“Ignore the girl. Seize the young miss!” Lie Fenglan didn’t even bother glancing at Yun Ruoyan. The gathered swordsmen threw down their weapons and ran up to Lie Yun waving their bare fists.
Yun Ruoyan widened her eyes. Of all the swordsmen she had seen, the Lie swordsmen weren’t the most powerful, but they were certainly the most well-trained. The swordsmen lay in a heap on top of Lie Yun’s body, trying to push and hold her down with their combined weight, thinking that it would be enough to stymie her. However, under the effects of the corpse poison, Lie Yun was so strong that she knocked the swordsmen flying.
By then, however, Yun Ruoyan had already uncorked the bottle in her hands. Her shade flew out of the bottle, then coalesced into human form. Yun Ruoyan immediately made a complicated series of hand gestures in the shade’s direction as she mumbled a chant—a means of controlling the shade that she had learnt from Feng Bo before setting out on this trip. After the shade was captured by Master Shade, it no longer obeyed her commands, and only the dead Master Shade knew how to control the shade through its bottle. The chant and hand gestures she was employing now would grant her temporary control, but nothing more.
As a red formation shone in the space between Yun Ruoyan’s palms, the shade trembled in fear. “Shade, suck away the corpse poison on Lie Yun’s body!” Yun Ruoyan commanded, and it flew toward Lie Yun.
“Don’t you dare hurt my daughter, shadow creature!” shouted Lie Fenglan, upon seeing the shade flying toward his daughter.
“Lord Lie, only this shade can save your daughter now!” Yun Ruoyan called out. Lie Fenglan hesitated, then shook his head in disbelief and made to stop the shade’s progress.
“You stubborn fool!” Yun Ruoyan shouted again. To Li Mo, she called out, “Stop him!”
Li Mo again began fighting Lie Fenglan. Perhaps because Yun Ruoyan’s claim had left him uncertain, he was unable to concentrate, and his path was quickly blocked by Li Mo. As he saw the shade approach his daughter, his hands tightened into fists.
When Lie Yun glimpsed the shade, an expression of terror flew across her face. She shrieked shrilly, then tried to run, but Yun Ruoyan stepped forward and firmly held down the chains still trailing from her body.
Lie Yun stumbled and fell to the ground, only to have Yun Ruoyan pull on the chains shackled to her wrists, hoisting her upright. “Shade, what’re you waiting for?!” Yun Ruoyan shouted.
The shade didn’t dare to hesitate any further. It floated to Lie Yun’s side, opened its maw, and began to suck. Corpse aura flew out from Lie Yun’s eyes, nose, and ears in what seemed to be a never-ending stream. Gradually, Lie Yun’s face went from purplish-black to blue, then to stark white. Her eyes slowly lost their blood-red tint, once again resolving into black and white.
“Yun’er—Lie Yun!” Lie Fenglan called out in disbelief and immense joy. His palms, clenched so tightly they were almost dripping blood, finally unclenched. Only then did Li Mo remove the sword that he held by Lie Fenglan’s neck.
The shade had spent six whole hours sucking out the corpse aura that had accumulated in Lie Yun’s body for nearly one whole year. By the time it was finished, the skies were bright and clear, and Lie Yun had regained her usual complexion. Although her eyes still seemed rather dull and dazed, she was clearly back to normal.
As Yun Ruoyan sealed the shade in its bottle, Lie Yun trembled, as though all the energy had drained out of her, and slumped to the ground in a heap.
Lie Fenglan ran forward and caressed her prone body. “Yun’er, how are you feeling now?”
Lie Yun slowly opened her eyes and looked toward her father. With obvious effort, she said, “Father, I’m finally free of the poison…!” Then, closing her eyes, she fainted.
“Send for the physician!” Lie Fenglan quickly called out.
“Quick, send for a physician, quickly!” Lie Sen finally stepped out from behind the entrance to the cultivation chamber.
Lie Fenglan paced outside of Lie Yun’s bedroom while Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo sipped tea by a table. Lie Fenglan glanced askance at them, but only continued pacing without saying anything.
“Is my sister alright now?” Lie Sen asked Yun Ruoyan.
Yun Ruoyan smiled. “Of course!”
Her smile seemed to be enough to leave Lie Sen in a daze. He thought back to how heroic Yun Ruoyan had looked while trying to save Lie Yun, then drew closer to Yun Ruoyan’s face—
Li Mo extended a long leg in front of Lie Sen. Not paying conscious attention to what lay before him, Lie Sen tripped and fell onto the floor. He stood back up and turned to Li Mo in rage.
“Sen’er! Don’t be impolite to our guests!” His father’s words immediately caused Lie Sen to lower his head, bow, and stand to the side.
Lie Fenglan continued, “Please don’t mind my son’s disrespect.” His severe face finally showed the barest traces of a smile.
“There’s no harm, Lord Lie. If not for Young Master Lie providing us with a blueprint of the Lie manor, it would have been far harder for my wife and I to find Miss Lie’s whereabouts.”
“Ah, you!” Lie Sen immediately fixed Li Mo with a pointed stare, aggrieved by the sudden betrayal.
Lie Fenglan laughed, his gaze sweeping over Lie Sen. “My son’s behavior is normally atrocious, but he was correct to do so. If my daughter is indeed hale and hearty, I will certainly reward you both.”
“We have no need for rewards,” Yun Ruoyan began. “On the other hand, Lord Lie, please reconsider allying with the Feng family.”
Lie Fenglan’s mouth snapped shut. He mulled it over and was just about to speak when a physician walked out of Lie Yun’s rooms with a servant girl in tow.
“Physician Wang!” Lie Fenglan immediately rushed forward. “How’s my daughter?”
“Congratulations are in order, Lord Lie,” the elderly man smiled. “Young Miss Lie’s poison has been removed from her body, and she’ll be as good as new after some rest and recuperation.”
“That’s wonderful!” Lie Fenglan beamed.
“Lord Lie,” Yun Ruoyan called out, standing up. “Since Miss Lie’s recovered, our alliance—”
“My daughter has just recovered, so please allow me to deal with her first. I’ll be happy to discuss other matters with both of you afterwards,” Lie Fenglan replied. “Sen’er, prepare rooms for our honored guests.”
Lie Fenglan then walked inside Lie Yun’s bedroom.
“Lord Lie!” Yun Ruoyan tried to follow behind him, but Li Mo pulled her back.
“Yan’er, rushing won’t get us anywhere.”
Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo were assigned particularly luxurious suites and were fed with the choicest food and wine. However, even after two days, they still saw no sign of Lie Fenglan. Instead, Lie Sen had personally served them, not minding the trouble or the fact that doing so was beneath his station.
“Young Master Lie, does Lord Lie still not have the time to meet with us today?” Yun Ruoyan asked, finally unable to bear her impatience.
“My sister’s body’s still very weak, and Father has been infusing her with spiritual energy these last two days,” Lie Sen replied. “I assure you he’s not deliberately trying to avoid you.”
Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo had no choice but to continue waiting. Over the past few days, Mo’er had brought two letters from Lin Qingchen, describing a few minor conflicts that had begun between the Feng and Pi cities. The two cities were now in direct conflict with each other; two days after Li Mo and Yun Ruoyan had left, the Pi city had seized two small towns neighboring the Feng city, and then two more after that. The Pi swordsmen raped the townsfolk as they burned and pillaged the towns.
Yun Ruoyan’s sense of urgency burgeoned after reading the letter. Although Li Mo didn’t display any of his anxiety, he was likewise concerned about how much further the situation would devolve before they could finally return.
They had originally intended to force Lie Fenglan’s hand by withholding Lie Yun’s cure until he acquiesced to an alliance, but given the urgency of the situation, Yun Ruoyan had had no choice but to give Lie Yun the treatment beforehand.
Luckily, there was a piece of good news from Lie Sen: Lie Yun was no longer bedridden, and there would be a banquet that night to thank Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo.
Within Lie Yun’s rooms, she and her father were discussing the proposed alliance. “Father, we definitely can’t agree to an alliance.” Lie Yun sat by the side of the bed. Although she had recovered to a considerable extent, her face was still pale, and she could only walk a few steps before feeling faint.
“Of course not,” Lie Fenglan replied, somewhat awkwardly. “The Lies and Pis have been close allies for centuries, and you’re even engaged to Pi Yang. How could I break off the alliance with the Pi family and aid the Fengs instead? But they did save your lives, and rejecting them outright will be a stain on the Lies’ reputation.”
“In that case, let me deny them myself,” Lie Yun replied. “They saved my life, so if we can’t honor their request, then it should be my problem.”
“That’s not a bad idea,” Lie Fenglan replied. “These two seem like relatively courteous people, and I don’t think they’ll make things hard for you.”
“Father?” Lie Yun then called out again.
“What’s the matter?”
“While I was afflicted with this poison, did anyone else come to visit me? Please let me know so I can return their courtesy.”
Lie Fenglan snorted. “You’re asking about that Pi brat, aren’t you?”
Lie Yun didn’t respond verbally, but she lowered her head.
Lie Fenglan flared up in anger. “He’s only come to visit you twice near the start of your poisoning, but I’ve not seen him since. When Sen’er returned from Peak Darkness, he mentioned that he saw that brat during the seven cities’ tournament—so he has time to attend a tournament, but not to visit you?!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter