Long Tianmo’s lips quirked into a sinister smile. He was going to raise a row with today’s events, the bigger the better. It’d be for the best if he could even tie it to the gunpowder case from the black markets.
Chu Qingge shouldn’t even begin to wish for the title of noble consort, much less empress!
He was supposed to be at the Eastern Palace right now, preparing to watch a good show, but he couldn’t resist coming out himself with his own men to search. The imperial guards had searched so long without a trace of Han Yunxi. Who knew where she was now? How was she doing, and was she hurt? Something so big had happened, yet Imperial Qin Uncle hadn’t shown his face at all. Could it be that he’s not in the capital? But he was clearly here a a few days ago! Wouldn’t he bring Han Yunxi along if he was going out? Long Tianmo couldn’t figure it out, so he simply continued searching.
Meanwhile, Long Feiye was in a side residence outside of the capital walls. In the dim guest hall with its windows and doors shut tight, he was shut off from everything except the warbling of birds outside. But in actuality, this bird song was a secret signal of the Hidden Pavilion guards, one used to indicate that trouble had happened back at the Duke of Qin’s estate.
Within the quiet hall, Long Feiye stood with his hands clasped behind his back, exuding a dense, frigid air. He made the already chilly room feel even colder. The trace rays of sunlight shining through the windows only illuminated his frozen face and dark, impenetrable pupils. Dead corpses laid scattered by his feet, each and every one of them stabbed to death by his sword.
Standing in front of him were two people. One was Duanmu Yao, dressed in white robes as ethereal as a fairy. The other was Celestial Mountain Sword Sect’s head of affairs, Long Feiye and Duanmu Yao’s marital uncle Cang Qiuzi.1
It was only natural for Long Feiye to greet his martial uncle in person when the latter came for a personal visit. However, Duanmu Yao had told him it was his master that had arrived. She even had one of their master’s authenticating tokens to prove it, thus causing Long Feiye to rush over. Duanmu Yao had said that their master missed him and insisted on coming down the mountain to meet him.
Logically speaking, his master should have been the one to come to see him at the Duke of Qin’s estate, but since he’d slipped out in secret, he wanted to keep a low profile. Even Long Feiye’s estate wouldn’t do, so he could only arranged to meet him at a secret location here. This was what Duanmu Yao had said, and he had bought her story. But who knew that he’d be seeing his martial uncle instead of his master here? More over, it was Martial Uncle Cang Qiuzi of all people. The Celestial Mountain Sword Sect had always prized martial arts over all else and was an esteemed member of the wulin circles. Even the City of Daughters and Carefree City didn’t dare to run amok with them around.
Nobody expected that ten years ago, the Celestial Mountain Sword Sect had already fallen under the control of somebody else. As soon as Long Feiye saw Cang Qiuzi, he knew that he’d been tricked, but a swarm of swordsmen attacked him as soon as he tried to leave. He had no idea what had happened at the Duke of Qin’s estate, but he knew that Han Yunxi was still there!
Casting a cold stare at Cang Qiuzi, he said, “Feiye has business to take care of. I won’t be keeping you company today, may Martial Uncle Cang excuse me.”
“Martial brother, I was wrong. I was so happy that I mixed up martial uncle (shishu) with master (shifu). Don’t be angry anymore, it’s rare for martial uncle to come down the mountain. He wanted to drink some tea with you, so why are you so insistent on—”
Long Feiye drew his blade, the fierce sword qi striking harshly against Duanmu Yao’s face.
“Ah!” Duanmu Yao cried out. Her face burned with pain as if she’d just been soundly slapped. In disbelief, she cradled her cheek and burst into tears. “Martial brother, you hit me… You… You might as well kill me outright with that sword before master sees me and feels distressed!”
Long Feiye ignored her completely and spoke, still keeping his temper in check, “Martial Uncle Cang, for master’s sake, may I trouble you to grant me passage.”
Cang Qiuzi was no impulsive sprout like Duanmu Yao, but a man in his forties with a beard like a mountain goat. His hair was tied up neatly atop his head and he was dressed in black robes with simple cloth shoes. He was modest and unassuming to the eye.
Cang Qiuzi stroked his beard with a sigh. “Feiye, you’ve grown up. Is it so difficult for martial uncle to invite you over for some tea? I’ve come all this way assuming that you’d be happy to see me. Aiya, it looks like martial uncle was overthinking things.”
Although Long Feiye had killed off a bunch of Cang Qiuzi’s disciples, he was still polite enough to leave the man some face. It was obvious that the man was stalling for time, but Long Feiye had no idea what could’ve happened at the estate, enough to make Cang Qiuzi to personally lure him from his den. Was it something related to the Celestial Mountain Sword Sect? Or had Duanmu Yao asked Cang Qiuzi to help her personally?
Cang Qiuzi was a crafty, avaricious hypocrite who was also extremely prudent and reserved. If it wasn’t matters involved with the Celestial Mountain Sword Sect, how did Duanmu Yao managed to move him off the mountain? Had she offered him some sort of favor? But there was no time to consider that now. Long Feiye wanted to leave as soon as possible. His heart was uneasy thinking that Han Yunxi might be in danger.
“What will convince martial uncle to leave me a path?” Currently, Long Feiye still had no idea what had happened in the capital, much less that people had tried to assassinate Han Yunxi. He was still calm now because he couldn’t beat Cang Qiuzi in a fight.
Cang Qiuzi’s abilities were only second to master himself, but this year his inner cultivation levels and sword skills had grown ever finer. It was very possible that he could be master’s equal by now. Because of that, Long Feiye hadn’t bothered getting involved with the sordid business of Celestial Mountain Sword Sect’s inner politics. He was already busy enough. If he provoked Cang Qiuzi as well, he was just seeking trouble for himself!
He had kept his distance both from the sect and Cang Qiuzi himself, but never expected Duanmu Yao to bring that man to his door. If he really moved against this martial uncle, he’d keep him in a chokehold and never let him go. Only strategy could win this match now!
But Cang Qiuzi’s tone only turned cold. “Feiye, martial uncle has come a long way. You’re in such a rush that you give me no face, and won’t even spare me a cup of tea. Martial uncle is really very angry. Tell me, what should we do?”
Long Feiye’s eyes flashed with frost before he replied, “Then what does martial uncle wish to do?”
Cang Qiuzi was waiting for these very words. “You haven’t come back to the sect in ages and your master misses you. How’s this? I’ll take master’s place to test your inner cultivation levels.”
“How are you planning to test me?” Long Feiye asked.
“How about you accept three strikes from your martial uncle?” Cang Qiuzi asked earnestly.
Was that a test at all? It was simply an excuse to hurt him! But Cang Qiuzi laid out these hypocritical terms as if they were the most natural thing in the world. Long Feiye caught onto his hidden motives right away.
His martial arts couldn’t compare to Cang Qiuzi’s, but he didn’t want to offend the man, either. Still, that didn’t mean he wouldn’t dare to do just that. If he wasn’t in such a rush today, he’d fight the man outright! But the secret bird call signals were getting more and more desperate. He had to finish this quickly!
“Fine!” Long Feiye agreed without any hesitation. He sheathed his sword and clasped his hands behind his back to stand and wait.
Cang Qiuzi chuckled in amusement up until the moment he struck out. His figure flashed as his ruthless palm appeared in front of Long Feiye and hit him! Long Feiye’s figure swayed slightly, but he didn’t budge. Duanmu Yao grew alarmed as her heart ached. She almost begged martial uncle to let him off, but she held back when she thought of Han Yunxi. She was certain that martial uncle’s three strikes wouldn’t be fatal, but only leave the victim severely injured. By then, martial brother wouldn’t be able to budge an inch even if he wanted to leave.
With a sudden sound of skin hitting skin, Cang Qiuzi’s second strike hit Long Feiye from the back. The second attack was too powerful and made him spit up a mouthful of blood. But again, he stood unmoving, his face as cold as ice. A flicker of surprise shone in Cang Qiuzi’s eyes. He didn’t expect Long Feiye’s inner cultivation levels to be so substantial already. Looks like I’ll have to give it my all for the last strike if I want to keep him here!
He circled around Long Feiye until he was standing in front of the man, his gaze trailing to his chest. “Feiye, it’s been awhile since we’ve met, but you’ve improved! If your master knew, he’d be delighted.”
Long Feiye didn’t reply. Blood trickled from his lips, yet he remained unmoved or angry. It gave him an inviolable sense of respect. Cang Qiuzi only found the sight provoking. He raised both hands and viciously struck out against Long Feiye’s heart!
“Martial uncle, no!” Duanmu Yao shouted, but the two palms had already attacked!
Long Feiye was sent flying through the air until he slammed heavily against the wall. His body slumped to the ground while he spat up mouthfuls of blood amidst a quickly paling face.
An anxious Duanmu Yao ran towards him like mad. “Martial brother, are you alright?!”
But Long Feiye raised a hand before she could get any closer. “Scram!”
He pressed one hand against his heart while the other used his sword to push himself off the ground. After getting to his feet, he stood up tall and straight, his manner as unchanged as ever. “Martial Uncle Cang,” he said coldly. “May we meet again…another day!”
Cang Qiuzi was shaken by the sight. He never expected Long Feiye could rise to his feet in such a short amount of time! Although his martial arts skills were superior to Long Feiye’s, he couldn’t help but fear the other man now. The youth deserved respect! It looked like he’d have to be on guard in case the fellow came back to the sect to seek revenge one day!
Because he’d promised, Cang Qiuzi was hard-pressed to keep Long Feiye back. Duanmu Yao was angry enough to stomp her feet. She’d drag Long Feiye back herself if she could, but she didn’t have to the guts to do anything but watch him walk away.
As soon as Long Feiye emerged into the courtyard, Chu Xifeng came to meet him. He had been here for ages, but Cang Qiuzi’s disciples had kept him from going in. Long Feiye grew alarmed as soon as he saw him. “What happened? Where’s Han Yunxi?”
If it was Chu Xifeng making the birdcalls just then, then something disastrous must have occurred!
- Cang Qiuzi (苍邱子) – Cang means “dark green/blue, grey/ashen,” Qiu is “grave, mound,” and Zi is a diminutive suffix that occasionally means “child.” ↩