Book 1: Winds Begin to Blow in Tai Yuan
Chapter 30 – Drawn Swords Oppress Each Other
Following the yell, from the far distance sprinted over two men. The figure of the one leading was tall and large, and wore guard commander insignias. The other had thick eyebrows and a heavy beard, wearing bright and high-quality robes.
The moment Pei Yuan saw that the person at the back was her future father-in-law, Duke Yan Lie, her facial color changed, and she hurriedly tore off a section of her sleeve to cover her face.
That yell was from the person leading in front. Running closer, he frowned and ordered, “All of you withdraw! What are you doing causing such a disturbance!”
When the guards saw their immediate superior speak, they all awkwardly withdrew their weapons. Pei Yuan’s two brows jumped while she slowly turned, and said deeply, “High Commander Iron, are you accusing me of causing a disturbance?”
“I do not dare.” Deputy Guard Commander Iron Ashdesert bowed neither subserviently nor rebelliously, his voice sonorous. “Princess’ orders, I do not dare disobey. Only that, the person that Princess has commanded my guards to point their weapons at, is not someone that this subordinate can move. Would Princess, seeing that my life is also a life, please slightly hold back your anger.”
“Him?” Pei Yuan turned, giving a sidelong glance at Zhan Bei Ye. The corner of her mouth turned up in a scornful smile. “What is he supposed to be?”
Iron Ashdesert slightly lowered his head and frowned a little, but his tone was still calm. “Princess, this is his highness Fierce Prince from the Nemesis Dynasty, and is the Emperor’s guest. You are being discourteous.”
“You —” His words made Pei Yuan choke her words back. She wanted to rage, but hesitated a moment. This person was an upright man, and the number one expert of the Tai Yuan palace. He was very principled, and if she offended him, it would be too late for her to regret her decision.
In a blink she saw that Yan Lie had already arrived as well. This was her future father-in-law, and Pei Yuan didn’t want to recklessly lose her temper in front of him. Controlling her fury, she angrily glared at Iron Ashdesert, then went over to pay her respects to Yan Lie.
Yan Lie’s eyes swept over her tightly wrapped face cover, then looked away. Standing still and smiling while stroking his beard, he acknowledged Pei Yuan’s greeting. Pei Yuan straightened her waist. The normally arrogant her was not displeased because of this greeting that didn’t match their respective statuses, but instead showed a hint of a smile – since the Yan family patriarch accepted her greeting, wasn’t this the final acknowledgement that she was his son’s fiancée?
Yan Lie observed her, and pleasantly laughed, “Princess, today is the Emperor’s royal birthday, don’t get entangled in these unimportant matters. It would be ill-advised to ignore the bigger picture.”
His voice was calm, but his smile seemed to contain a deeper meaning. The two words “bigger picture” were especially emphasized.
Hearing this Pei Yuan’s heart jumped, only now recalling her purpose in coming here; knitting her brows, she was a little annoyed at herself for forgetting about proper business the moment she saw Meng Fuyao. Speaking of Fuyao, it seemed like just now she didn’t hear Meng Fuyao making any noise at all?
She seemed to remember seeing Meng Fuyao tumble into the flowers and bushes underneath the stairs just then, and not appear after that. Then she and Zhan Bei Ye confronted, and Iron Ashdesert hurried over. In the exchange of words and clashing of swords, she actually forgot about that woman.
At this time Zhan Bei Ye also thought of Meng Fuyao, and with a cold humph sound he followed the trail of blood stains from Meng Fuyao’s previous tumbling. Passing through a patch of flowers, his thick eyebrows suddenly jumped.
The blood marks behind the shrubs were still there, but where was Meng Fuyao’s figure?
A sneer came from behind, and Pei Yuan gusted over like the wind. Seeing no trace of Fuyao at all, her expression turned extremely ugly, and she hatefully said, “With me here, you won’t be able to run far!”
Zhan Bei Ye turned at once. Because his movements were too abrupt, it brought his sleeve to swing out, with a “pa” sound hitting Pei Yuan’s face. Pei Yuan only felt like a steel board had just swept over her face, and even her eyes went black. She heard Zhan Bei Ye’s frigid, deep voice that was like ice. “I’m warning you, there are still nine holes, and every time this Prince sees you once I will give you one. If you dare to even touch one of her fingers, I will pierce a hundred holes on your entire body. This Prince doesn’t kill woman, but I can make an exception for you!”
With a swish of his sleeve he snapped, “This Prince has no time to bother with you. This debt, I’ll remember!”
Pei Yuan held her face and raised her head. Just when she wanted to give a retort, Zhan Bei Ye lifted his sleeve in yet another burst of wind, with a “pa” impacting the right side of her face and making her stagger to the side. With that, Zhan Bei Ye’s figure flashed, and he had already gone far away ———-
“Hey, hey hey ——–”
“Be gentler, gentle ——-”
“Hiss … are you saving me or butchering me?”
Muttering constantly sounded in the darkness. Two pairs of brilliantly radiant eyes shone in the gloomy space, with one pair belonging to the hapless Meng Fuyao.
Just then, she had tumbled down the steps and into the flowery brush. Before she even had time to crawl up, two iron-like hands pulled at her all of a sudden, and then her body fell, dropping into a center of a lightless deep well.
With great shock Meng Fuyao wanted to resist, but the other side covered her mouth and shook his head, indicating that she shouldn’t make noise. The web of his thumb was slightly coarse, clearly a male martial artist’s hand, but from the chilly palm came a faint incense fragrance that only upper-class men used. Only after Meng Fuyao signaled to the other that she wouldn’t act rashly did the man release his hand. Looking around, Fuyao discovered that this was a secret room, the most likely guess being that it was originally a dry well that connected to a secret passage that was later sealed off. There were flowers planted above it, and when she had tumbled into the brush, the person hiding inside the well took the opportunity to pull her in.
Realizing that the other side didn’t have any harmful intentions, Meng Fuyao only then let out a held breath. The man suddenly pulled her shoulder over, ripped a few strips of cloth from his own sleeves with “chi chi” sounds, and with a couple swift and forceful movements finished wrapping up the wounds on Fuyao’s shoulder.
Caught off guard, Meng Fuyao let out a couple shouts. Before she could finish her exclamations that man had already loosened his grip, and silently turned away.
His back figure was skinny and straight, sunk into the obscure shadows like a tree made of jade. Seeing Meng Fuyao quiet down he walked a couple steps forward. Some faint lines of light pierced in, outlining the man’s wide shoulder, skinny waist body, still a youth.
Watching that back figure, Meng Fuyao thought it looked a little familiar.
Lifting her head to look around she knitted her brows. For some reason she had never liked dim, claustrophobic spaces, only wanting to leave.
Yet at that moment the man looked back. He had a very eminent, conspicuous face. His eyes were like deep lucid ancient springs, and his facial color was faintly pale, making one think of the snow-accumulating, never-melting mountain glaciers of the distant Heaven’s Court. His gaze was a mysterious dimness that was desolate and penetrating, containing the depth of thousand ren deep whirlpools, and the brightness of a sky full of star fire – inside the extreme dark chill was strangely flickering the scintillation of starlight.
Meng Fuyao immediately inhaled sharply.
Those eyes … she had seen before!
At the Profound Origin sword sect, the day after she broke up with Yan Jingchen, she had battled with a black-clothed youth when she returned to the sect. With a look backwards, a bewildering hidden eye, and a speck of never-extinguishing star fire exploded in her vision.
She never forgot.
Unexpectedly, today she actually met him in a secret passageway somewhere in the Tai Yuan imperial palace.
The youth stared at Meng Fuyao, then suddenly said, “I just saved your life. Now you have to do me a favor.”
His voice was chilly, like thin ice sheets that collided with each other on a frozen pond. So cold, it distanced others a thousand li away.
“Huh?” Meng Fuyao widened her eyes, what was with this guy’s logic? When did her life need his saving? Zhan Bei Ye definitely wouldn’t just sit there and watch her be killed. She was the unlucky one who was grabbed by him and pulled into the dim well, and the result was that she owed him a life debt now?
Furthermore, him furtively hiding in here with his expression solemn, meant that whatever he wanted help with was almost certainly some kind of important, life-or-death thing. She Meng Fuyao wasn’t some fool who liked to be cannon fodder.
Narrowing his lips, the youth observed her expression. Without saying another word, an unsheathing noise sounded as a long sword flashed with bright light, already resting on Meng Fuyao’s neck.
Biting cold qi came from the sword tip, and the blade’s edge was clear like autumn water. The murderous aura radiating from the sword seemed like sharp needles that flew scattering out, piercing Fuyao and causing her to almost close her eyes.
“I don’t beg, and don’t like to repeat myself. If you don’t go, I’ll kill you!”