The Pi and Feng swordsmen were all fighting in one massive brawl. They were mostly ninth-rank blademasters with a few eighth-rank ones mixed in, and the use of all sorts of spiritual techniques quickly turned the peaceful night into one colored with flashes and explosions.
The swordsmen that Pi Batian had brought with him were all excellent fighters. Despite the fact that the Feng swordsmen were well-trained, they still fell short. Half of the Feng guards had died within fifteen minutes, and the Pi swordsmen drew closer to the carriage.
When Li Mo noticed what was going on beneath him, his face turned anxious. With a wild stab, he forced Pi Batian to retreat, then immediately rushed to the carriage to protect Yun Ruoyan.
Pi Batian also descended to the ground, where he immediately launched a wide-range attack to kill another five Feng swordsmen. The already weakened Feng forces grew even more strained.
“Finish the fight, quickly!” Pi Batian commanded. The Pi swordsmen charged toward the carriage even more ferociously than before, forcing the Feng swordsmen right against it. Li Mo stood by the carriage, striking at any of the Pi swordsmen who dared to get closer.
After Pi Batian killed another three Feng swordsmen, he cracked his whip directly at the carriage. The splintering wood finally gave out, and the carriage was obliterated by the strike.
The red figure, still so eye-catching in the darkness of the night, was curled into a ball. She cradled her head with her arms, sitting still and trying to protect her body from the strikes that were being launched every which way.
When Pi Batian saw that Yun Ruoyan’s entire body had been revealed, he was certain that his plan was near fruition. Given how concerned Li Mo was for Yun Ruoyan, Pi Batian knew that, as long as he could capture Yun Ruoyan and use her as leverage, then Li Mo would give up fighting as well.
“Bind Li Mo,” Pi Batian commanded. Of the fifteen Pi swordsmen remaining, three continued to fight against the last five Feng swordsmen, while the others all struck at Li Mo at once. Fireballs, icicles, vines, and rocks all flew toward Li Mo. None of the techniques were potent enough to harm him, but they were sufficient to distract him while Pi Batian leaped over Li Mo’s figure and triumphantly grabbed the red body behind him.
“Yun Ruoyan, you’re mine now!” Pi Batian crowed, revealing an arrogant smile on his face. He grabbed Yun Ruoyan’s wrist with such force that an ordinary cultivator’s wrist would have broken, but the red figure didn’t seem to exhibit any sign of pain. Instead, he found the wrist he was grabbing exceedingly hard and tough.
The moment Pi Batian grabbed the wrist, a male voice spoke by his ear, “Pi Batian, long time no see!”
Along with the voice came a mud-yellow flash right by his side, followed by a deep, bone-wrenching pain in his left arm.
“Argh!” Pi Batian groaned in pain as the mud-yellow sword once again struck at his body. Pi Batian gritted his teeth and bore with the pain as he took to the skies. When he finally drew away from the carriage and looked down, he saw that the red figure, whom he had thought to be Yun Ruoyan, was actually a man.
Qin Feng stood tall and sturdy on top of the splintered carriage. He threw off the red gown he was wearing, revealing a swordsman’s attire. He held a great broadsword in one hand, and the remnant of Pi Batian’s arm in the other, as he shouted to the air, “Pi Batian, today, I’ll exact revenge for the students and instructors of the beastmaster institution of Kongming Academy!”
Then, he swung his sword and chopped Pi Batian’s arm into mincemeat.
Pi Batian’s left arm remained mentally connected to his body through his spiritual energy. When Qin Feng chopped it up, the unbelievable pain overwhelmed his senses, driving him into a frenzy. The logical decision would have been to run, but in his fury, he instead began trying to strike Qin Feng with his whip.
By then, Li Mo had already dealt with the remaining Pi swordsmen. When he saw Pi Batian attacking Qin Feng furiously, he immediately leapt up onto the remnants of the carriage and blocked Pi Batian’s attack.
The scarlet whip was blocked by Li Mo’s blue-green sword as their gazes met.
“You’ve lost!” Li Mo shouted.
“Not necessarily,” Pi Batian gritted out, his eyes turning red in pain and fury. “Don’t think this cheap trick will fool the others. Master Shade’s headed her way with more than two dozen swordsmen. My father’s dealing with the black-robed man, and I’ve trapped you here. Do you think Yun Ruoyan can escape from Master Shade’s grasp?”
Li Mo’s eyes turned cold. “In that case, it looks like I’ll have to deal with you as quickly as possible!”
Li Mo and the others had planned for Yun Ruoyan to hide while Qin Feng dressed up as her to lure Pi Batian and the others out. However, during his surveillance, Master Shade had found out that Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo would frequently visit Feng Yicheng’s manor. Although he didn’t know about their plan, his many years of infiltration had caused him to suspect that something was amiss. As a result, he had proposed a backup plan, which had received Pi Batian and Pi Yan’s approval.
He had Pi Yan and Pi Batian follow Li Mo’s carriage. If nothing went wrong, they would easily be able to capture Yun Ruoyan. On the other hand, Master Shade would bring another troop of swordsmen to lay an ambush around the outskirts of Feng Yicheng’s manor, just in case.
Not long after Master Shade began lying in wait, he saw Feng Yicheng escorting Yun Ruoyan into his manor. When they were all inside, Master Shade infiltrated the manor with his troop of swordsmen, easily killing all of Feng Yicheng’s personal guard.
Yun Ruoyan, Feng Yicheng, and Zhuo Yifeng, who had been assigned to protect Yun Ruoyan, were sitting in the guest room, waiting for Li Mo and the others to arrive, unaware of Master Shade’s infiltration.
“There’s no need to worry.” Feng Yicheng noticed that Yun Ruoyan was sitting straight up in her seat, her fingers tightly interlaced and her thoughts clearly occupied. “My uncle will handle Pi Yan. As for Pi Batian, he’s so obsessed with capturing you that your decoy’s sure to work.”
Yun Ruoyan nodded. This was a plan she had proposed after long moments of thought, and it had met with everyone’s approval. Her preference was to remain in the carriage and face the danger with Li Mo, but she knew that she would just be a burden at her level of cultivation. The farther she was from Li Mo, the safer he would be; similarly, Yun Ruoyan’s safety was Li Mo’s foremost priority.
“Shh,” Zhuo Yifeng suddenly whispered toward Yun Ruoyan and Feng Yicheng. He was standing by the doorframe and peering outside.
“What’s the matter?” Qin Feng whispered back.
“Someone’s coming, and not just one.” Zhuo Yifeng marched to Yun Ruoyan’s side and turned to Feng Yicheng. “Is there a secret cellar or room in your manor? Go hide Ruoyan there.”
“Don’t bother. None of you will escape,” a hoarse voice suddenly called out from outside the door. A cold wind blew into the room, chilling the gathered trio. A shred of black fog coalesced into human form.
“Master Shade!” Yun Ruoyan called out.
“Mute woman, you’re not going to call me your master anymore?” Master Shade chuckled.
Feng Yicheng and Zhuo Yifeng both stood in front of Yun Ruoyan, blocking her from Master Shade’s sight. With one shout, Master Shade summoned a dozen swordsmen who had infiltrated the mansion with him. Another dozen remained by the periphery of the manor, forming a second line of defense.
“Seize Yun Ruoyan and kill the other two!” Master Shade commanded, and the dozen swordsmen all rushed toward Zhuo Yifeng and Feng Yicheng. Before they could get closer, however, Master Shade let out a pained scream and retreated a few steps, his gnarled claw smoking.
When Master Shade had tried to grab ahold of Yun Ruoyan, she rapidly drew her Scarlet Eye and blocked Master Shade’s attack, causing him to hit the sword. The scorching heat of the Scarlet Eye, particularly effective against incorporeal creatures, severely burned Master Shade’s claw.
“My Scarlet Eye’s the nemesis of creatures like you. It won’t be so easy for you to catch me!” Yun Ruoyan held the Scarlet Eye in front of herself as she stared at Master Shade, not daring to let her guard down.
Master Shade had witnessed Yun Ruoyan’s surprising talent despite her cultivation. She had managed to injure Pi Yan and escape from his grasp even with a significant cultivation penalty. The fact that she had evaded capture from Pi Yan, Pi Batian, and even himself for so long marked her as an opponent to be wary of.
When Master Shade thought carefully about these factors, he gave up on approaching her himself. Instead, he retrieved a black bottle from his robes and uncorked it, released a black gas into the air. Slowly, it coalesced into a humanoid figure in front of Yun Ruoyan—it was Yun Ruoyan’s shade, which she had sent against Master Shade.
Yun Ruoyan frowned as she saw her shade hovering in mid-air. It had disappeared ever since that fight, and she suspected that Master Shade had somehow captured it. Now that she was seeing it again, her heart sank.Previous Chapter Next Chapter