Chapter 148: Danger (2) [Volume 3 - The Place Where My Heart Feels At Peace]
Ye Mulan said gently, “The Zhao Family has always been an arrogant bunch. Although our two families could be considered close to each other, we are not nearly as close as the Bai Family and Zhang Family are. Zhao Junhong is one of the four young masters of Zhao and a core member of the younger generation. If we aid him during his time of need now, naturally he would feel grateful for our assistance. If we can befriend Zhao Junhong, then we will grow closer to the Zhao household too.”
Song Zining frowned and said, “But Zhao Junhong is not outstanding among the four young masters. The Zhao members of this generation with the highest chance to reach the top are Zhao Jundu and Zhao Ruoxi. Oh, there is also Zhao Yuying from the Zhao’s branch.”
Ye Mulan sighed a little helplessly and said, “Zining, Zhao Jundu, and Zhao Ruoxi almost care nothing for outsiders. Even your brother was given the cold shoulder last time. All things must be done one step at a time; Zhao Junhong is their second brother after all.”
Ye Mulan didn’t notice the flash of ridicule passing through Song Zining’s lowered eyes. A gesture of goodwill? Before one makes a gesture of goodwill to another, they must first figure out their preferences. Zhao Junhong was an arrogant man who called himself big-hearted and dignified. This was not the way to curry favor from him.
“Fine. Lead the men and take Song Ge with you.” Song Zining said with a wane look on his face, “There is a small portion of the forest map that I haven’t finished yet. This will be an opportunity to complete my work.”
Ye Mulan was surprised by this. Then, her mind spun quickly in contemplation. “This isn’t a bad outcome. If Zining led the team, then he might do something unexpected if he runs into that guy a second time, or yield if he runs into Qiqi. Song Ge is Song Zining’s personal subordinate. The aristocrats know him better they know me. His presence would be sufficient to show our standpoint.”
Once Ye Mulan was done calculating, she replied with an obedient hum of agreement and was about to head out and call someone. Suddenly, Song Zining stopped her in her tracks.
Song Zining’s eyes were as gentle and bright as spring waters. Suddenly, he pulled her strongly and caused Ye Mulan to fall into his left. Then, a warm breath enveloped her ears and neck. “Lanlan, it’s still early, don’t you think?”
Ye Mulan was extremely reluctant, but in the end, she allowed Song Zining to disrobe her.
The curtains and door of the tent folded down on their own accord, and a moan rang from inside the tent in the blink of an eye!
For whatever reason, the seventh young master was especially fierce today. Ye Mulan still tried to control her voice. However, her control slowly slipped the longer the activity lasted. In the end, she was literally screaming out her lungs. Still, the seventh young master had no plan to release her. Instead, he attacked her further and made Ye Mulan beg him for mercy. This scene repeated god knows how many times before the activity finally ended.
When Ye Mulan walked out of Song Zining’s tent, she was as white as a paper and breathing weakly. Her thighs caved after she took two steps forward, and she nearly collapsed on her feet there and then. The Song household bodyguards had spread out a long time ago and pretended that they had seen and heard nothing.
Ye Mulan took a few huge gulps of water before gritting her teeth and stood up after a moment’s rest. She said raspily, “Gather the equipment and get ready to head out!”
A Song Household bodyguard walked over and asked softly, “Miss, do you want to rest for a while longer?”
“No need! We will depart immediately!” Ye Mulan said coldly. A moment later, she took five bodyguards with her and left. She left two of the best bodyguards behind to guard the camp.
After Ye Mulan left, Song Zining slowly made his way out of the camp. His eyes were cold as he stared at the crowd running along the mountain ridge. After standing there and doing nothing for a moment, he called over the two bodyguards, set up his table and spread out his brush, ink, and paper on top of it. After a moment of pondering, an ink forest painting slowly appeared on the paper.
Song Zining appeared extraordinarily pleased with the painting he had drawn. He said softly, “Qianye, is it really you?”
Song Zining let out a sigh before he raised his brush in concentration once more. He slowly added a few brush strokes onto the paper, and soon a couple of dead leaves that looked like they would fall any second appeared in the painting. Suddenly, the painting that was supposed to depict a calm and peaceful night beneath the moon in the mountains began trembling with the spirit of cold autumn!
It was afternoon, and the sun felt delightful on one’s backs. However, the sky suddenly turned gray-white as if a fog had enveloped it.
The two bodyguards inside the camp suddenly shook and collapsed slowly on the ground. Their breathing was as steady and long as ever, looking like they were unconscious or asleep. Song Zining dragged them into the camp before calmly changing into a gray colored warriors uniform commonly seen among landowning noble households. He also wore a mantle with a facepiece that blocked the wind. Then, he walked to the edge of the camp and vanished as if he had merged into the fog that had suddenly appeared just like that.
The painting was still pressed down by the ink slab on top of the table at the center of the camp. However, the painting moved on its own despite the fact that no wind was present, and at first glance the fallen leaves inside the painting actually looked like they had come to life. They danced amidst the autumn wind, but they never fell to the ground.
The ancient secret art, Three Thousand Flying Leaves Art: “There are three thousand paths, but the mortal world forbids; hence, the gates of enlightenment exist in flying leaves and drifting flowers.”
It was said that the person who successfully cultivated this art would be able to predict the future, or obscure another’s eyes with one leaf. It had been several hundreds of years since anyone had successfully cultivated this art in the Song household.
The Yin Family’s hunting team looked as relaxed as ever. Right now, Qiqi and her bodyguards were sitting around a barbecue stand and filling the camp with the wonderful fragrance of meat. Not far away, Ji Yuanjia walked out of a forest with a bodyguard behind him and wore a slightly serious expression on his face.
When Qiqi saw his return, she passed over a large plate to him and asked in puzzlement, “What’s the occasion?”
Ji Yuanjia accepted the plate, but set it aside and said, “Miss, let’s tell Qianye to come back. If we keep this up we will really offend the Zhao household.”
“Let him play all he wants if he likes it there! The Zhao household isn’t that petty.” Qiqi cared nothing for this news at all. She continued to cut the roasted meat and delivered it one by one into her mouth, “They must have offended Qianye to make him set his eyes on them. Otherwise, there’s no way he would act the way he did, with his temperament. This is just a game, and Qianye hasn’t broken any rules. There’s nothing Zhao Junhong can do or say about this.”
Ji Yuanjia smiled bitterly, “No matter what happened in the past, the second young master of Zhao did lose half his bodyguards, so whatever retribution that is due has been repaid already. Qianye’s advantage lies on his super long range sniping. However, he would be in big trouble if he were stopped.”
Qiqi suddenly turned blank for a moment before she abruptly stood up, “I was wondering why those families had suddenly started to cross their borders. Those bloody vultures!”
At the side, a bodyguard hastily passed the latest intel on all hunting teams’ location to Ji Yuanjia. He gave it a cursory glance and said urgently, “I noticed some landowning nobles passing through our hunting zones too.” Ji Yuanjia was already feeling a vague hint of worry when he was patrolling the edges this morning. However, with his understanding of Qianye’s strength, he didn’t think that these landowning nobles would pose any threat. However, it was a different matter if the aristocratic hunting teams got involved in this.
Another bodyguard ran into the camp and whispered a few lines beside Qiqi’s ears. Qiqi’s expression changed as she gritted her teeth and uttered, “The Song household has come over too! That bitch Ye Mulan!”
Ji Yuanjia turned pale upon hearing this. It was at least a question whether the hunting teams of small aristocratic families could put down Qianye even if they did manage to cut him off. However, the Song household was not the same. Their battle strength was absolutely not something Qianye could resist against.
The more precarious the situation was, the calmer Qiqi became. She waved a hand and said, “Go gather the equipment first.” when the bodyguards had all begun to move, she pondered on the same spot for a while before saying, “Yuanjia, you and Old Xiao will lead a team each to the edge of our hunting zone. If you see anyone—whether or not they’re crossing our borders or just passing by—get them out of our sight, especially those led by the Kong Family!”
She then pointed at a bodyguard who had already gotten himself ready and said, “You will rush to the Wei Family’s hunting zone at top speed and tell this to the son of Wei!”
Finally, Qiqi said, “I will go in from the center!”
Ji Yuanjia said in shock, “Miss, are you going to go straight into the Zhao household’s hunting zone?”
“Of course I am!” the fastest path to Qianye was to pass through the Zhao household’s hunting zone. However, it was possible that she might clash directly against the Zhao household too.
“But—” Ji Yuanjia didn’t need to say anything. The bodyguards already voiced their objections before he could.
Qiqi shrugged and said, “I’m on the list. What are you guys afraid of? Besides, none of you can catch up to my speed, can you?” Every core disciple of the aristocratic families was assigned a personal expert by Duke Wei. Even if the hunting team were to split up, the observer would only follow Qiqi.
Once the arrangements were done, Qiqi carried an extraordinarily huge origin gun from inside the camp. The muzzle of the gun was big enough to fit a kid’s fist. After putting this sinisterly huge gun behind her back, she hastily ran into the forest.
On the other side of the forest, Wei Potian’s roar rang from time to time, “Faster, goddammit, what the hell are you guys dilly dallying about? If we’re too late I’ll personally break your bloody legs!”
Wei Potian ran wildly at the front of his team. Low hanging branches were broken and flowers were trampled on wherever he went. Behind him, the Wei Family bodyguards filed into a single line as they chased after his back. Some people were already starting to fall behind. There were only three personal subordinates or so who were still able to follow him closely without breaking a sweat.
Wei Potian didn’t give a shit about this, however. He simply focused on running full force to the Zhao household’s hunting zone. Right now, the Yin Family’s bodyguard was still on his way to deliver their notice, but when he made it to the Wei Family’s camp it was long since empty.
Wei Potian's head could only turn one way, and he was a simple man for most of the time. But sometimes he could be very sharp too, and in this particular occasion, the second he saw the latest intel report, he immediately let out a loud cry, jumped to his feet, and ran to the Zhao Household's hunting zone without even bothering to bring any weapons or supplies with him at all. There was only one thought that filled his mind, and that was the potential sight of Qianye's corpse if he failed to make it to his side in time!
However, since the Wei Family’s hunting zone was actually the farthest from the Zhao household’s, it felt as if the road ahead of them would never end. Suddenly, Wei Potian let out a roar of absolute frustration, and he actually threw his origin gun to the side and took off all of his heavy battle armor. He then ran forward madly while wearing only his undershirts.
Naturally, his bodyguards were shocked by this turn of events as they cried out in haste while tidying his dropped equipment, “Sire! You mustn’t be reckless!”
Wei Potian said impatiently, “I am the son of Wei. Which blind bastard would dare try to kill me?”
The bodyguards directed appealing gazes at Wei Huai, the second person whom the group seemed to seek for leadership other than Wei Potian. He was also one of the few personal subordinates who could catch up with Wei Potian while not appearing fatigued. The reserved but resolute young man could only give them a helpless smile as he followed the son of Wei closely while sending out a few simple orders for the bodyguards to split into different groups.
Qianye continued to chase after Zhao Junhong, but it had been a while since he last snatched points from him. Right now, he was also hesitating whether he should stop and leave now. After all, the Zhao household had suffered a considerable point loss for the past few days, and it seemed pointless to keep the charade up any longer. Moreover, he couldn’t shake off a discomforting premonition that seemed to hang over his head for no particular reason.
Qianye cast a deep glance at Zhao Junhong from afar before turning around and leaving.
Zhao Junhong watched Qianye pass through a field or purple flowers and vanish into the sparse forest from the mountain ridge. He said indifferently, “He’s a crafty one, I see. However, it is probably too late now!”
He spoke to a bodyguard beside him, “Follow him. You don’t need to do anything, but if that guy is about to die, bring him back to me. I want him alive, do you understand?”
“Relax, young master.” the bodyguard let out a sinister, wolfish smile and chased after Qianye.
It was at this moment a bodyguard ran over from the foot of the mountain and whispered a few lines into Zhao Junhong’s ears.
For the first time, Zhao Junhong wore a look of surprise on his face. “The Song household?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter