Clearly unwilling to answer Housekeeper Hu’s question, Pi Yang instead changed the subject. “Why did my brother ask for you in the afternoon?” The swordsman who had come in search of him was one of his brother’s personal guards, whom Pi Yang obviously recognized.
Housekeeper Hu told Pi Yang what Pi Batian had had him do. Furthermore, he had used his deductive abilities to hypothesize about Pi Yan and Pi Batian’s plans. “The young master had me prepare a number of carriages, ones which are specially designated for trade to and from the Feng city. Right now, he’s picking out a retinue of swordsmen, so I’m guessing he’s going to head to the Feng city disguised as a merchant.”
When Housekeeper Hu noted the interest on Pi Yang’s face, he quickly continued, “The swordsmen that the young master’s picking out are all talented fighters, so it seems as though he’s trying to catch someone.”
“How do you know that he’s intending on capturing someone?” Pi Yang asked.
Housekeeper Hu smiled. “The swordsmen of this manor are all relatively specialized: some at tracking, some at sneak attacks, some at assassination, and some at fair duels. Over the years, I’ve figured out the patterns behind what men the master and young master assign to specific missions. This time, the swordsmen participating in the mission are skilled in either tracking or sneak attacks, but none for assassination. Thus, it’s very likely that they’re trying to capture someone alive.”
“Capture someone… alive?!” Pi Yang almost jumped up in shock. After all, it wasn’t difficult for him to guess who their target would be. Going to the Feng city and amassing such a large group of soldiers—there was no one worthy of such attention from the Pi family but Li Mo and Yun Ruoyan.
Housekeeper Hu quickly reached out and supported Pi Yang, who turned to him. “I have a task for you.”
“What’s the matter, Young Master? Your wish is my command.”
“Help me investigate whom they’re trying to capture, as well as where these targets are currently located.”
Despite the fact that this information was a closely guarded secret, Housekeeper Hu managed to do exactly that. One of Pi Batian’s personal guards had revealed the information to Housekeeper Hu after he got him drunk, and he was the only one beside Pi Yan, Pi Batian, and Master Shade to be privy to the information.
Housekeeper Hu immediately told Pi Yang about the plan. After a momentary silence, Pi Yang replied, “There’s another task I want you to help me accomplish.”
In her manor in the Feng city, Yun Ruoyan was again practicing her external spiritual techniques. After recovering from this injury, her spiritual vortex and spiritual pathways had both become stronger than ever, but perhaps because she was newly recovered, they needed to be fortified with vast amounts of spiritual energy. Despite having a sage-grade spirit crystal in her possession, the spiritual energy in Yun Ruoyan’s body hadn’t yet recovered to her pre-injury norms, and even the black spiritual energy that she had amassed had disappeared with the distension of her spiritual vortex.
The hardest thing for Yun Ruoyan to bear was not having enough spiritual energy in her spiritual vortex, which caused her to feel a sense of insecurity. As a result, over the past few days, she had been constantly condensing spiritual energy, but her conversion ratio seemed to be far worse than usual. Li Mo and Feng Bo both told her to relax: her situation was somewhat complicated, and neither of them were able to identify the specifics of her constitution, so they could only recommend patience.
Unable to bear the boredom of sitting down and doing nothing, however, Yun Ruoyan began using her limited reserve of spiritual energy to practice her external spiritual techniques. Since her reserves were lacking, she naturally wasn’t able to create much of an effect: the massive fireball she had once been able to conjure now ended up as small flares that quickly fizzed out, which was what Master Shade had seen.
Although practicing her techniques in her current condition was a rather painful experience, Yun Ruoyan grit her teeth and continued with her training. After a few days, she finally saw results. Every day, she would bottom out her reserves. She had found that doing so would increase the rate at which her body recovered spiritual energy, as well as the maximum amount she could store.
Having found a way to progress further, Yun Ruoyan threw herself into her training.
That day, after she was done cultivating, Li Mo brought her out exploring the Feng city. He had wanted to do so for quite some time, but Yun Ruoyan was so fixated on cultivation he was unable to drag her anywhere. This time, Li Mo had forced her to go with him under the pretext of getting her to relax.
“Li Mo, have you noticed that small child who’s been following us?” Yun Ruoyan snuck a peek at her back.
“Yes, and he’s been tailing us for quite some time now,” Li Mo replied. “Let’s see what he’s really up to.”
They walked hand-in-hand into a small alley, and the small beggar followed suit.
“Little boy, why are you following us?” Yun Ruoyan jumped out from the shadows, startling the child so much he almost cried out.
“I… An uncle told me to hand this to you while no one was paying attention, saying that you’ll hand me a lot of spirit crystals as a reward…”
Yun Ruoyan took the note he held in his hands, then turned to Li Mo. He pulled out a bag of spirit crystals and handed it to the child, whose eyes widened almost comically in shock. He grabbed the bag and immediately ran off, as though he were worried that Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo would renege on their words.
Li Mo turned to Yun Ruoyan and noted her gaze turning more and more severe as she stared at the note in her hands. When he read it over her shoulder, his brows also began to furrow.
“Yan’er, let’s return straight away.” Li Mo folded the note up and kept it in his robes. “I’ll need to inform Feng Yicheng and Feng Bo to discuss this matter with us.”
Li Mo and Yun Ruoyan returned to their manor. Instead of summoning Feng Bo and Feng Yicheng over, they told the Lin sisters and Lin Tianming that they would be with Feng Yicheng. Once they found him, he informed Feng Bo, Zhuo Yifeng, and Qin Feng about the gathering.
Everyone crowded into Feng Yicheng’s study. Zhuo Yifeng had gone to Yun Ruoyan’s manor daily while she remained unconscious, but ever since she recovered, he had stayed in the guards’ barracks instead. It had been quite a few days since he last saw Yun Ruoyan.
“Are you feeling better?” he asked casually.
“Much better. I can finally start using spiritual techniques again,” Yun Ruoyan replied.
“Good.” Zhuo Yifeng turned to Li Mo. “Is there something important you need to inform us about?”
“Yes. Have a look.” Li Mo unfolded the slip of paper that the street urchin had handed him. “It mentions that we’re under surveillance, which is why I arranged for everyone to meet here. Apparently, a group of cultivators are headed our way.”
“Where did you get this note?” Qin Feng asked. “Is it reliable?”
Li Mo explained the circumstances under which the child had approached them, and Yun Ruoyan added, “This note wasn’t signed, but the only ones so interested in us that they would send such a large troop to catch us would be the Pi family.”
The others all agreed.
“I’d rather take the necessary precautions against this purported kidnapping than risk the consequences,” Feng Bo replied. “I’ll immediately increase the number of guards stationed at your manor. If necessary, I’ll protect you myself. As long as you still remain in the Feng city, don’t worry about any danger that might come your way.”
“In addition, this might be a good opportunity to counterattack against these Pi forces,” Zhuo Yifeng mused. “Only if we scare them off will they know our strength.”
Feng Bo then planned a number of countermeasures against what had been revealed to them in the note, and they spent the rest of the afternoon hashing out the details. Zhuo Yifeng and Qin Feng followed Li Mo and Yun Ruoyan back to their manor, both having been assigned to guard duty. Because they knew that the manor was under surveillance, Feng Bo refrained from sending a large group of guards over so as to leave the enemy unaware that the Feng family had found out about their plans.
It had been quite a while since Lin Qingxue had seen Zhuo Yifeng, but she didn’t seem to display the same passion for him that she used to. This caused Yun Ruoyan to wonder if something had happened.
That night, Li Mo was responsible for the first night shift, and Zhuo Yifeng and Qin Feng for the second. Yun Ruoyan was unable to sleep, so she went to the courtyard to chat with Li Mo. The fall night was surprisingly cold; despite the fact that Yun Ruoyan’s body had more or less recovered from her ordeal, Li Mo still wanted to keep an eye on her.
When he saw her stepping outside in just a thin nightgown, he couldn’t help but frown.
“I told you to rest in your rooms, didn’t I?” he huffed.
Yun Ruoyan smiled and strode up to his side, then darted into his robes. “I couldn’t sleep on my own, so I wanted to see how you were doing.
While hugging her, Li Mo found himself unable to express any of his dissatisfaction.
A light cough rang out from the distance, and Li Mo and Yun Ruoyan both turned to the source of the noise. Qin Feng and Zhuo Yifeng were walking toward the courtyard, ready to take over for Li Mo. Qin Feng was the one who coughed. Smiling, he said, “Li Mo, why don’t you bring Ruoyan back inside with you? She’s just recovered, so it’s best for her not to stay out too long in this chilly air.”
“Alright, I’ll leave the second night shift to you,” Li Mo replied, then walked Yun Ruoyan back to their rooms...Previous Chapter Next Chapter