Without hesitation, Yun Ruoyan leaped down from the tree.
The bald eagle rushed into the dense foliage, finding that its prey had since vanished. Its large body was encumbered by the thick branches, and in its struggle to get free, petals and leaves showered down the tree like rain.
Just like a petal, Yun Ruoyan seemed to float to the ground, catching the eye of Li Qianxiao from his nearby palanquin.
“It’s the assassin, the assassin’s over there!” Seeing her, the captain of the guards immediately directed his subordinates in her direction.
“Protect the Crown Prince!” shouted the beast tamer, and the two guards by the prince’s side immediately stood at attention.
By this point, Yun Ruoyan had been surrounded by all twenty or so of the patrolling guards. Luckily, she’d managed to veil her face with a handkerchief, so that her identity hadn’t been exposed.
“Surrender yourself!” thundered the captain of the guards.
Without saying anything, Yun Ruoyan quickly clawed at the closest guard, but he responded quickly and raised his sword in time. Just as her palm was about to touch the tip of his sword, she quickly condensed her spiritual energy on one finger and directed it at the blade.
Yun Ruoyan had used a considerable amount of energy on this blow. Although the guard was a sixth-rank blademaster, he clearly hadn’t expected such a petite girl to be able to condense spiritual energy outside her body and attack with it.
After all, that was a skill most people could only manage at peak seventh-rank!
He felt a huge wave of spiritual energy travel through his sword and into his body, as if needles were pricking at his heart.
With a terrible moan, he let go of the sword in his hand, and Yun Ruoyan quickly snatched it up.
Although she remained surrounded by over twenty guards and two even stronger ones by the prince’s side, Yun Ruoyan didn’t feel any fear.
After all, she had the Feilai Blade as well as the power of the bracelet, so her life would certainly be safe. The key was to keep her identity secret!
“Guards, attack as one!” The twenty or so guards charged in simultaneously, and Yun Ruoyan’s pink dress fluttered elegantly as she dodged and weaved.
Yun Ruoyan’s original talent for cultivation had been incredible, but she hadn’t been able to use that power to its fullest due to the poison and her mental frailty.
But after her rebirth, this suppressed talent had finally had a chance to bloom. Every fight seemed to make her stronger, to allow her to use her skills to their full capabilities.
This was why, even encircled by twenty blademasters who were fifth-rank on average, Yun Ruoyan didn’t seem to be on the losing end.
The beastmaster had already rescued the bald eagle from the tree and returned to Li Qianxiao’s side.
“Is that girl truly the supposed assassin?”
The beast tamer stroked the feathers that had been ruffled amidst the struggle as he responded, “No, Crown Prince, that assassin was male, and with an incredibly high level of cultivation. This girl only seems to be seventh rank.”
Li Qianxiao narrowed his eyes. “Take her alive.”
A thin warrior immediately relayed his order in a voice that belied his appearance.
The twenty guards surrounding Yun Ruoyan couldn’t help but groan. The girl they’d encircled was no doubt stronger than they were, and her sword quick and fierce. Despite her veil, her eyes seemed to glitter, as if she could see through their every stance and block their attacks before they could come to fruition.
“Prince, these guards are no match for her! Why don’t you let the Bald General fight?” The summoner called out.
Li Qianhan was silent for a moment as he observed the fight. Eventually, he relented. “Let it go, but make sure it doesn’t scratch her face.”
The beastmaster smiled crudely as he acquiesced. As he raised his arm, the Bald General flew off as if it couldn’t wait to sink its claws into its prey.
It flew high up into the sky before extending its claws and swooping downwards.
Just as Yun Ruoyan had fallen into a fast, invigorating tempo, Qiuqiu suddenly warned her, “Mistress, there’s danger above your head!”
Yun Ruoyan slashed with her sword, and four guards retreated against her blow. Then she raised her head and saw the eagle approaching, its two claws glinting in the sunlight.
“Go, Feilai Blade!”
Yun Ruoyan’s eyes gleamed as the Feilai Blade appeared in front of her, before manifesting as a beam that shot straight at the eagle.
The eagle, bisected mid-flight, burst into a mist of blood.
“My Bald General!” On the palanquin, Li Qianxiao slapped his thighs and called out pitifully.
The remaining guards were all dazed by what had just happened. Did this girl really just bisect that terrifying eagle in two with her gaze alone?!
Was this girl’s cultivation so extreme that she could already strike at a foe a considerable distance away, with pure spiritual energy?
When the guards looked back at Yun Ruoyan, they did so with fear.
Yun Ruoyan herself found that the Feilai Blade was able to respond far more accurately to her desires. When she was only fourth rank, she’d had to point it at a certain location with her finger, but now a single glance or thought was enough! It was almost as if the blade was an extension of her body.
Qiuqiu quickly commented, “Mistress, the Feilai Blade’s a legendary weapon, far superior to ordinary high-grade spiritual weapons. As your cultivation progresses, it’ll also grow stronger, and this is only a fraction of its true strength.”
Hearing Qiuqiu’s words, Yun Ruoyan couldn’t help but close her eyes and sense the Feilai Blade in her mind.
“How did General Tu die?” Li Qianxiao blinked a few times, but no matter how he pictured the bald eagle’s attack in his mind, he had no idea how the girl had managed to vanquish the beast just like that.
“Crown Prince, I don’t know either!” Clearly, one of his subordinates was equally mystified.
“Mistress, while they’re all in a daze, let’s flee!” Qiuqiu reminded her.
Yun Ruoyan opened her eyes and nodded. She leaped, then pushed off a guard’s shoulder as she fled into the woods, her body as graceful as a swallow’s.
“Captain,” asked the guard who’d had his blade stolen by Yun Ruoyan, “Should we give chase?”
The captain of the guards looked back at him and growled out, “If you want to chase her, you do it!”
One of the crown prince’s guards glanced at the direction in which Yun Ruoyan had vanished. She was clearly only a seventh-rank blademaster, so where had that attack that had bisected the Bald General come from?
“What’s that?” Li Qianxiao pointed at a tree by the forest and commanded one of his guards, “Pick it up and bring it back.”
The guard ran in the direction that Li Qianhan pointed out and saw a lotus-leaf shaped gauze hanging on a tree branch.
Upon taking the gauze from the guard’s hands, Li Qianxiao sniffed it and quickly became entranced by the faint womanly fragrance that emanated from it. Again turning to his guard, he commanded, “Tell my second brother to find me another Bald General, a more obedient one this time.”
At the same time, Li Mo’s figure was shrouded amidst the topmost branches of another tree. He’d seen the commotion that had just occurred, and his icy-blue eyes narrowed underneath his hood.
Yun Ruoyan’s appearance had caused the northern perimeter to be in disarray, and Li Mo was able to escape from the hunting grounds quickly. Meanwhile, Yun Ruoyan followed her original path back through the gully, unseen by the guards who had continued patrolling the perimeter.
Not fifteen minutes later, she returned to where she had been.
“Mistress, where have you been? We were all so worried after not having been able to find you!” Xi Lan quickly approached her mistress as she saw her emerge from within the forested area.
“Me? How about you?”
“But I’ve been right here all this time…” Xi Lan tilted her head in confusion. “Mistress, what happened to the gauze on your face?”
She’d really been tricked! Ignoring Xi Lan’s question, Yun Ruoyan’s sharp eyes glared directly at Yi Qianying and her servant.
Yi Qianying found herself unable to laugh, the handkerchief in her hands clutched so tightly it could rip at any moment. By her side, He Xiang’s face went pale.
“Ruoyan, where have you been?” The Yun matriarch looked toward Yun Ruoyan, her tone somewhat severe. “Young Master Pei thought that you might have entered the hunting grounds by accident. He went off in search of you with one of his men, and he still hasn’t returned!”
“Grandmother,” Yun Ruoyan hurriedly walked toward the Yun matriarch and knelt by her side, burying her face in her lap, her voice choking with emotion. “Grandmother, you have to support me!”
“What’s the matter? Are you alright? Calm down and tell me all about it, Ruoyan, I’m right here for you.” The Yun matriarch was shocked by Yun Ruoyan’s sudden gesture and hurriedly tried to comfort her. Only then did Yun Ruoyan raise her head, tears streaming down her face.
“Grandmother, someone tried to frame me! Please, help me get justice!”
“Who dares!” The Yun matriarch tenderly wiped away Yun Ruoyan’s tears as she continued. “Ruoyan, as the sole wife-born daughter of the Yun family, whoever dares to harm or scheme against you is disrespecting the entire family! Don’t you worry, I’ll stand up for you!”
In her heart, the Yun matriarch was actually particularly fond of Yun Ruoyan. After all, she was her direct descendant. It was simply that the previous Yun Ruoyan had been too weak to handle the heavy responsibility of a wife-born daughter.
The scions of the Yun family would be carefully groomed for the family’s benefit, and anyone that stood out would have more responsibility and more power.
The Yun Ruoyan of the past certainly wouldn’t have been able to handle any such responsibility, and even though the Yun matriarch doted on her, she was forced to cut her adrift.
This was why she’d always turned a blind eye to Madam An and Yun Ruoyao and Yun Ruoyu when they tried to bully Yun Ruoyan.
But now, it was different. Yun Ruoyan’s talent in cultivation, at least, had returned. Despite having been expelled from the family’s academy, she had even gained the right to enter the imperial territory based solely on her own efforts.
This had greatly changed the Yun matriarch and Yun Lan’s perception of her.
Moreover, she had even recovered a saber-toothed tiger’s inner core, as well as the qualifications to enter Kongming Academy. These accomplishments cemented her role and position in the Yun matriarch’s heart.
But now, when such a girl, who had once been discarded and stood back up with her own power, suddenly came crying to her, asking her for her support, the Yun matriarch’s guilt and pity for her granddaughter welled up immediately.
She caressed Yun Ruoyan’s face. At this moment, even her birthmark didn’t look so unpleasant.
“Ruoyan, tell me who tried to harm you!”
Yun Ruoyan turned toward Yi Qianying and her maid, pointing a finger straight at the duo. “It was her!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter