As Lie Yun thought about Pi Yang’s disappearance, her heart ached, and twin trails of tears marred her beautiful visage. As she cried, Lie Yun muttered to herself, “Lie Yang, you once asked me what I liked about you. I didn’t respond then, not knowing whence my feelings arose. Perhaps because of your sunny disposition but brash laughter, or perhaps the extent to which you tried to please me while badgering me to make you some plum blossom wine, or perhaps just your blazing red hair… Whatever the case may be, I fell in love, and I’ve been thinking about our wedding day ever since. And yet, just like that, you—”
Lie Yun buried her face between her knees, her tears threatening to choke her. From where he was hiding by the edge of her window, Pi Yang heard it all: her desolate tone, her muffled sobs.
Beside Pi Yang were Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo, who had brought Pi Yang to see Lie Yun.
Upon hearing Lie Yun’s words, Yun Ruoyan couldn’t help but feel touched. She turned to Pi Yang only to find his own tear-stricken face. Pi Yang had known of Lie Yun’s affection for her ever since he was little, but the pride and reserve of the eldest miss of the Lie family had meant that Pi Yang had never known the depth of her affection.
Having spent so much time together, Pi Yang had begun treating Lie Yun as a good friend, but thoughts of marrying her had never crossed his mind. Instead, he had even begun thinking about how to annul the betrothal between them.
It was only today that Pi Yang realized the truth. Ever since his downfall, Lie Yun was the only other person who had shed tears for him.
Yun Ruoyan nudged Pi Yang, mouthing to him, “Go on, go talk to her! Do you need me to help you?”
“Who’s there?!” Lie Yun cried out.
“What’s the matter, Miss?” Following Lie Yun’s cry, two guardsmen quickly entered her chambers. Lie Yun pointed out the window and was just about to speak when a familiar voice spoke from outside the window.
“It’s me, Lie Yun.”
Lie Yun stilled. Disbelievingly, she turned her head to find the youth on her mind, with a shocking head of blazing hair, standing outside the window and looking in at her.
“Pi Yang, you’re… alive!”
Their tear-filled gazes met.
“Who dares sneak into the Lie manor?!” the two guardsmen shouted, striding toward Pi Yang.
“Halt!” Lie Yun commanded. “He’s my friend. Stand down.”
The two guardsmen glanced at each other, bowed to their mistress, and left her rooms again.
As soon as the door shut behind them, Lie Yun rushed to the windowsill and extended her hand to caress Pi Yang’s pale, sallow face.
“It really is you, Pi Yang, you’re still alive!” Despite the tears still streaming down her face, she was all but beaming.
“I didn’t die, Lie Yun,” Pi Yang choked out. “But it was a close shave.”
Judging from his words and expression, Lie Yun easily guessed that something had gone wrong. “Why did the Pis spread news of your death?”
“It’s because—” Pi Yang suddenly remembered that his expulsion from the Pi family was largely because he had helped Yun Ruoyan escape twice. He couldn’t bring himself to admit that now because of the feelings that Lie Yun harbored for him, but neither could he lie to her.
“It’s because of his two arms,” Yun Ruoyan spoke up.”
“Miss Yun?” Lie Yun was startled to see Yun Ruoyan behind Pi Yang. “How did the two of you end up together?”
“I’m here as well.” Li Mo strode over to Yun Ruoyan’s back. “Don’t worry, Miss Lie, Ruoyan and I are just here to send Young Master Pi to visit you.”
Only then did Lie Yun relax. “Come, all of you, let’s talk inside. I’m sure my father will be rushing over shortly upon hearing the news.”
The moment Pi Yang leapt in through the window, Lie Yun noticed something amiss. Pi Yang was wearing a thick overcoat, one that covered both his shoulders. Just from his appearance alone, it was impossible for someone to discern his missing arms, but his movements gave him away.
“Pi Yang, what happened to your arms?” Lie Yun threw off his overcoat and clutched at his shirtsleeves.
“My father cut them off,” Pi Yang murmured.
“Why?!” Lie Yun’s face was filled with confusion and disbelief. Although Pi Yan and Pi Yang had never seemed to be particularly close, Pi Yang had never been beaten in his childhood, even if he had made a mess of things. Lie Yun could hardly imagine that Pi Yan was cold-hearted enough to cut off his own son’s arms.
Pi Yang trembled as the memories of that fateful day came rushing back to him. Because they were to be attached to Pi Batian, Pi Yan had been extremely precise with his cuts, but because of the urgency, and because of Pi Yan’s overwhelming anger, he had performed the operation while Pi Yang was fully conscious.
His own father had cut off his arms, just like that, claiming that he needed to have a taste of what happened to his brother. It was a recurring nightmare that would plague Pi Yang to the end of his days.
“Let me tell you why,” Yun Ruoyan interrupted, noting Pi Yang’s agitation. “When Pi Batian fought with us, we cut off both his arms, so Pi Yan needed two new arms for his beloved son. These two arms had to come from someone related to Pi Batian by blood, and the only two compatible victims were Pi Yan himself… and Pi Yang.”
“You mean, Uncle Pi cut off Pi Yang’s arms to attach them to Pi Batian?!” Lie Yun cried out in shock. “But they’re both his beloved children!”
“Yes, Pi Batian and Pi Yang are both Pi Yan’s sons, but Pi Batian is clearly more important to Pi Yan than Pi Yang, especially given the fighting going on,” Yun Ruoyan replied.
“Pi Yang,” Lie Yun asked, turning to him. “Is what Miss Yun said indeed the case?”
Pi Yang nodded, averting his eyes from Lie Yun’s ardent gaze. “My father told me that I was useless, whereas Brother was to be the future head of the Pi family, and it was time to give back to my family.”
“And after Pi Yan cut off Pi Yang’s arms, he was worried that the event would be a stain on his reputation, so he tried to kill Pi Yang off entirely,” Yun Ruoyan continued. “Luckily, Pi Yang had a loyal servant who escaped with Pi Yang in time upon learning of the news.”
“Then, given his prior dealings with us, Pi Yang fled to the Feng city,” Li Mo added.
Lie Yun turned to Pi Yang again. “Can you confirm their statements?”
“Father really did try to kill me,” Pi Yang replied. “It was Housekeeper Hu who saved me and brought me to the Feng city, where Li Mo and Miss Yun gave me refuge.”
Lie Yun slammed a palm on her table, cracking one of its legs in half. “Pi Yan, you dare trick me?!” Lie Yun thundered.
“What’s the matter? Is something wrong, Lie Yun?” Just then, Lie Fenglan’s voice came from outside Lie Yun’s room. When he strode in to see Pi Yang, he pointed a finger at him in shock. “Pi Yang, are—didn’t you die?”
Lie Fenglan had been perusing documents in his study when a few guards came to report that an unfamiliar friend had come to visit his daughter. Lie Fenglan had dropped everything he had been working on and hurried over, only to find that this ‘unfamiliar friend’ was actually Pi Yang, someone he thought had perished!
“And the two of you…” Lie Fenglan then pointed at Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo. “What are all of you doing here?”
The Pis and Fengs were in a bitter feud, and the fact that Pi Yang and Yun Ruoyan were travelling together left Lie Fenglan in shock.
“Excellent timing, Father.” Lie Yun then repeated what Yun Ruoyan and the others had told her.
When Lie Fenglan had heard the entire story, his brows were deeply furrowed, and his penetrating stare was fixed at Pi Yang’s empty shirtsleeves. He had known Pi Yan since they were both little, and he was clearly familiar with his temper and his true feelings toward Pi Yang.
Pi Yan placed particular importance on status, and Pi Yang was a son that had only come about as a result of a drunken dalliance. He hadn’t wanted to keep him, but his father had found out and had commanded that this son be kept to fortify the Pi bloodline.
Pi Yan had had no other choice but to keep Pi Yang, but had never been enthused about him. In order to protect Pi Yang, Pi Yan’s own father had set up a betrothal between Pi Yang and Lie Yun from their birth.
At the time, Lie Fenglan hadn’t known of the identity of Pi Yang’s mother, or he would have forbidden the betrothal. After all, how could Pi Yang’s servant-born status compare to that of the eldest daughter of the main branch of the Lie family? When he learned of the truth, Lie Fenglan had been so incensed that he would have immediately broken the betrothal, save for the fact that Pi Yang and Lie Yun really did seem to enjoy each other’s company.
Given his understanding of Pi Yan, Lie Fenglan was easily convinced of the veracity of what Lie Yun had told him. However, as the head of the Lie family, he had to be absolutely certain of the matter before making a pronouncement. “I’ll need to send Pi Yan a letter for confirmation.”
“Lord Lie,” Yun Ruoyan interrupted. “Pi Yan will never admit to something so dishonorable.”
“Father, don’t you believe Pi Yang?” Lie Yun added. “At any rate, I do.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter