Chapter 416: Instigation

The beauty’s veil was knocked aside, revealing a series of criss-crossing marks on her left cheek. Rong Yueshan knelt on the ground, hurriedly covering up her disfigured cheek.

“Slut!” Pi Batian stepped on her shoulder. “You’ve given my father and I the worst reputation of the nobles on the Mingyuan continent!”

“I—I wouldn’t dare, Young Master Pi,” Rong Yueshan replied pitifully. Her petite frame began to tremble because of her fear, revealing her pale flesh beneath her thin, diaphanous clothing.

Pi Batian slowly moved his foot from Rong Yueshan’s shoulder to her spine, rubbing her soft skin with the sole of his foot. In his mind’s eye, the woman pinned underneath his foot was someone else entirely. She was equally petite and delicate, but her gaze was like fire. Unlike the woman beneath him, she wouldn’t allow herself to be kneaded like a ball of dough.

When Rong Yueshan sensed Pi Batian’s gestures taking on a sexual undertone, she raised her veiled face and looked up at Pi Batian with wide, lustrous eyes. “Young Master Pi!”

Pi Batian bent down, pinched Rong Yueshan’s lower jaw, then flung her over his shoulder as though he were hoisting a burlap sack. He walked toward his bed and threw her down, then began venting his anger on her as though she were no more than a toy, a doll. Rong Yueshan clutched tightly onto the black velvet sheets, pain and humiliation causing tears to well up in her eyes. She could only choke them back down, forcing her lips shut to prevent herself from screaming or grunting in pain.

Deep in her mind, she repeatedly told herself, I must live. I’ll live, and I’ll make Yun Ruoyan suffer the same humiliation I did. She’s the root cause behind all my suffering, and even if I have to die, I’ll drag her down with me!”

Under this ersatz hypnosis, Rong Yueshan’s mind became wooden. She no longer felt the pain that radiated throughout her body, nor humiliation of any kind. She began to welcome Pi Batian’s bestial treatment of her body, smiling and laughing wantonly, heart-wrenchingly…

After a few rounds, when Pi Batian finally got tired of her body, it was already nighttime. Rong Yueshan woke up from her temporary daze. She lowered her head to find her body bruised all over, so sore it was as though she had been torn apart, bit by bit, then reassembled.

In the darkness, a pair of beast-like eyes were staring at her. When she slowly made eye contact with Pi Batian, she shivered in a complex mix of shock, fear, and fright. She forced herself to remain calm, but her quavering voice betrayed her. “Young Master Pi, are you… thirsty? Would you like me to prepare a pot of tea for you?”

Pi Batian stared coldly at Rong Yueshan until she began to tremble all over. Just as she thought she would be unable to bear the silence any longer, he sat up, clothed himself, then began walking out of his rooms.

As he approached the door, he suddenly turned back and commanded Rong Yueshan, “You, follow me.”

Rong Yueshan followed Pi Batian to a prison, one containing two cells. The larger one was the more uncomfortable, and over a dozen courtesans from the courtesan troupe were imprisoned within. Half the women inside were awake as Pi Batian and Rong Yueshan walked past the cell, and they stared at the two of them with hatred and loathing in their eyes.

Rong Yueshan followed mutely behind Pi Batian, refusing to meet their eyes. In the past, she would have turned her nose up at these women, the lowest of the low, but the Rong Yueshan of the present was even dirtier and lowlier than they were. Although she was unwilling to admit it, she knew it to be fact. And, just like usual, she blamed her current predicament on Yun Ruoyan.

Pi Batian’s gaze swept coldly over these women. Most of them were of noble birth, but had lost their family and estates due to the Pi family. Some among them had had their clothes torn by the Pi swordsmen during their capture, and what scraps they had were insufficient to clothe their bodies. 

Amidst the group of women, however, one stood out. Her eyes were slightly narrowed as she looked toward Pi Batian. She wore the tattered, ruined clothes of multiple women, a curious outfit that nevertheless managed to cover her entire body. Beside her was a stoic woman taking a guarded stance around her

A Fei stared at Pi Batian without any fear or reservation. If he dared hurt her mistress, she would fight him to the death, even if she knew she stood no chance of beating him.

“Young Master Pi, may I ask if you’re here to interrogate the prisoners?” one swordsman, sleepily guarding the prisoners in the cell, ventured. 

“Do such lowly prisoners deserve my attention?” Pi Batian retorted coldly.

“Of course not… of course not!” The swordsman looked particularly like a weasel. When Pi Batian rebuffed him, any desire to sleep instantly vanished from his face, and he suddenly seemed fearful. “I misspoke, Young Master Pi, please don’t blame me…”

Pi Batian cut the swordsman off. He’d seen many jailers like him: they all acted high and mighty in front of the prisoners, but in front of Pi Batian, they grovelled like groundhogs. Pi Batian was disgusted by such jailers, but he would be perfect for his plan.

“I have a task for you. If you perform well, I’ll have more rewards for you yet.”

“I’ll do anything for you, Young Master Pi!” the swordsman immediately cried out.

Pi Batian chuckled maliciously. “Find a few swordsmen from around the mansion and rape these women. Make them beg for death, then hang them by the city gates. Parade them as vixens, spies sent by the Feng family, and let all those who pass by the city gates mock and jeer at them for who they are.”

“Yes, Young Master!” the weaselly swordsman replied, his smile so wretched and vulgar one had to look away.

Pi Batian turned away from the swordsman and prepared to enter the next cell before he suddenly remembered something. Turning back, he instructed the guard, “Don’t touch the red-clothed woman and the woman by her side just yet.”

“Yes, Young Master.” The swordsman bowed. 

Pi Batian nodded in satisfaction, then strode toward the next cell. Rong Yueshan strode behind Pi Batian. As they passed by a torture chamber, by all sorts of bloodied tools lying on the floor, she neither hesitated not stumbled, as though she were entirely inured to the sight. Pi Batian was somewhat pleased to see her so calm even in the face of such cruelty.

Rong Yueshan was the only one who could feel how loudly her heart was thumping and how, if she weren’t wearing a cloak, anyone walking behind her would see her back drenched with sweat.

Beside that torture chamber was a smaller cell in which the young master of the Feng family, Feng Mian, was being imprisoned. Instead of sleeping, Feng Mian was resting against a hard wooden bench. A table stood beside the bench, and an oil lamp on the table bathed the cell in a weak light, illuminating a bowl of cold porridge and two cold, hard buns that lay untouched.

Although Feng Yanyang hardly pampered Feng Mian, the Feng family had extremely high standards for food and drink. Staying in a place like this was undoubtedly a hellish proposition to Feng Mian, who had been draped in finery his entire life. That he was able to remain so composed was testament to his fortitude.

“My apologies, Young Master Feng, for housing you in such humble accommodations despite your being a guest of the Pi family,” Pi Batian said from outside the cell.

When Feng Mian heard Pi Batian’s voice, he opened his eyes and sat up straight, clearly surprised by Pi Batian’s sudden visit. “Young Master Pi,” Feng Mian began, staring cautiously at him. “Why are you here?” 

It was already the second day of Feng Mian’s imprisonment, but no one had approached him. The two cities were at war, and Feng Mian naturally understood the implications of his capture. He suspected that the Pi family would use him as a hostage for negotiations with his father. Now that Pi Batian was here, it seemed as though his fate was decided.

“Don’t worry, Young Master Feng,” Pi Batian added. “I’m not here to kill you, but only to inform you of some unwelcome news.”

“What… unwelcome news?”

Pi Batian noticed that Feng Mian’s two wrists were trembling, and he began to smirk. “You must have guessed that Lord Feng has refused our offer. Instead, he plans on revealing our negotiations to the public, besmirching the name of the Pi family. Do you think he’s forcing us to get rid of you so he doesn’t have to worry about the fact that you’ve been taken captive?”

“No, it can’t be!” Feng Mian stood up in a rush. “I’m the only heir of the Feng family, my father’s only son! Father will certainly save me!”

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