Chapter 421: Chance Encounter with Feng Mian

“Miss, please, won’t you leave with us?” A Fei knelt down in front of Madam Hong, begging her.

“A Fei.” Madam Hong lightly caressed A Fei’s hair. “If you still recognize me as your mistress, listen to me. Help me accomplish the tasks I’ve set out for you.”

“Madam Hong,” Yun Ruoyan interjected. “Don’t you want to see Feng Yicheng again?”

Feng Yicheng and Madam Hong were planning to get married, and Yun Ruoyan hoped that Madam Hong’s desire for self-preservation would win out.

“I swore to live and die with my sisters. If I leave them out of a selfish desire to live, I’d feel guilty my entire life,” Madam Hong replied, smiling bitterly. “Feng Yicheng and I… must not have been destined to be.”

“If you’ve already made up your mind, we can’t force you to leave,” Yun Ruoyan sighed, then blew a gust of bewitching fog in her direction.

However, Madam Hong and A Fei both had safeguards against such substances. Madam Hong pinched her nose, then continued, “Quick, save Young Master Feng and leave. Don’t waste time on me.”

A Fei, teary-eyed, had no choice but to desert her mistress and leave with Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo. From A Fei, they learned that Feng Mian had been brought out of the prison by Pi Batian, but they were unaware of his whereabouts after that. The three of them began to scour the Pi manor for traces of Feng Mian, but given how large it was, their search wasn’t fruitful. Even after bewitching four guards, Yun Ruoyan still had no clue where he could be.

As the skies brightened, the three of them left the Pi manor and returned to their inn, where they saw a letter from Mo’er. It was penned by Feng Yanyang himself, asking the two of them about their search. The two cities had finished their preparations for war, and a battle larger than any before would soon descend on the Mingyuan continent.

Li Mo wrote back to Feng Yanyang about how he had infiltrated the Pi manor but failed to find Feng Mian. Following Madam Hong’s suggestion, he recommended that the Feng family expose how the Pis had killed the members of the courtesan troupe. They had spent a considerable amount of time in the Pi, Wu, and Chen cities, and had developed rather strong relationships with many of the smaller families of the region. Their tragic fate would expose the Pi family’s cruel, tyrannical nature, fomenting dissent.

Once the war between the two families began in earnest, these small families, weak though they might be, would play an important role. If they were able to rebel from within, it would surely turn the tide in the Feng family’s favor.

According to A Fei, after she and Madam Hong were imprisoned, no one would check up on them except for the guards who brought them food daily. Given Madam Hong’s disguise, no one would find out that A Fei had escaped in the short term. Furthermore, given how useful Feng Mian was as a hostage, it was very unlikely that he would be in life-threatening danger before the war began in earnest. Given these reasons, Li Mo and Yun Ruoyan didn’t feel a pressing need to enter the manor to rescue Feng Mian.

Two days later, Mo’er brought back another letter from Feng Yanyang. The Feng family had spread news of the atrocities that the Pi city had committed against the courtesan troupe, and quite a number of smaller families had secretly contacted the Feng family to establish their willingness to subvert the Pi troops during the war. Furthermore, Feng Yanyang had decided that, regardless of whether or not Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo were able to save Feng Mian, he would attack the Pi family within five days.

News of the impending battle between the Pis and Fengs had spread, as had the formal alliance between the Lies and Fengs. With the Lie family’s assistance, the Feng family’s offensive ability dramatically increased. Some of the citizens of the Pi city, who were all but certain that the Pis would win, began to worry about the outcome of the war, but most remained confident in a Pi victory.

That evening, Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo both hid in a teahouse near the Pi manor, waiting for nightfall to infiltrate the Pi manor once more.

“So what if the Lie and Feng families are in alliance? The Pi family’s been controlling the Mingyuan continent for all this time! Their power isn’t something an upstart family like the Fengs can contest.”

“That’s hard to say. The Feng family’s star has been rising these few years, and with the addition of another powerful family, it won’t do to underestimate their strength. Otherwise, why would Lord Pi have kidnapped Young Master Feng? It must be because he’s frightened of defeat!”

“I heard that too. Apparently, Lord Feng’s been incensed by Lord Pi’s move, which is why he’s ignoring the ceasefire and amassing a large quantity of troops by a border town, ready to attack the Pi city at any moment.”

Just as Li Mo and Yun Ruoyan were listening to the gossip all around the teahouse, a carriage stopped by its entrance. Li Mo frowned, then murmured to Yun Ruoyan, “There’s a familiar aura coming from within the carriage. Let’s hide for now.”

As he pulled Yun Ruoyan further within the teahouse, three people stepped out of the carriage, two male and one female. The male at the front was someone everyone in the Pi city knew: the young master of the Pi family, Pi Batian.

As Pi Batian’s group walked into the teahouse, it immediately drew the attention of all present. The idle chatter and conversation, which had been so loud as to be overwhelming just a few moments ago, instantly ground to a halt, leaving the teahouse eerily silent. A richly dressed youth followed behind Pi Batian, accompanied by a veiled woman.

The owner of the teahouse immediately stepped out in fear and trepidation, ready to welcome Pi Batian.

“Young Master Pi, my humble teahouse is honored to serve you today—”

“I want the best suite you have to host my friends.” Before the teahouse owner could finish his introduction, Pi Batian interrupted him and headed to the second floor of the teahouse. The owner immediately rushed up behind him, ready for his every demand.

From their vantage point at the back of the teahouse, Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo could see everything clearly. The youth following behind Pi Batian was none other than their target, whom they hadn’t found even after an extensive search: Feng Mian.

As for the veiled woman beside Feng Mian, that was someone Yun Ruoyan would recognize even if she had turned into a pile of ashes: Rong Yueshan.

Li Mo and Yun Ruoyan were relieved to see Feng Mian safe and sound, but at the same time, they were rather confused as to why Pi Batian would bring him strolling around the Pi city, and especially into such a crowded teahouse.

Li Mo hailed down a waiter, handed him a dozen spirit crystals, and whispered, “My wife isn’t feeling well, and she’d like to rest in one of the suites in the teahouse. Could you help us out?” 

The waiter hesitated a little but ultimately succumbed to his greed. He took the spirit crystals in Li Mo’s hands, then brought the two of them up the stairs. There were only two suites in the teahouse, one of which was occupied by Pi Batian’s group of three. As a result, the waiter assigned them the other suite directly opposite. After warning them once and again not to disturb the honored guests to their side, the waiter left.

The suites were only separated by a thin wall. Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo both infused spiritual energy into their ears and listened in to the conversation next door.

“It’s been quite a few days since we’ve brought you here to the Feng city, Brother Mian, but I’ve never had the time to properly welcome you. Would you like to explore the city today?” Pi Batian’s voice boomed from the other room.

“I appreciate the honor, Young Master Pi,” Feng Mian replied coldly. “It’s certainly far better than being imprisoned.”

“That you were kept in a cell was a matter of necessity,” Pi Batian replied, smiling. “If you promise to persuade Lord Feng to hand over Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo, the Pis would be more than happy to resolve matters with the Fengs.”

“As I’ve explained, knowing my father, any persuasion on my part would be useless,” Feng Mian replied. “Furthermore, I’m not so cowardly as to trade my life for those of trusted allies of the Feng family, so there’s no need to play these sorts of mind games with me.”

From the neighboring suite, Li Mo and Yun Ruoyan heard the sound of a cup being smashed into smithereens, followed by Pi Batian’s furious voice. “Feng Mian, the reason I saved you from imprisonment was to give you a chance. This is the only chance you’ll be given, so if you don’t take advantage of it, I’ll drag you over to the battlefront and strap you to the walls of the town. Let’s see if Feng Yanyang’s willing to kill you to invade the Pi city!”

After a momentary silence, Feng Mian’s voice could be heard once again. He laughed coldly. “Don’t think you’ll be able to scare me with idle threats.”

“Oh?” Pi Batian’s voice was dark and cold. “In that case, don’t blame me for this, Brother Feng.”

Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo could hear the sounds of battle erupting from the neighboring suite, followed by cries from Feng Mian. Both of them frowned and glanced at each other, but they didn’t plan to intervene.

The unplanned encounter was so sudden, so abrupt, that Li Mo and Yun Ruoyan didn’t dare act in case it was all a trick to lure them out. It was evident from the sounds next door that Feng Mian was no match for Pi Batian. Pi Batian was fighting seriously, and Feng Mian’s cries filled the room.

But, regardless of how Pi Batian tried to wheedle, entice, or persuade Feng Mian, Feng Mian refused to budge. Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo were both impressed by his endurance: neither of them was all too familiar with Feng Mian, but they knew he wasn’t particularly talented. However, under Feng Yanyang’s guidance, he had still developed into a respectable young master.

“Young Master Pi,” Rong Yueshan suddenly called out. “Young Master Feng is still useful to us, and beating him to death would be a waste of our efforts in capturing him.”

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