Chapter 415: Countermeasures

Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo immediately rushed back to the Feng city to report to Feng Yanyang regarding Feng Mian and the courtesan troupe’s capture. Only when they met him did they find out that, not long after they had left the city, he and Feng Bo had received a missive from a nearby town. 

Feng Mian and the courtesan troupe were both taken hostage last night, almost at the exact same moment. It was likely that the courtesan troupe’s identity had long been known to the Pi family, but that they were using them as bait and waiting for the most opportune time to strike. As they saw more and more of the smaller families shifting to the Feng family’s side, however, they couldn’t stand waiting any longer. 

As for Feng Mian, he was Feng Yanyang’s only heir and the next lord of the Feng city. While he wasn’t particularly impressive, he also never caused any trouble for Feng Yanyang. If he had a flaw, it was that he was a little prideful. During this period of time, Feng Yicheng had eked out a name for himself within the Feng city and received great praise from Feng Yanyang, who had directed Feng Mian to learn from him. This hurt Feng Mian’s pride; in order to prove himself, he volunteered to stay in the small towns surrounding the Feng city with Feng Bo to set up barriers in the vicinity.

Feng Mian had been working hard on this project, and he didn’t even return for the spring festival. Instead, he sent word saying that he would remain by the border towns and celebrate the festival with the guards in the region instead. Feng Yanyang was impressed by this decision, but no one had expected that it would lead to Feng Mian’s capture.

Yun Ruoyan, Li Mo, and Feng Bo all looked at the frowning Feng Yanyang, waiting for his orders.

“We can’t agree to their requests,” Feng Yanyang replied, his voice heavy. Although he had long since made up his mind, he found it exceptionally difficult to force the words out of his throat. His son’s fate rested in his hands, but he was unable to save him…

“Lord Feng.” Feng Bo bowed deeply. “Perhaps we can surrender for the moment and regain custody of Young Master Feng. In the future, we’ll wait for another opportunity to reclaim justice from the Pi family.”

“I’m afraid that’s not possible.” Feng Yanyang shook his head, his face so forlorn it seemed as though he had aged a decade in an instant. He retrieved a letter from his robes and handed it to Feng Bo.

As Feng Bo read it, his brows furrowed further. When he finished, he sighed and handed the letter to Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo, who read it from start to end. The contents of the letter were near-identical to what Rong Yueshan had described, but there was one final condition that she had failed to mention: Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo were part of the ransom that the Feng family would have to pay to get Feng Mian and the courtesan troupe back.

When Yun Ruoyan saw this clause, anger filled her heart. How far will this father and son go to capture me? They’re completely unscrupulous!

“Lord Feng, I—” Yun Ruoyan was just about to volunteer to be exchanged for Feng Mian and the troupe when Li Mo pulled her back in time.

“Lord Feng, how do you plan on resolving this situation?” Li Mo pulled Yun Ruoyan back behind him.

Feng Yanyang stood up, his back perfectly straight. His gaze landed on Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo, his voice resolute. “I’ve just received word of this, and I don’t currently have a good plan against this ransom. Do rest assured: I would never take you as hostage to random my son back.”

Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo were more than a little moved by Feng Yanyang’s earnest declaration.

“My gratitude, Lord Feng. If there’s anything my wife and I can do for you, please let us know.”

Feng Yanyang then sent for Feng Yicheng, with which they would discuss plans and countermeasures. It took the rest of the night before they finally came up with a workable strategy. Feng Yanyang himself wrote a document denouncing the Pi family’s actions, emphasizing the fact that Pi Yan had taken his son hostage and was nothing but a sly, treacherous man.

Feng Yicheng had the document copied and distributed all throughout the Mingyuan continent in an attempt to apply pressure on the Pi family. Although Pi Yan wasn’t a gentleman by any means, he was particularly prideful and conscientious of his reputation. It was unlikely that these documents would compel Pi Yan to free Feng Mian, but he surely wouldn’t dare harm him, either.

Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo rushed to the Lie city overnight, hoping for support from the Lie family. Although there were still a few days before the end of the ceasefire, Feng Yanyang had decided to strike against the Pi family first to show that he wouldn’t be threatened by their actions.

The next morning, Feng Yanyang and Feng Bo, along with the Feng family’s secret troops, were sent to the border between the Feng and Pi families. Feng Bo himself would direct the upcoming battle, one of many in the war that had grown so large in scale that it seemed to encompass the entire Mingyuan continent.

The secret troops were mobilized in their entirety, with Zhuo Yifeng and Qin Feng amongst them. After only a few days, they arrived at the primary battlefield between the two cities, Goldenrod Town.

Meanwhile, Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo were put in charge of a battalion of swordsmen almost five hundred strong, the first of multiple sets of reinforcements that the Lie city planned on furnishing. The moment Li Mo and Yun Ruoyan had left, Lie Yun had begun organizing the troops that she would send out to support the Feng city. The five hundred cultivators were all ninth-rank blademasters, and they would surely be a force to contend with on the battlefield.

In addition, Lie Yun pledged that she would provide at least two thousand cultivators in all, which she would send in waves toward the primary battlefield. Yun Ruoyan led these troops as she rushed toward Goldenrod Town, arriving not two days later.

Feng Yicheng had also arrived after completing his mission. He had spread Feng Yanyang’s letter of censure far and wide across the Mingyuan continent. The Pi family’s reputation had never been good, and this latest event had only exacerbated the charges against them. 

Given the magnitude of this war between the two families, it would surely decide the future hegemon of the Mingyuan continent. It was natural that the ordinary cultivators and townsfolk of the Mingyuan continent would prefer a more lenient ruler, so public sentiment quickly turned in favor of the Feng family, and the Pi family’s reputation was brought to a new low.

Within the Pi manor, Pi Yan clutched a copy of the offending letter in his hand and squeezed it into powder. What he had thought a masterstroke had turned around to bite him, and the damage to the Pi family’s reputation had been so severe that he felt as though he had slapped himself in the face by taking Feng Mian hostage. 

“Father, who would have thought the Feng family so cunning?” Pi Batian sat by his side, playing with a seemingly ancient ring.

Pi Yan snorted. “Bring me that ugly woman, that traitor who escaped from the Lie family. She’s the one who suggested the idea, and she will pay for this!”

“Father.” Pi Batian stood up. “I’m sure Rong Yueshan didn’t expect that things would go this way either. It’s partially my fault for not thinking matters through, so please don’t heap the blame entirely on her.”

Pi Yan was a little surprised to see his prideful son defending the ugly slave girl. “She must have some capability, if you’re willing to defend her to this extent.”

“No, no.” Pi Batian immediately shook his head. “Father, don’t misunderstand. Given the charges against us, harshly punishing those who’ve come to us for shelter will surely have severe repercussions. I suggest we let her redeem herself with her actions.”

Pi Yan mulled his son’s words over for a moment. “We’ll do as you say, but you’d better be cautious around this woman, Tian’er.”

“I understand, Father.” Pi Batian bowed. When he saw that Pi Yan was looking less angry than before, he continued, “Although the Fengs have turned this situation to their favor, we now have a number of useful slaves. We can’t kill them outright at the moment, of course, but they can play important roles in a crucial moment. Furthermore…” Pi Batian leaned in close to Pi Yan’s ear. “I have a few thoughts of my own as to how to use them properly. Father, here’s what I think…”

Pi Batian whispered for quite some time by Pi Yan’s ear. Pi Yan nodded in agreement as he listened, and the anger on his face slowly morphed into a devious smile.

When he was done speaking, Pi Batian clasped his hands behind his back and smiled as he glanced at his father’s expression. Clearly, his father was very much in favor with his plan.

“Not bad. Tian’er, your accomplishments will surely surpass mine in the future.”

“My goal is solely to help you conquer this continent, Father.” Pi Batian bowed once more.

Pi Yan smiled at his prodigious son.

“Young Master, I—” The moment Pi Batian walked into his bedroom, a veiled beauty stood up to welcome him. However, Pi Batian only gave her a resounding slap, knocking her onto the ground.

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