Chapter 362: Friends, Not Enemies

As Zhuo Yifeng, Lin Qingxue, and Yun Ruoyan rolled down the steep hillside, lightning struck a boulder and caused a rockslide, one which enveloped their bodies and buried them in mud.

Pi Yan and Feng Bo each scoured the land that had turned cracked and arid under the lightning storm for the entire night, but they never found Yun Ruoyan. Thinking that she had been blown apart by the lightning, they finally gave up and left.

The moment they did so, it began to rain. The water washed away the mud and rocks, allowing Yun Ruoyan, Zhuo Yifeng, and Lin Qingxue to surface once more. Zhuo Yifeng gasped for breath as he emerged from the mud, then began to check on Yun Ruoyan and Lin Qingxue. Just like before, Yun Ruoyan’s eyes were still open, and she didn’t react even when rain fell into her open eyes. On the other hand, Lin Qingxue’s face was blue from asphyxiation, and it took a bout of spiritual energy from Zhuo Yifeng to revive her.

Zhuo Yifeng stood up and was just about to pull Lin Qingxue up when a distant rumble made him jerk up in shock. Countless boulders were rolling down the steep slope. Zhuo Yifeng didn’t have time to drag Yun Ruoyan and Lin Qingxue away; instead, he shielded them both with his back…

The next morning, four carriages passed by the ravaged land. The ground was charred and scorched, as though there had been a big fire—but there had been a downpour just last night! Where could such a fire have come from?

“Madam Hong, there must have been a duel between experts here last night,” A Fei said, her horse riding by the side of Madam Hong’s carriage. Madam Hong drew the carriage’s curtains and glanced around her, motioning for the carriage to stop.

Madam Hong stepped down from the carriage, picked up a sprinkling of earth, then let it fall from her fingers. “It’s an advanced variant of a lightning-summoning technique, only usable by fifth-rank sword saints.”

“Could it be the head of the Pi family, Pi Yan?” A Fei murmured.

“Except for him, I don’t know of anyone else on the Mingyuan continent who could use such a technique,” Madam Hong replied, stepping back into her carriage.

“Wait, wait! There are people buried here!” Xiao Qing suddenly shouted.

When Zhuo Yifeng awoke, he found himself lying in a strange room. His head had been bandaged by a roll of gauze: a boulder had struck his head and knocked him unconscious.

“You’re awake?” The moment Zhuo Yifeng tried to get off the bed, Xiao Qing walked in.

“Who are you? Where am I? What happened to my colleagues?” Zhuo Yifeng stared at Xiao Qing warily.

Xiao Qing frowned. Despite her loquacious nature, her words were clipped and terse. “Follow me.”

Zhuo Yifeng left his room to find themselves in an inn. The woman he’d just seen had likely saved him, Lin Qingchen, and Yun Ruoyan, but he couldn’t help being wary of her. 

Xiao Qing brought Zhuo Yifeng into another room, where two unfamiliar women were seated. Two prone females lay in bed: Yun Ruoyan and Lin Qingxue.

“Ruoyan, Qingxue!” Zhuo Yifeng rushed forward to check on both of them. Just like him, Lin Qingxue had a bandaged head. There were traces of blood on the bandage, but her breathing was even. Though she hadn’t yet woken up, she wasn’t in life-threatening danger.

Yun Ruoyan’s face, head, and body were full of blood, but, surprisingly, there was no open wound on her body. More curiously, she was still staring straight up unblinkingly.

“Who are these females to you? Which one’s Qingxue, and which one’s Ruoyan?” Madam Hong asked.

“Who are you?” Zhuo Yifeng countered, glancing at Madam Hong.

“We’re your saviors,” Xiao Qing replied angrily. She turned to Madam Hong. “Madam Hong, that little rabbit’s Yun Ruoyan, so the girl beside her must be Qingxue.”

“How do you know this?” A Fei raised an eyebrow.

“The little rabbit told me her name before, but I didn’t pay it much attention,” Xiao Qing replied, somewhat angrily. “I thought she was just a regular child, but clearly…”

When Yun Ruoyan had suddenly gone missing, Xiao Qing was the one who was most worried for her. She had scoured the Pi city for a few days before finally giving up and leaving with the rest of the troupe.

It was from Xiao Qing that Zhuo Yifeng learned about Yun Ruoyan’s short stay in the courtesan troupe. Only then did he finally relax, but he still didn’t divulge their identities to the women. Who knew whether they would report them to the Pi family out of greed?

Madam Hong and the others stopped asking him questions and instead waited for Yun Ruoyan to wake up.

When they returned to the Pi city, Pi Batian told Pi Yan about the curious phenomenon he had observed on Yun Ruoyan’s body right before he was about to kill her. “Father, what sort of technique could that be? Scales appeared on her wounds and instantly healed her!”

Pi Yan frowned, deep in thought. After moments of silence, he suddenly stood up from his seat and rushed off into his chambers, leaving the bewildered Pi Batian behind. He entered his secret chamber and sat in front of an ancient mirror, the same one which had trapped the cultivators from the lower realms in a beam of light.

Pi Yan waved his hand over the surface of the mirror, and it began to ripple. When the ripples cleared, a hooded, silver-robed shadow appeared in front of it.

“What’s the matter?” he asked.

“Elder,” Pi Yan began respectfully. “Last night, I encountered a girl who was able to recover from her wounds near-instantaneously. Scales appeared over her wounds, so I suspect she possesses the bloodline of the demonic dragons. When I captured Long Yin years ago, his wife managed to escape to safety. She was pregnant at the time, and I suspect that the girl is Long Yin’s daughter.”

“Where is she?” the elder of the silver dragon clan asked.

“I killed her!” Pi Yan exclaimed. “Last night, I summoned a field of lightning that annihilated all that stood within.”

“If she truly is Long Yin’s child, your lightning field wouldn’t have been able to kill her,” the elder replied. “Find her and bring her to me.”

It was noon on the third day when Yun Ruoyan finally closed her eyes. She went straight into meditation, and, with the help of the sage-grade spirit crystal, broke through to the peak of ninth rank after two whole days and nights.

Zhuo Yifeng and Lin Qingxue guarded her during the entire process, not letting any of the women step closer to her.

“Who on earth is this little rabbit?! Despite being so badly hurt, she was able to recover all on her own, then dive straight back into cultivation the moment she regained consciousness!” A Fei exclaimed, a look of disbelief on her face.

“A friend, not an enemy. That’s sufficient,” Madam Hong replied.

Yun Ruoyan finally opened her eyes, two streaks of red flashing by her pupils.

“Sister Ruoyan, are you awake now?” Lin Qingxue looked at her in worry.

“Yes, I am.”

“Sister Ruoyan, you’re finally conscious now! You scared me half to death!” Lin Qingxue was almost weeping in joy.

Zhuo Yifeng hurried to her bedside. When he saw Yun Ruoyan’s spirited eyes, his serious expression finally gave way to a smile. “Are you hungry?”

Yun Ruoyan shook her head. As a peak ninth-rank blademaster, she no longer had to consume food, and could take in spiritual energy as nourishment. From now on, she would no longer be beholden to her unusual hunger.

“Qingxue, please call Madam Hong, A Fei, and Xiao Qing over. Tell them I’m awake and have something that I need to inform them.”

The three women quickly gathered by Yun Ruoyan’s room.

“Are you feeling better?” Madam Hong asked Yun Ruoyan politely.

“I’ve recovered completely,” Yun Ruoyan replied. “My gratitude for saving me twice over, Madam Hong.” She turned to Xiao Qing. “Sister Qing, I’m sorry for leaving all of a sudden. I didn’t mean to deceive you about my true identity, but I had to protect myself.”

Xiao Qing sighed. The deception had left her furious, but that anger had slowly dissipated over the course of the last few days. “I took you in and treated you like a true sister, so would you at least reveal your true identity to me?”

“We’re actually—” Yun Ruoyan replied without any hesitation, but Zhuo Yifeng broke her off.

“Ruoyan, no!”

“Don’t worry.” Yun Ruoyan turned to Zhuo Yifeng. “These three women are my saviors and trusted sisters.” Then, she told the three women about how she, Lin Qingchen, and Zhuo Yifeng had arrived at the Mingyuan continent from a lower realm.

“You’re all slaves from the Pi family?” Xiao Qing asked in shock.

“That’s what they want to think! It’s not as if we sold ourselves off to them,” Lin Qingxue replied, crossing her arms.

“Exactly!” A Fei slapped the table. “Why should you have to become their slaves just because you can’t beat them in a fight? That’s ridiculous!”

It was Yun Ruoyan’s turn to stare at A Fei in shock, because all the natives on the Mingyuan continent that they had encountered had thought themselves better than any of the cultivators from the lower realms.

“Don’t be so shocked,” A Fei replied. “The cruelty of the Pi family isn’t restricted to you cultivators, but also to the minor families on the Mingyuan continent that refuse to accept their rule.” A Fei’s expression was visibly indignant and hateful.

“Sister Fei, have you had a run-in with the Pi family as well?”

“A run-in?” Madam Hong interrupted. “They’ve killed all our kin!”

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