As like Huangfu Rui said, Cui Ying was indeed a Soul Puppet. In comparison to Ye Zhiqiu’s father, Cui Ying had been under the influence of Soul Puppetry for far longer.
It happened when Hua Yueying wasn’t even a part of the Tang. The ‘brainwashing’ consisted of her continuing her duties as Hua Yueying’s maid, but she was ready to carry out any missive of the Soul Refining School whenever called upon.
Hua Yueying wasn’t a part of a small household of soul cultivators. Members of her house were often under heavy watch so any strange behaviors could be easily seen and caught. But who would ever pay attention to an insignificant maid?
Not even Hua Yueying realized something was wrong with Cui Ying.
But the maid was only just a pawn for the Soul Refining School, one that was basically insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Given the right circumstances, however, and even a pawn could carry out the most nefarious of plots.
For example…the reason behind Chu Qingxue’s poisoning! It was because of Cui Ying that the ambush occurred!
All it took was for her to send a single message for the Soul Refining School to act. The target had actually been Hua Yueying, since she was the wife most loved by the head of the Tang at the time. However, a mistake occurred and it was Chu Qingxue that was the one poisoned.
The mission was considered a failure and all other plans fell through after that. In fact, the Soul Refining School had practically forgotten about Cui Ying after that.
The upheaval planned by the Soul Refining School and prince Hao took many many many years to plan. A small subplot like this one was negligible in comparison.
In the end, the Soul Refining School did revisit their plans for the Tang, a plan that caused no small amount of trouble for Bai Yunfei.
It was when Tang Xinyun was kidnapped and Bai Yunfei went after her. By the stroke of a pen, Mo Ni had Cui Ying activate the poison in Chu Qingxue to draw Tang Xinyun’s attention, which in turn drew Bai Yunfei’s attention.
Cui Ying wasn’t given any other instructions after that mission failed. And without those instructions, Cui Ying was left attending to Hua Yueying as was normal without ever once thinking about the Soul Refining School.
All of the above-mentioned was said by Cui Ying due to the pill she was given, but not a single person there was able to properly say a word about what they had just heard.
Bai Yunfei had never imagined that the trail would go so far back. And neither did he realize that there was such a cause behind the poisoning of Chu Qingxue.
“This…how could this have happened…?”
Hua Yueying was the most shocked. She stood there, quivering in disbelief as she stared at her maid. A myriad of emotions ran through her face, though none of which could be properly voiced by her.
Staring at the statue-like Cui Ying, whose condition was like that due to the truth pill, Bai Yunfei sighed.
“Aunty Hua, her Soul Puppetry can be undone, but however she will be treated after that…is up to you.”
Cui Ying was but a pitiful pawn that was being used. She was innocent. Bai Yunfei had neither the heart nor the hatred to kill the woman.
He turned back to Huangfu Rui then. “We’ll be counting on you, Ah’Rui.”
“Yes yes,” Huangfu Rui smiled, “It’s my pleasure to help!”
Given the gravity of the situation, no one wanted to reminisce about the old times as Huangfu Rui sought about to undoing the Soul Puppetry. Allocating her a room, they all waited for her to finish her job.
Since this wasn’t her first time doing this, Huangfu Rui found herself having a much easier time undoing the Soul Puppetry than before.
Free from the shackles of Soul Puppetry at last, Cui Ying fell into a deep sleep after that. Standing above her sleeping form, Hua Yueying was once again lost in deep thought. She was conflicted about the situation, as was Zhao Mancha and Chu Qingxue. All three of them had fond memories of the maid, so knowing that she had been a Soul Puppet for the Soul Refining School had left all of them dejected. Although Cui Ying was in the end, innocent, it was still a mercy on Bai Yunfei’s part to not kill her. If Tang Qianlei were to know about this and weigh in on the matter, her death would be for certain.
“Sigh…let’s wait for her to wake first. I’ll give her some traveling expenses and have her leave this household…”
Hua Yueying decided at long last. Calling for another maid to do as she tasked, Hua Yueying left the room with Chu Qingxue afterward.
“Sister,” She faced Chu Qingxue, “Please allow me to apologize for what Cui Ying has done. I would also like to thank you for sparing her life…”
“There’s no need for such words, sister. Am I not fine now? Her body wasn’t hers to control, I see no reason to end matters at that…”
“Thank you, sister.” Seemingly aged by several years by the matter, Hua Yueying changed the topic, “There must be so much you wish to talk with your daughter about. I am finding myself rather tired, so by your will, I will be taking my leave…”
With a nod to Bai Yunfei, the woman soon left with another maid in tow. Worried for his mother, Tang Ming followed after her.
Feeling rather down spirited by the matter, Bai Yunfei turned his attention to Tang Xinyun, “Xinyun, have a nice conversation with your mother. Li Chengfeng and I will take a stroll…Aunty Xue, I’ll pay my respects upon a later time.”
Chu Qingxue smiled lovingly at him, “Thank you for everything, Yunfei.”
“Please don’t worry about anything, aunty Xue. Please have a nice talk with Xinyun…”
Bai Yunfei watched the mother and daughter retreat into their courtyards before he finally left with Li Chengfeng. Huangfu Rui had opted to stay with Tang Xinyun and went into the same courtyard.
He had plenty to think about as he walked across the cobblestone path. Finding out the reason behind Chu Qingxue’s poisoning had been a stroke of luck. Certainly, without the ‘anti-Soul Puppet’ weapon, Huangfu Rui, they’d have never found out about it. And that only served to make Bai Yunfei more fearful of the Soul Refining School and their tactics. Without her, they’d never have known about any of this. Who knew just how many Soul Puppets there were? They could save anyone Huangfu Rui found, but what about those who weren’t? How many more deaths would be had because of these Soul Puppets? Perhaps there were still plenty of people stuck as tools for the Soul Refining School.
The Soul Refining School…the sooner they are destroyed, the better!
Bai Yunfei found himself unknowingly clenching his fist at the thought. Then he realized something else was off.
“Chengfeng, what’s wrong?”
Li Chengfeng had been oddly quiet throughout all this. Even now, when Bai Yunfei was looking at him, Li Chengfeng was also lost in his own thoughts.
Li Chengfeng blinked, “I don’t know why, but I have an odd feeling that something terrible is about to happen…”
“What!?” Bai Yunfei raised an eyebrow, “Is this another prediction of yours?”
“No, nothing like that. It’s just a feeling, but…”
Were it anyone else, like an ordinary person, Bai Yunfei would’ve dismissed such a sentence. But Li Chengfeng wasn’t an ordinary person. The premonitions of someone from the Fate School were something everyone should be cautious for.
“Something terrible is about to happen? Don’t tell me the Soul Refining School is up to their nasty tricks again?” Bai Yunfei thought to himself.
“Pah! It leaves a terrible taste in my mouth that our enemies are like this! There’s basically nothing we can do but wait until they do something…Sooner or later we’ll stamp out their nest and end this disaster once in for all!”
He slapped Li Chengfeng’s shoulder comfortingly, “Forget it, we can’t do anything if we don’t know anything. We’ll adapt with the situation and work hard to crush their plans. We were able to do it once before, we can definitely do it again a second and third time!”
The two stopped by the edge of a lake. Noting the small pavilion constructed at the center of the lake, the two strode over and sat down by the tables offered underneath it. Quickly, a bottle of wine and two cups were placed onto the table so they could drink.
Bai Yunfei wasn’t an avid drinker of alcohol, but a bonding moment between brothers like this certainly called for it.
“Yunfei,” Li Chengfeng sipped from his cup, “I won’t hide the truth. Sooner or later, the Fate School will be in a crisis, one large enough to destroy our school. I suspect this feeling of mine has to do with that, and if I’m not wrong, this crisis isn’t too far in the future. If possible, I hope that you’ll be able to help us when the time comes…”
“What? Even the Fate School will be in danger?!” Bai Yunfei cried out, shocked. “And ‘if possible’? Let’s not even talk about us being brothers, senior Ge Yiyun has helped me out a lot in the past. I’ll be sure to do all I can for as long as I’m able!”
He couldn’t help but think about the past at the mention of Ge Yiyun’s name. He had only been a vagrant back then, a nobody without anything to his name. The Bai Yunfei of back then, as ignorant of the world as he was, promised to repay the favor Ge Yiyun gave him, and now it seemed like it was finally time for that favor to be repaid.
The eyes of Li Chengfeng glistened at his words. Moved, he raised his cup up, “I’ll spare you the grateful words, Yunfei. Having a sworn brother like you is the greatest gift I, Li Chengfeng, has had. Cheers!!”
“Brothers for life!” Bai Yunfei roared with laughter, “Cheers!!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter