Chapter 27: Imminent Danger
"Shattered Ice Manor! They're from Shattered Ice Manor!"
Qin Lie tightened his brows with an extremely heavy heart. The moment he saw them arrive, his final doubts were also resolved.
The Feng Family and Shattered Ice Manor were in cahoots, so of course they wouldn't fear Nebula Pavilion taking revenge on them. When the deed was done, the Feng Family could even join Shattered Ice Manor and completely detach themselves from Nebula Pavilion.
Perhaps they had already been in contact with each other for a long time, but had just kept it well hidden under wraps until now.
A Fiery Solar Jade Mine was just too valuable, so valuable that the Feng Family could no longer stay their hand. Even if they were to expose themselves, they would do everything in their power to help Shattered Ice Manor snatch the mine for themselves!
A string of thoughts raced through Qin Lie’s mind as he ran back towards the canyon at top speed. Strangely enough, he actually calmed down while listening to the wind sweeping past his ears.
Just like Nebula Pavilion, Shattered Ice Manor's martial practitioners comprised Hall Masters, Elders, and Manor Lords.
Normally, Hall Masters were composed of early stage Natal Opening Realm practitioners and Elders were all at mid stage Natal Opening Realm. Additionally, a single elder would normally have two or three Hall Masters serving under them.
If Shattered Ice Manor had sent an elder after them, then they must have brought their Hall Masters along as well, and if another fifty to sixty Refinement Realm martial practitioners were added into the mix, even without the Feng Family's assistance, there were more than enough people to destroy them all! The Ling Family, the Gao Family, Liu Yan and his men, everyone!
From the way Shattered Ice Manor was coming after them, it was pretty clear that they would do anything to seize the Fiery Solar Jade Mine for themselves. They would never allow any word of it to leak out.
It also meant that the moment they arrived there would be a bloodbath, and not a single man would be left alive!
Even if the Ling Family, the Gao Family, and Liu Yan combined forces, there wasn't the slightest chance of them winning this fight. Their only hope was to escape the canyon as quickly as possible before Shattered Ice Manor’s martial practitioners arrived!
Qin Lie's brain spun faster than ever before as he ran. Now that they were at the crossroad between life and death, he no longer had any plans to continue acting like a fool. He would have to use everything in his arsenal to survive this crisis.
He hid a bitter smile in his heart. If only he could've figured out that the Shattered Ice Manor was Feng Family’s reinforcements sooner, he would never have taken this risk and have instead informed Ling Yushi to escape with the other Ling Family members two days prior.
Unfortunately, no battle plan survives contact with the enemy. Not only were the elites of Shattered Ice Manor coming after them, they were also led by an Elder. In an instant, they were forced to the verge of despair.
The martial practitioners of the three families all camped at three different directions in the canyon. Everyone was asleep beneath the night sky.
Because this place was slightly remote and the fact that there hadn't even been a single encounter with a spirit beast, no one had the mind to put people on night watch thus far. There were only a few defensive traps that were set up around camp.
Skillfully avoiding the traps, Qin Lie made his way to the Ling Family's camp. The Ling Family’s martial practitioners were all divided up, two people to a tent, and he was the only one who had a single tent to himself.
Most of the Ling Family’s martial practitioners were clumped up in one place, and only Ling Yushi and Ling Ying resided slightly further away because they were women.
He quietly crept towards Ling Yushi and Ling Ying's tent before making just a tiny bit of noise…
"Who is it?"
Ling Yushi alertly asked and pulled at Ling Ying who was also in the tent. Both of them were only wearing thin cottonwear when they poked their heads up drowsily.
Then they took a glance at Qin Lie and suddenly froze. Both their eyes immediately lit up with surprise!
Under the night’s sky, Qin Lie stood outside the tent alone and made a shushing gesture, signalling both of them to remain silent.
Not long ago his eyes had seemed like they would stay vacant for all eternity. But now they were both completely bright and clear like a pair of cold stars beneath the moonlight. He was naturally good-looking in the first place, but at this very moment, he looked so handsome that it was almost devilish. The sight caused both Ling Yushi and Ling Ying's jaws to fall open, feeling as if they had fallen out of reality.
"I must still be dreaming..." Ling Ying whispered to herself and rubbed her eyes, looking like she was trying really hard to wake up.
Ling Yushi had known that Qin Lie was more than he seemed since long ago, so she quickly calmed down after zoning out a little. She smiled lightly while looking at him with starry eyes, and asked, "So, what are you planning to do in the middle of the night?"
"Let me in first." Qin Lie looked around until he was sure that everyone was asleep before speaking in a low, serious tone, "Martial practitioners from Shattered Ice Manor are coming. At most, they'll be arriving in an hour, and if we don't make a move soon enough, then every Ling Family member in this canyon is going to die."
The moment he said those words, Ling Yushi's pretty face abruptly turned pale white. Ling Ying was covering her mouth in shock as well as she appeared to have finally woken up completely.
She stared at Qin Lie like he was a monster. At this moment, Qin Lie was a total stranger in her eyes, completely different from the Qin Lie from before.
"Get inside!" Ling Yushi instantly made up her mind and forcefully pulled Qin Lie inside. The moment she covered up the tent, she asked urgently, "What's going on?"
Within the tent, Ling Yushi and Ling Ying pressed against each other with messy hair and eyes filled with great doubt.
"Gao Yuan, who was supposed to return and report back to the Gao Family was killed a long time ago; I found his body by accident. If my assumptions are correct, he was most likely done in by that person from the Feng Family who had left later. Fiery Solar Jade is far too valuable; the Feng Family must have betrayed you all. I was scouting outside just now, and I saw fifty to sixty Shattered Ice Manor martial practitioners coming our way with an Elder at the front..."
Qin Lie explained quickly without heed to the surprised look on their faces, then said, "There's no time. We have to leave this place right now or none of us will be left alive when those Shattered Ice Manor martial practitioners arrive."
Because Ling Ying was still terribly shocked by the sight of a speaking Qin Lie, she could not immediately calm herself down and consider the grave matter that Qin Lie had just revealed to them.
But Ling Yushi had already figured out long ago that Qin Lie was not ordinary and quickly adjusted herself. The moment Qin Lie finished, she felt as if she had fallen into ice, and with fear and shock leaking from her eyes, she urgently asked, "Do you have any hard proof that it was the Feng Family?"
Qin Lie shook his head.
"If we don't have proof, then we cannot accuse the Feng Family, and if we aren't careful with our words, the Feng Family might even turn it around and cause both the Gao Family and Liu Yan to suspect us instead." Ling Yushi burned with impatience, feeling that every second wasted was a step closer towards death. She yelled, "What do you think we should do?"
"If you don't want to see the Ling Family annihilated, then you should withdraw immediately! If you're afraid that the others would suspect us, then... tell them that I've gone missing somewhere in front of the canyon and that you and the rest of the household are looking for me!" Qin Lie didn't hide his intentions and decisively said, "The way back has already been cut off by Shattered Ice Manor, so the remaining path is to go through the canyons and enter deep into the Arctic Mountain Range!"
If the Silver Winged Demon Wolves were to return to Celestial Wolf Mountain, they would also be returning from deep inside the mountain range. This meant that if they moved towards that direction, then there was a very high chance that they would run into the wolf pack.
Which was exactly what he needed right now.
"Shouldn't we inform Liu Yan and the Gao Family?" Ling Ying finally recovered and stared straight at Qin Lie as if she were re-acquainting herself with him all over again. "If we don't inform them and your assumptions are correct, then wouldn't we be leaving them for dead?"
"Even if we told them, they might not necessarily believe us. Worse still, the Feng Family might even realize that something is amiss and drag us into the mess. We won't be able to leave the canyon immediately." Qin Lie frowned and said in a low tone, "Also, we have a higher chance of survival with them covering our backs. At the very least, they could slow down Shattered Ice Manor..."
Both Ling Yushi and Ling Ying’s hearts turned frosty, and they stared at Qin Lie with a strange look the moment they heard those words.
"Okay. Qin Lie, please proceed to the Arctic Mountain Range right now, and once you're gone, I'll wake Ling Feng and the others up to go searching for you!" Ling Yushi gritted her teeth, aware that there was no time to hesitate at a critical moment like this. While she was speaking, she had already taken out a pen and paper and swiftly wrote something.
"Got it." Qin Lie nodded his head, lifted the blinds, and exited the tent immediately.
"Oh my. First Miss, you're so bad! You've fooled us all!" Ling Ying exclaimed softly with glowing eyes. She said, "It's like he's a changed man the moment his eyes lit up! Not only is he incredibly handsome, he's so, so..."
"What?" Ling Yushi impatiently shot her a glance.
"So attractive!" Ling Ying finally found the adjective and questioned in a sweet tone, "How is this possible? Isn't he only fifteen years old?"
"Foolish girl! We have a crisis on our hands and you're thinking about this?" Ling Yushi shot her a glare. She then gave her a few instructions before walking out of the tent and woke up Ling Feng, Ling Xin, and the others one by one. She told them that Qin Lie had gone missing and requested their help search to for him together.
Ling Xin and the others were deep asleep, so they were incredibly unhappy to begin with when they were woken up from their dreams. The moment they heard that it was to find that idiot Qin Lie, their complaints and anger immediately increased tenfold, and if it wasn't for Ling Yushi's reputation, they would've exploded with curses already.
The commotion was loud enough to wake Liu Yan, Gao Yu, and Feng Yi from their sleep, and when they confirmed the situation, they too cursed loudly that it would be a given if the idiot turned up dead later. They even told the Ling Family to keep it down as much as possible and not disturb their sleep.
"Let's go. Bring your weapons along just in case we need them," Ling Yushi ordered, and ignoring the grumbles of her people, she began leading the way deep into the canyon.
There was nothing they could do, so they followed Ling Yushi while cursing Qin Lie on the side and gradually left the camp site.
"Everyone, follow Ling Ying and leave this place as quickly as possible!" The moment they pulled away from the other two families, Ling Yushi abruptly turned around and shouted with an extremely serious look.
"First Miss, what's going on?" Ling Feng was the first to notice something was amiss.
"No time for questions. Ling Feng, you will lead everyone else with Ling Ying and escape at full speed deep into the Arctic Mountain Range!" Ling Yushi loudly ordered.
"Big Brother Ling, I'll tell you later, so bring your men over already!" Ling Ying beckoned him over.
Ling Feng, Ling Xin, and the rest of the Ling Family all wore doubtful expressions on their faces, but they obeyed her orders nonetheless and swiftly left the canyon.
Ling Yushi stayed at the very back of the group. It was only until after they had retreated for a while that she pulled out the arrow that she had prepared some time ago, aimed, and then fired it at Liu Yan's tent. A letter had been tied to it.
The arrow flew over with a piercing sound. The expression of Liu Yan, who hadn’t fallen asleep yet, changed when he heard the noise and flipped open the blinds with a start.
The arrow landed right in front of his tent.
Liu Yan's face turned cold for a second, but then he noticed the letter on the arrow and immediately grabbed it to read it. A single glance was all it took for his face to lose its color as he exclaimed in a low tone, "Gao Yu!"
Gao Yu's tent was closer to his, so upon hearing his call, he immediately rushed over with a cold look in his eyes and asked, "I heard an arrow. Who was it?"
"Big Brother Liu, what's going on over there?" Although Feng Yi was a bit further away, he too vaguely heard the vague sound of a piercing arrow. He wasn't too sure about the it and could not help but call out in askance.
"It's nothing. Those Ling bastards woke me up and I couldn't sleep, so I got out to stretch my body a little."
Liu Yan replied with a strange look on his face before signalling to Gao Yu meaningfully. The moment the two of them entered his tent, he immediately passed over the letter Ling Yushi sent over to Gao Yu.
"Gao Yuan is dead. The Feng Family has colluded with Shattered Ice Manor, and they plan to seize the Fiery Solar Jade Mine for themselves. An Elder and his team from Shattered Ice Manor is on their way, and they will enter the canyon in about an hour."
It also took Gao Yu only a glance to feel his entire body turn cold, and his already cold eyes burned with a terrible chill.