Sun Yan managed to attack Zhuo Yifeng while under the effect of invisibility. Then, Yun Ruoyan saw her image suddenly appear and disappear not far from Zhuo Yifeng, as though she planned on sneaking up on him once more.
“Zhuo Yifeng, be careful!” Yun Ruoyan tossed a fireball in the direction of the image, thwarting Sun Yan’s sneak attack. She next appeared quite a distance away from the trio, a short knife in her hand with Zhuo Yifeng’s blood still dripping off of it.
She stared at Yun Ruoyan with her small, beady eyes. “I’m here to take Zhuo Yifeng’s life in revenge for my senior. I suggest neither of you interfere.”
“Revenge? It just so happens that I also have a debt to settle with you!" Guan Ruliu replied icily.
“It won’t be so easy to kill us three!” Yun Ruoyan added.
“In that case, I’ll just kill all of you,” Sun Yan exclaimed vehemently. “Then, my senior won’t be lonely in death!”
She vanished once again, preparing to strike. This time, she focused on Guan Ruliu, drawing an extremely deep wound on the back of her palm.
Zhuo Yifeng immediately released a patch of sharp pine needles in Guan Ruliu’s vicinity, some of which hit Sun Yan and forced her to reveal herself. As she did so, Yun Ruoyan lobbed a gigantic fireball at her.
Because Sun Yan was trying to dodge Zhuo Yifeng’s scattered leaves, she was unable to avoid Yun Ruoyan’s fireball. Instead, with a beautiful, practiced hand gesture, she generated a gust of wind in her hand, which she used to deflect the fireball. Rather than hitting her head-on, it lit up several strands of her hair.
“You’re asking for death!” Sun Yan’s eyes gleamed red, her murderous intent clearly visible.
“Senior Brother Guan.” Just then, Rong Yueshan, who had been intently watching the drama unfold, walked to Guan Tianyu’s side and murmured, “Let’s take this opportunity to…” She made a slashing gesture by her neck, causing Guan Tianyu to stare blankly at her for a moment.
Although he didn’t like Yun Ruoyan and Zhuo Yifeng, he had only wanted to give them a harsh punishment, not to take their lives. As a bystander, however, he wouldn’t mind watching someone else kill them.
“Let’s wait a little longer. Sun Yan’s particularly strong, and I don’t think we’ll need to step up.”
Yi Qianying could sense Guan Tianyu’s hesitation. “Senior Brother Guan, the three of them clearly suspect that we were the ones who set up Guan Ruliu. If we allow them to report the incident to the first elder, it’ll be a troublesome affair for us even if they don’t have solid proof. Why not get rid of them now and prevent the trouble entirely?”
Yi Qianying’s words struck at the core of Guan Tianyu’s worries. “Alright. If Sun Yan can’t kill them, we’ll make a move then,” he decided.
Sun Yan sheathed her dagger and took out a gleaming silver blade. In the blink of an eye, she vanished once more.
“She’s about to use a lethal technique! Everyone, be careful!” Guan Ruliu exclaimed.
Yun Ruoyan held her dagger in one hand and infused spiritual energy into the other, ready to toss out a fireball on a moment’s notice. As Zhuo Yifeng pulled his bow taut, he continuously infused spiritual energy into his tiger-canine arrows.
Guan Ruliu was currently only at the level of a fifth-rank blademaster, and was the weakest of the three. It was very likely that Sun Yan would target her. As a result, Yun Ruoyan and Zhuo Yifeng focused much of their attention to protecting her.
They remained on high alert for quite a few minutes, but Sun Yan ultimately didn’t attack. Instead, Yun Ruoyan and Zhuo Yifeng’s intense concentration left them quite fatigued. Despite the fact that it was a relatively cool day, sweat was visibly beading on their foreheads.
“We can’t keep going like this,” Yun Ruoyan murmured.
“Do you have any suggestions?” Guan Ruliu asked.
Yun Ruoyan quickly devised a plan. “Yes, but you’ll have to be bait, Senior Sister Guan…”
As Sun Yan continued to hide in stealth, she looked for an opportunity to attack the trio. Although none of their cultivations were as advanced as hers, they were each quite difficult to deal with. If she wanted to kill all three of them, she would have to wait until she could find an opportunity. However, they worked together so well that such opportunities were few and far between.
Just as Sun Yan was feeling anxious, she saw a gap in their defenses: Guan Ruliu, who was being shielded by Yun Ruoyan and Zhuo Yifeng, seemed to have become so anxious that she had accidentally exposed half her body.
Sun Yan stepped forward without hesitation, raising the sword in her hand and sweeping it at Guan Ruliu’s exposed body.
By this time, Yun Ruoyan had exuded her mental energy as far as she could. Although she wasn’t able to pinpoint Sun Yan’s exact location, she caught a flash of light reflecting off of Sun Yan’s silver sword. In the direction of the light, she immediately tossed out her spiritsteel dagger and a fireball.
Sun Yan blocked the dagger with her silver sword, then used her wind arts to deflect the fireball. What she didn’t see was an arrow infused with spiritual energy that shot through the fireball and into her chest.
She staggered, vomited a mouthful of blood, and looked disbelievingly at the arrow penetrating her flesh. Then, she slowly fell to the ground and died.
“They… they actually killed Senior Sister Sun!” Yi Qianying exclaimed.
Guan Tianyu was equally surprised by the surprise attack. Sun Yan was equally advanced a cultivator as he was, but her cultivation veered toward stealth rather than direct confrontation. Even when he challenged her, he had never won.
His grandfather, the second elder himself, had praised Sun Yan as a marvellous assassin. She and Song Yi had been an undefeated team in the northern college; even academy-wide, she was considered one of the top students among the five colleges. That was why the second elder had sent them to guard Guan Tianyu.
Unexpectedly, both of them had died to Zhuo Yifeng.
“Senior Brother Guan, what are you waiting for? We need to get them now!” Rong Yueshan shouted anxiously.
Despite having lost her best opportunity to kill Yun Ruoyan, she didn’t make the first move—before entering the training, Rong Tianhai had told her that the elders were paying very close attention to this training, so no matter how much she wanted to kill Yun Ruoyan, she couldn’t do so openly. Otherwise, the second elder himself would punish her.
If she really wanted to strike, she would have to do so secretly—or to incite Guan Tianyu into attacking her instead. As the only living descendant of the second elder, Guan Tianyu wouldn’t be punished by the second elder no matter what he did. As a result, even his accomplices would get off easily.
“Senior Brother Guan, let’s attack!” Pei Ziao and Yi Qianying also shouted.
“Alright! Attack!” As the leader of their team, Guan Tianyu certainly couldn’t back down. With his shout, Rong Yueshan, Yi Qianying, and Pei Ziao immediately brandished their weapons and began rushing toward Yun Ruoyan, Zhuo Yifeng, and Guan Ruliu.
Pei Ziao thrust his spear unerringly toward Yun Ruoyan. Her spiritsteel dagger had stuck into a faraway tree trunk during her bout with Sun Yan, and she had temporarily lost her weapon. Luckily, Yun Ruoyan reacted quickly enough to dodge the blow.
At the same time, Rong Yueshan faced off with Zhuo Yifeng, and Yi Qianying against Guan Ruliu. Zhuo Yifeng had had a slightly lower cultivation than Rong Yueshan, but his cultivation had greatly improved ever since he began to study external wood-based spiritual techniques. With his wild vine arts and scattered leaves technique, he could fight on equal footing with Rong Yueshan.
And although Guan Ruliu’s cultivation had fallen dramatically, it was more than enough to deal with Yi Qianying.
Although Pei Ziao had a weapon in his hands, Yun Ruoyan was able to use her silver bracelet to temporarily augment her cultivation, greatly increasing the strength of her fireballs and direct spiritual attacks.
“Yun Ruoyan, I’ve always tried to be kind to you, but you’ve never once appreciated my intentions! Our feud ends here!” Pei Ziao howled, his eyes red, his spear pointed straight at Yun Ruoyan.
“Speak with your actions, not your words!” Yun Ruoyan lobbed several fireballs in Pei Ziao’s directions, all of which he deftly dodged.
Then, Pei Ziao thrust his spear toward Yun Ruoyan, who bent at the waist and narrowly avoided the strike. She caught the spear by its haft, augmented her cultivation with her bracelet, and sent a pulse of spiritual energy at Pei Ziao through his spear.
Pei Ziao immediately felt a strong sensation of numbness spread through his hands, which quickly permeated his body as though he had been struck by lightning. After an intense period of cultivation, Pei Ziao had become a peak seventh-rank blademaster, just like Yun Ruoyan. However, he found that her mastery of spiritual energy seemed to be quite significantly above his.
Pei Ziao felt his spiritual energy swiftly draining away, that he wouldn’t be able to hold out against Yun Ruoyan’s attack for much longer. If he couldn’t block this blow, then he would either be heavily injured or, worse, dead.
At the same time, Yun Ruoyan was also reaching her limits. She had expended quite a bit of spiritual energy during her battle with Sun Yan, and was only able to augment her spiritual energy to early eighth-rank—not enough to fully overpower Pei Ziao.
“Senior Brother Guan, help!” Pei Ziao croaked, calling out to Guan Tianyu. Whereas he, Rong Yueshan, and Yi Qianying had begun attacking the trio, Guan Tianyu had simply stood by the side. Rong Yueshan and Yi Qianying were both involved in their own battles against Zhuo Yifeng and Guan Ruliu, and neither of them could spare any attention for him.
Guan Tianyu had developed a bossy, domineering personality under the second elder’s pampering, but once he left his protection, he would become particularly careful. Now that all three members of Yun Ruoyan’s group were involved in their own battles, he had an opportunity to strike without being struck back.
He took out his own weapon, a large broadsword, and walked up to Yun Ruoyan’s front. “You brat, I didn’t want to kill you, but you’ve offended too many people and found out too much!”
Guan Tianyu raised the broadsword in his hands and brought it down over Yun Ruoyan’s head...Previous Chapter Next Chapter