Feng Bo’s quiet words left everyone’s hearts heavy. Having been the main target of the Pi family, Yun Ruoyan was familiar with what power they possessed. Even without any time for preparations, they were able to gather hundreds of swordsmen in little more than a quarter of an hour. Given enough time to prepare, it was likely that the Pis could supply thousands, even tens of thousands of swordsmen. With the Lie, Wu, and Chen families to support them, their offensive capabilities would be immense.
“If we do end up fighting with the Pis, we won’t have a good chance at victory,” Feng Yanyang affirmed. “But a fight was inevitable, given the disagreements between the Pi and Feng families. The three of you were only the sparks that ignited the conflict.”
Feng Yanyang’s plan was for Yun Ruoyan and the others to find safe shelter somewhere on the Mingyuan continent, then to return to the Chenyuan continent once it was time for the portal to open again.
“No, we can’t!” Lin Qingxue was the first to oppose the plan. “We might be from a lower-grade continent, but we’re not cowards who would flee just because the opponent’s stronger.”
“Sister Qingxue’s right,” Yun Ruoyan added. “No matter what, we played a role in the conflict between the Fengs and the Pis, and I myself have a grudge to settle with them. We have to participate in this battle.”
“And if we lose?” Feng Yanyang eyed Yun Ruoyan.
“I’ve experienced countless failures and moments of despair in my life, but beyond every patch of darkness lies a beacon of shining light. Even if we’re in dire straits, I firmly believe that we’ll eventually find a way out. As long as we have a fighting chance, I won’t give up.”
Yun Ruoyan felt a warmth against her hand: Li Mo had clasped it in his. “My wife and I will face any challenge together.”
“We as well,” Lin Tianming added. “We’re a family, so we have to stick together no matter what.”
“Brat, let’s find a place to hide. Once my cultivation’s back to its former glory, we’ll raze everything to the ground!” the malicious voice cackled, but Zhuo Yifeng only looked up and said calmly, “Count me in. We came to the Chenyuan continent together, and we’ll be leaving together as well.”
Feng Yanyang’s gaze swept over the gathered crowd. “In that case, the Feng family will definitely do its very best to prepare for this battle.”
Just then, Feng Bo rushed back to the manor.
“Uncle, did you beat up those Pi swordsmen easily?” Feng Yicheng grinned.
“The swordsmen were greatly weakened after the fight and the chase, so I did dispatch of them with ease,” Feng Bo replied, bowing to Feng Yanyang.
After the meeting was over and everyone dispersed, Feng Bo and Feng Yicheng stayed in the manor to have drinks with Li Mo and the others.
“May I ask how much stronger the Pis are compared to the Fengs? Don’t we even have a slim chance of victory?” Yun Ruoyan asked, pouring Feng Bo a cup of wine.
“The difference in our families’ strength used to be even wider, and that’s what everyone still thinks,” Feng Bo replied.
“What they think?” Yun Ruoyan leaned closer. “Is the Feng family hiding some forces in reserve?”
“Absolutely.” Feng Bo put down his cup, and Yun Ruoyan immediately refilled it. “Three years ago, when the Feng family obtained jurisdiction over Peak Darkness, we obtained quite a few sage-grade spirit crystals from the spirit crystal veins in the area. Using these crystals, we were able to train a few hundred swordsmen at the realm of sword saints. These forces remain a well-kept secret, and we’ve never revealed their existence to outsiders. Since all of you are working with us, however, we won’t hide this from you.”
“We have secret troops?” Feng Yicheng widened his eyes almost comically. “No one told me!”
“You haven’t been with the Fengs for very long, and I hadn’t had the opportunity to tell you,” Feng Bo replied, waving a hand.
Feng Yicheng made a face, then gulped down three cups of wine in a row. “In that case, aren’t we guaranteed victory?”
“The Pi family has been in control of Peak Darkness for so long that they’ve surely amassed considerable wealth of their own. We were able to cultivate a secret troop, but who’s to say that they don’t have a troop like this of their own? Furthermore,” Feng Bo continued, “it’s not just the Fengs and Pis fighting. If our forces are evenly matched with the Pis, then allies would be of particular importance.”
Yun Ruoyan and the others knew that the Pis had three families as allies, whereas the Fengs only had one. The final of the seven families had decided to stay neutral, at least for the moment.
“Yicheng, why weren’t you successful in bringing the Lie family to our side?” Feng Bo asked.
Feng Yicheng sighed. “I never had an opportunity to see Lord Lie at all. I’d thought that Lie Sen would have some authority of his own, but he’s just a puppet! Everything still remains in his father’s control.”
Every night, Lie Fenglan would infuse spiritual energy into his eldest daughter, still at death’s door, to prolong her life. In the day, however, he was still responsible for the governance of his city. He would only hand Lie Sen power if there were a task that required his being gone for an extended period of time. When he heard that Feng Yicheng had arrived at the Lie city to try to persuade the Lies to ally with the Fengs, he chose to ignore Feng Yicheng altogether.
“However, I heard Lie Sen mention that his father was at the brink of exhaustion. Working day and night like this… there’s no way he can last for an extended period of time. He told me not to worry about his father, that he’d ally with us Fengs as soon as he takes charge of the family.”
“Brother Feng,” Li Mo began. “This Lie Sen doesn’t sound like a reliable person at all, and even if they do ally with the Fengs, I wouldn’t trust him with my life.”
However, Yun Ruoyan visibly brightened up. “Do you know how Miss Lie’s doing now?”
“According to Lie Sen, she’s been kept in seclusion ever after she contracted the corpse poison. After expending countless spiritual herbs and pills, she’s no longer beset by flights of lunacy, but the poison’s still slowly corroding her body. That’s why Lie Fenglan has to infuse great deals of spiritual energy into her body daily in order to seal the poison off from the rest of her body.”
“In that case, it looks like we’ll be able to pull the Lie family to our side.” Yun Ruoyan smiled.
“Ah?” Feng Yicheng widened his eyes. “Miss Yun, what’s your plan?”
Yun Ruoyan turned to Zhuo Yifeng, as did the rest of the gathered guests. Zhuo Yifeng blinked at the gazes directed his way.
“We’ll use that!” Yun Ruoyan pointed at Zhuo Yifeng’s chest. Zhuo Yifeng frowned, then revealed a black bottle—Yun Ruoyan’s shade, which Zhuo Yifeng had taken back from Master Shade. He hadn’t had a chance to return it to Yun Ruoyan after seizing it, but Yun Ruoyan could sense the shade’s aura.
“With that shade, I’m confident that we’ll be able to bring the Lie family to our side.” Yun Ruoyan took the bottle that Zhuo Yifeng handed her.
Yun Ruoyan’s proposal to head to the Lie family to win them over was quickly approved by Feng Yanyang. After resting in her manor for a few days, she and Li Mo then headed to the Lie city.
This time, however, Zhuo Yifeng didn’t request to tag along. Ever since Zhuo Yifeng had made his feelings clear to Lin Qingxue, their relationship had been rather unusual. Yun Ruoyan’s initial plan was to bring her with them to the Lie city so as to split them up, but when she suddenly thought of how Zhuo Yifeng had confessed to Lin Qingxue that he was interested in Yun Ruoyan, she then thought that doing so wouldn’t be appropriate, either. Not used to dealing with such problems, Yun Ruoyan was at a loss as to what to do.
“What’s the matter, Yan’er? Can’t you sleep?” Li Mo noticed her tossing and turning.
“No, I can’t.”
“Is something on your mind?”
Yun Ruoyan wanted to reveal the truth, but she found that she couldn’t tell Li Mo that Zhuo Yifeng liked her.
Li Mo glanced at the woman by his side, hemming and hawing as though she wanted to say something but was unable to do so, and couldn’t help hiding a laugh. Ever since they had gotten married, it felt as though Yun Ruoyan was far more willing to expose her true self to him. Who else would be able to see her act so indecisively?
Li Mo reached out and held Yun Ruoyan’s petite body close to his own. “Since you can’t say it, why don’t you let me have a guess?”
“A guess?” Yun Ruoyan raised her head and glanced at Li Mo. “You can certainly try, but I doubt you’ll be able to guess what I’m worried about.”
“Whether or not I’m right, you’ll soon find out. Is it something to do with feelings?”
Yun Ruoyan frowned. “Continue.”
“You’re already my wife, and there’s nothing wrong with our relationship. Thus, you have to be concerned about someone else’s feelings.”
“Yes…” Yun Ruoyan continued, but then quickly shook her head. “...but also not.” Since Zhuo Yifeng liked her, it was something that involved her as well.
“Alright, then.” Li Mo flipped them over, covering her body with his own. He glanced down at her, her image reflected his eyes. “You’re worried about Zhuo Yifeng and Lin Qingxue. Lin Qingxue likes Zhuo Yifeng, but Zhuo Yifeng likes you. You want to help them resolve their dilemma. You don’t want to see either of them hurt, but given that the person Zhuo Yifeng likes is you, there’s nothing you feel like you can do.”
Yun Ruoyan’s eyes widened. “You… really guessed it right?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter