Hua Zhu Yu couldn’t understand Ji Feng Li’s actions. While she was thinking it over, the dungeon door suddenly opened, drawing the attention of both her and the guards.
Someone was approaching.
The person walking ahead was dressed in complete black and Hua Zhu Yu recognized him right away. It was Tang Yu of Southern Kingdom. In contrast, the person descending the dimly lit stairs behind him was dressed in complete white.
The flickering light of the torches hung upon the side of the walls illuminated parts of his face as he descended.
Though his expression could not be clearly seen, his deep ink eyes were especially bright as they silently assessed her.
She was shocked, not daring to believe that Ji Feng Li was actually here.
Inside the dungeon were about a dozen or so guards. Upon seeing him, they all reached for their weapons and charged forward but none of them even had the opportunity to graze his clothes for Tang Yu had stepped forward to block their paths. With a flicker of his sleeve, countless pink petals were released.
The sudden appearance of sprinkling petals filled the muddled dungeon with a sweet, intoxicating scent.
Having been trained on the battlefield for many years, the guards all determined this scent was poisonous and held their breaths, but even still they collapsed to the floor. What they didn’t know was that Tang Men’s poison was colorless and scentless. If a smell could be detected, then it wasn’t poisonous. The guards were in fact poisoned by the droplets of water that adhered to the petals. When the petals were released, the water had also shot out, sticking to their skin, permeating into their bodies.
Standing behind the cell bars, Hua Zhu Yu was still in a state of disbelief. Why were Ji Feng Li and Tang Yu here? Was it to get rid of her, a Northern spy? She couldn’t figure it out and continued staring in Ji Feng Li’s direction, who somehow managed to radiate with brilliance as he glided through the mist of petals to eventually stand before her.
This scene was truly dazzling!
So dazzling in fact that Hua Zhu Yu felt it was surreal, she had to be dreaming. However the throbbing pain in her shoulder was a clear reminder that she was very much awake.
Ji Feng Li was actually here!
Did he attack Yangguan City and break into the dungeon all so he could find and kill her? It couldn’t be. She knew that much when she saw his lips curve in a beautiful smile, rendering it impossible to look away.
She didn’t know why he was smiling but when he saw her, his expression was that of happiness and relief.
A barred cell door stood between them. Within the cell, she looked at him with doubts in her eyes while he continued to carry that light smile. His brows slightly knitted as his gaze faintly swept over the injury on her shoulder.
Tang Yu took the keys from one of the fallen guards and quickly went to unlock the door.
“Follow me,” Ji Feng Li said, still smiling.
“Alright,” Hua Zhu Yu faintly replied. She didn’t know what else to say because he spoke in such a gentle irrefusable tone. Then again she had planned to leave as quickly as possible so she had no intentions of refusing to begin with.
Tang Yu took the lead while Hua Zhu Yu and Ji Feng Li followed behind.
Tang Yu had already eliminated the guards outside the dungeon. A bed of petals were left behind to stir in the wind.
In the cold gloomy night, three figures proceeded along a narrow winding path, rushing towards the back entrance of the residence. Along the way, they met a few patrolling guards. They eluded a few and Tang Yu used his poison to take care of the rest.
Hua Zhu Yu silently wondered just how many petals he had hidden in his sleeves. She felt that this method of taking the enemy’s life was quite beautiful.
They finally made it to the back entrance when suddenly a noise pierced through the silent night followed by the sound of heavy footsteps. A team of armored Northern soldiers stood blocking their way and leading the team was Northern Emperor Xiao Yin.
Attired in a body of purple, he appeared all the more towering and grand. His purple hair was fixed high atop his head and amid the illuminating lights of dozens of burning torches, his face was callously beautiful.
“How unexpected of Left Chancellor to personally come and rescue a minor soldier. This Emperor is truly surprised! Moreover, for the sake of a minor soldier you actually used the tactic of threatening the east while striking the west(1). This truly isn’t a bad plan. If this Emperor hadn’t felt that your sudden attack was too rushed, I would’ve led my troops to defend the city walls,” Xiao Yin said, his tone sharp and imposing.
translations at peachblossomgrove . com
Hua Zhu Yu was shocked, not daring to believe what she just heard.
Xiao Yin’s sudden appearance did indeed give her a scare but his words were even more frightening. He said that the Southern Army’s abrupt attack was a diversion created to rescue her!
She didn’t believe it!
How could she believe it?!
Ji Feng Li had no reason to go through all that to rescue her! But she couldn’t ignore the fact that he did indeed rescue her from the dungeon just moments ago.
Still in a state of shock, she looked over at Ji Feng Li but he paid no attention at all for he was looking at Xiao Yin with narrowed eyes.
A sudden heaviness descended in the air as the two men stared at one another, leaving the surrounding tense and suffocating.
In that moment, Ji Feng Li reached for the fan at his waist and with a pa, the fan opened. “If Northern Emperor finds it strange, then this Chancellor shall explain. This person currently works in the Chancellor’s Residence. He has something important in his possession. This Chancellor rescued him merely to take it back. Since it’s been retrieved, the person is no longer of importance. If Northern Emperor wants to keep him, then this Chancellor shall leave him behind,” He said with a bright smile, alleviating the tense atmosphere.
Hua Zhu Yu was at a loss for words. How come she didn’t know she was in possession of something important to Ji Feng Li? She felt that Ji Feng Li was only saying this to convince Xiao Yin that she was insignificant to Southern Kingdom but in fact he didn’t have to do this at all, for she wasn’t of any importance, not to anyone.
Xiao Yin laughed with his head hung backwards. “Leave him? Left Chancellor daren, you actually think you can leave? Not just him, but all of you, no one is leaving tonight!”
Upon hearing this, Tang Yu flung his sleeve and a shower of petals were released, flying directly towards Xiao Yin.
Xiao Yin unsheathed his sword and wielded it, creating a whirling force that pushed the incoming petals back towards Ji Feng Li.
Ji Feng Li’s lips lifted in a smile as he brandished his fan, scattering the approaching petals to the ground.
“So Left Chancellor daren was actually a hidden martial expert. Since you’re already here, we should exchange some pointers(2),” Xiao Yin coldly challenged as he pointed his sword at Ji Feng Li.
Hua Zhu Yu realized that Ji Feng Li no longer had the intentions of concealing his martial skills.
“This Chancellor isn’t interested in exchanging pointers, but if there is a prize, then this Chancellor is all ears,” Ji Feng Li slowly said with a smile.
Ji Feng Li’s arrogance aroused Xiao Yin’s interest. A cold glint flashed in his eyes as he narrowed them, saying “Alright, if Left Chancellor daren defeat this Emperor tonight, this Emperor shall let you all leave the city unscathed. How’s that?”
“Northern Emperor is truly valiant. One word and it’s settled (3)!” Ji Feng Li folded his fan and said.
“One word and it’s settled!” Xiao Yin coldly reiterated as he lightly stroke the blade of his sword.
Hua Zhu Yu’s heart was racing. The events that transpired tonight were beyond her expectations.
She didn’t expect Ji Feng Li to come to Yangguan city, nor did she expect Xiao Yin to actually meet Ji Feng Li and have a duel.
She knew that Ji Feng Li’s martial skills were high and unfathomable. Xiao Yin’s skills weren’t lacking either and had even improved recently. If they were to exchange pointers it would indeed be exciting to see.
Those present also had the same thoughts. All the soldiers stepped back and cleared out of the way along with Hua Zhu Yu and Tang Yu.
The spacious backyard cleared, leaving only the two men remaining.
The night sky was dark as ink while the lit torches burned brightly.
Though they were enemies on the battlefield, in this martial duel of exchanging pointers they carried themselves with utmost courtesy, saluting one another with their fists before stepping back.
Xiao Yin clenched his sword tightly as loose strands of his purple hair swayed in the breeze.
Ji Feng Li calmly stood there, his wide-sleeved robes playing in the wind. With a shake of his hand, the fan opened. He gazed back at Xiao Yin with a smile but his eyes were as piercing cold as a blade.
Xiao Yin’s hand shook with an explosive force as he charged towards Ji Feng Li, wielding his sword.
Ji Feng Li created distance between them and jumped back. His internal force was formidable and his whole body became light as a cloud. He folded the fan and employed it to block Xiao Yin’s swift sword attacks.
A clashing ring resounded. Hua Zhu Yu wondered what material his fan was made of that it could withstand Xiao Yin’s sword. If it was a normal fan, it would’ve already been split in half.
Ji Feng Li leapt backwards but Xiao Yin pursued closely like a shadow and continued to attack. Ji Feng Li lightly turned his body and evaded Xiao Yin’s attacks with ease. When he saw an opportunity he quickly advanced and thrust his fan towards the acupoint on Xiao Yin’s back.
The two figures revolved around each other, one in white robes that fluttered like rays of light and the other in purple robes that flashed like lightning. Xiao Yin’s swordsmanship was brilliant and he had astounding internal force. His every strike and attack was full of strength making it hard for one to follow. As for Ji Feng Li, his skills were like his temperament, calm and composed. No matter how sharp Xiao Yin’s attacks were, Ji Feng Li was able to easily block them.
Carefully assessing the duel, Hua Zhu Yu felt that it was hard to determine who was better.
Suddenly Ji Feng Li jumped onto Xiao Yin’s sword and used it as a springboard to push himself up in the air. With his white robes swirling around him he completely unfurled his fan before abruptly switching directions and accelerating downward.
His speed was so fast it created multiple illusions of his body, making it hard to discern which of the images was the real him.His skills were so astonishing that it frightened Hua Zhu Yu. She hadn’t expected his martial arts to be such a high caliber. His fan was aimed right at Xiao Yin’s back. She knew Xiao Yin wouldn’t be able to dodge it as he was caught off guard.
“Be careful!” Hua Zhu Yu couldn’t help but exclaim.
Ji Feng Li’s brows wrinkled and the hand charging with the fan slightly paused, leaving Xiao Yin the chance to evade the attack. He rolled forward on the ground and then turned around and instantly stabbed his sword right into Ji Feng Li’s left side.
Hua Zhu Yu was appalled and she covered her mouth. Ji Feng Li turned around, his bright eyes were burning straight through Hua Zhu Yu.
Xiao Yin slowly pulled out his sword and Hua Zhu Yu could see the blood ebb and flow, staining the white robes a crimson red. Hua Zhu Yu anxiously looked at Ji Feng Li but his gaze had already shifted elsewhere.
Tang Yu gave Hua Zhu Yu a resentful look, questioning, “Are you foolish or just don’t want to leave this place?” He then quickly strode over to Ji Feng Li’s side.
Hua Zhu Yu slowly followed behind Tang Yu.
Ji Feng Li covered his injury with his hand. On his lips was a faint, weak smile, “I don’t know if Northern Emperor still wants to continue exchanging pointers?”
Xiao Yin looked at him then shook his head, saying, “This Emperor admits defeat. If it wasn’t for his warning, perhaps the person that lost would be me. You all should quickly leave. Tomorrow we shall meet again on the battlefield.”
“Alright,” Ji Feng Li replied and left with the assistance of Tang Yu.
- Idiom for creating a diversion
- Formal way of saying ‘let’s fight’
- Idiom for ‘it’s a deal’