Chapter 373: Pi Yang’s Heart

The prisoners’ wagon was sent straight to the inn where the Pi delegation was staying. Pi Batian had a complicated expression on his face upon seeing the three women that had been purchased with ten thousand spirit crystals. He felt as though he had made a bad mistake, but one that he had been forced to make. The three women, like three flies, buzzed around his throat, refusing to be spat out or swallowed.

“My thanks for your help, Young Master, for saving my three colleagues,” Li Mo replied respectfully. “We’ll all serve the Pi family loyally.”

Pi Batian nodded, pleased that Li Mo finally seemed to be submitting to him. “As I’ve said, you can repay the Pi family with your performance in three days’ time.”

“Naturally, Young Master. You’ve seen what Feng Yicheng is like, and I’m perfectly confident I’ll be able to beat him.”

“After all, the Feng family did come from a lower realm.” Pi Batian recalled Feng Yicheng’s arrogant disposition and began to sneer. “It’s only natural that they’d become overconfident after having a taste of victory. It’s time for the Pi family to teach them a lesson.”

Avoiding the three women who had cost the Pi family a fortune, he turned and headed for his rooms.

Because of Li Mo’s assistance, Guan Ruliu and the two other women received excellent care after they were assigned to one of the rooms in the inn. Their wounds weren’t particularly heavy, but they had been inflicted with a paralytic poison that would take some time to wash out of their system.

Guan Ruliu woke up the next night to find Li Mo and Yun Ruoyan by her side.

“Ruoyan, Master Mo!” Guan Ruliu was so agitated upon seeing the two of them that she tried to sit up, but because of the paralytic poison still in her body, she didn’t even have the strength to prop herself up. Yun Ruoyan hurriedly helped her up.

“Senior Sister Guan, what happened to Senior Brother Zong Yang…?” As soon as Yun Ruoyan asked that question, she saw two tracks of tears fall from Guan Ruliu’s eyes. Apparently, she and Zong Yang had been caught by the Lie family. Zong Yang was insensate and uncontrollable from the poison. He had somehow managed to bite and hurt the young miss of the Lie family, Lie Yun, and had been killed by the Lie swordsmen on the spot.

Neither Yun Ruoyan nor Li Mo knew of this at all, but Yun Ruoyan did remember Lie Yun, the girl who had been with Pi Yang when they had first entered the Beast Spirit Valley.

After Zong Yang’s death, Guan Ruliu and about a dozen other students from the academy were all enslaved by the Lie family, including Rong Yueshan, who had betrayed Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo. On the way to the Lie city, they had tried to escape. Rong Yueshan, who had been part of the escape, betrayed them too. Of the dozen or so students from Kongming Academy, only Guan Ruliu and her two junior sisters managed to escape.

They fled into a wild forest, where they survived by foraging and hunting for almost two whole months. In the end, they were caught by a group of swordsmen who had entered the forest to hunt, and were then sold to Peak Darkness.

This was what had happened to Guan Ruliu in the intervening three months since their separation.

“Where’s Rong Yueshan?” Yun Ruoyan asked.

“She’s certainly still with the Lie family. After she foiled our escape, who knows what sort of rewards the Lie family has given her?” Guan Ruliu exclaimed bitterly.

“Rong Yueshan’s a menace. She’ll only bring us more and more trouble, and it’s better if we can excise her as soon as possible.” Yun Ruoyan’s face was calm, but her words overflowed with killing intent.

“I’ll kill her myself if I get the chance!” Guan Ruliu had seen her friends and peers surrounded and slaughtered while Rong Yueshan stood with the swordsmen of the Lie family. Whenever she was reminded of the sight, she couldn’t help wanting to tear Rong Yueshan apart with her bare hands.

“Senior Sister Guan, don’t worry. We’ll certainly find an opportunity to do so,” Yun Ruoyan consoled her. “You need to rest well and take care of your two junior sisters for the moment.”

Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo left Guan Ruliu’s room and were heading back to Li Mo’s room when someone suddenly called out from behind, “Mute woman!”

Yun Ruoyan turned around to see a youth staring at her with a brilliant smile on her face. The youth was fit and toned, with fine brows and clear eyes. His red hair was eye-catching and short-cropped. The second young master of the Pi family, Pi Yang, quickly walked up to Yun Ruoyan. “Mute woman, long time no see!”

Yun Ruoyan frowned and nodded.

“As for you…” Pi Yang turned to Li Mo and waved dismissively at him. “I have something I need to talk to the mute woman about, so go do whatever you’re supposed to instead.”

Li Mo turned back and glanced at Pi Yang. Although his body wasn’t as muscular as some of the Pi swordsmen, he was tall and sturdy, and an entire head taller than Pi Yang, whose youthful features were accentuated in comparison to Li Mo.

Pi Yang frowned and met Li Mo’s gaze, and Yun Ruoyan thought she could hear the crackling of lightning where their gazes met. Before anyone could say anything else, she croaked, “Master Mo, please.”

Li Mo looked toward her, and Yun Ruoyan nodded almost imperceptibly. Only then did Li Mo finally turn around and leave.

“This man’s really strange.” Pi Yang glanced askance at Li Mo’s back. “You’re here to oversee him, aren’t you? Shouldn’t he hate you? Why does it feel like he can’t bear to leave you alone?”

“Second Young Master, you must be joking. He’s sick of me being around him all day, and I suspect his adverse reaction was because he thinks we’re plotting against him,” Yun Ruoyan replied coolly.

“I don’t see what other reason there could be.” Pi Yang’s suspicions seemed completely allayed.

“Second Young Master, weren’t you supposed to remain behind in the Pi manor? Why are you here now?” Yun Ruoyan changed the subject.

“Tomorrow’s the seven cities’ tournament, and Father allowed me to come watch. It’s not daily that we get to see such cultivators fight, after all.”

Yun Ruoyan nodded and didn’t speak in response. Given Pi Yang’s casual tone and mannerisms, she suspected that he treated the mute woman like a friend, rather than a servant.

“That, mute woman…” Pi Yang scratched his head and asked somewhat unnaturally, “Did you have any luck tracking down Yun Ruoyan?”

Yun Ruoyan glanced at him in surprise. Had he tasked the mute woman with independently trying to find Yun Ruoyan? For what purpose?

Pi Yang was a little younger than even Yun Ruoyan. Her mental age was well past her thirties, and he seemed like nothing more than a kid to her. Although they were members of opposing factions, Pi Yang hadn’t truly hurt her directly, so she couldn’t summon up the same sort of loathing against him as she would his brother or father.

“No, I’ve found nothing,” Yun Ruoyan replied, without inflection.

Pi Yang sighed. “Mute woman, I just wanted to help her. The Mingyuan continent’s dangerous for lower-realm cultivators, so that’s why I wanted to offer some backing for her and that dark robe fellow who’s with her. That dark robe might have offended the Pi family, but with his cultivation, he’s certainly still useful. As for Yun Ruoyan, she wouldn’t have had anything to worry about with my protection. But now that things have come to this… I shouldn’t have called attention to them at all.” 

Pi Yang sighed and looked out the window. “I wonder how she’s doing now, all alone? That black robe doesn’t seem worried for her at all—and to think he’s supposed to be her husband!” Pi Yang turned back to Yun Ruoyan. “Mute woman, why do you think such a beautiful girl like Yun Ruoyan’s interested in such a cold man? Shouldn’t she try to find someone as cute and caring as I am?”

Yun Ruoyan suddenly began to cough, breaking Pi Yang off. She hadn’t expected that Pi Yang would become interested in her, and was very shocked by the sudden confession.

However, Pi Yang merely thought that there was something wrong with the mute woman’s throat. “Mute woman, are you alright? Is your throat feeling uncomfortable again?”

Yun Ruoyan nodded and pulled up the veil on her face, until it covered up even the bridge of her nose.

“Cultivating the shadow arts requires a large amount of corpse aura, in such quantities that it damages one’s appearance and throat. According to my brother, you’ll eventually turn into an existence that’s halfway between a human and a ghoul, trapped at the boundary of life and death.” Pi Yang’s voice dripped with concern. “I’ve never had a friend beside you. I’ve asked you repeatedly to give up this technique, and you’ve refused me just as many times, but I’m asking you again: as long as you’re willing to give it up, I’ll plead for mercy from my father.”

“No, there’s no need,” Yun Ruoyan immediately said. “I’m doing well enough—ahem, ahem!—and there’s no need to keep looking for Yun Ruoyan.”

“Why not?” Pi Yang opened his eyes wide. “Weren’t you supportive of me in the past? You told me that I had to bravely pursue who I love!”

“I’m sure she wouldn’t want to see you after all your meddling. Furthermore, given that both Lord Pi and Young Master Pi are trying to capture her, what do you plan on doing even if you do find her?” Yun Ruoyan looked away, avoiding Pi Yang’s gaze. “Second Young Master, if there’s nothing else, I’ll be leaving now.”

Yun Ruoyan turned and left, leaving Pi Yang alone in the corridor, clutching a railing as he looked dazedly at the sky.

“I heard you bought three women from the Chenyuan continent for ten thousand spirit crystals last night,” Pi Yan commented to Pi Batian, whom he had summoned for an audience in his rooms.

Rumors and gossip flowed easily in Peak Darkness. Given the magnitude of what had happened last night, even the lowliest street rat had heard about the affair the next morning...

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