I performed my footwork to the extreme as I escaped. Lin Yue chased me from behind like a mad dog, unwilling to either overlook or spare me.
I deliberately lured him into the woods. The terrain there is complicated, and I would surely be able to shake him off there.
Lin Yue chased me and cursed, “Han Qingyan, you little bastard, see if I won’t hack you a thousand times!”
Having heard what he said, I ran faster, as if there was wind on the soles of my feet. Why is this old beast so unreasonable? Obviously, he was the one who usurped my position, so why is he still madly coming after me!
At first, no one could be seen and it was very quiet. I purposely ran toward the mountain, and it didn’t take long for me to find several righteous sect disciples who were fighting with the demon sect disciples.
Seeing them was like seeing my savior. I hurried in their direction at once. When I got closer, a familiar figure that was previously obstructed behind trees appeared before my eyes.
I immediately let out a sigh of relief. I decided to run toward the figure while shouting at the same time, “Brother Xiao, help me!”
I have the best understanding of Lin Yue’s martial arts. His skills are more than enough to beat me, but he can’t do anything against a real master.
Xiao Zhongnan had just killed a demon sect disciple when he heard my voice, making him turn around right then, just in time for him to catch my exhausted self who had been flying over.
He frowned and asked me in a deep voice, “Why are you here? Didn’t I tell you to stay at the foot of the mountain and not come up?”
I was panting, my expression containing a bit of pretend panic. “I’ll explain this to you later. I accidentally ran into the demon sect’s sect master. He thought that I was the one who drew you here. He was so furious that he said he would hack me a thousand times. Brother Xiao, you must save me!”
At this time, Lin Yue had already caught up and could reach us in just a few more breaths.
After hearing what I said, Xiao Zhongnan looked behind me. He squinted his eyes and stretched out his hand to shield me.
I listened and obediently stepped aside. Xiao Zhongnan resembled frigid ice, but his movements were fiery and overbearing when it comes to his martial arts. Before Lin Yue could even step forward, he leaped up to meet him, and they instantly fought against each other.
I felt a little more at ease. I was just about to heave a sigh of relief, but I didn’t expect that there would still be someone else following behind Lin Yue.
Yang Chengqi shifted his eyes after his shock from seeing Lin Yue fighting vigorously with Xiao Zhongnan subsided. When his line of sight swept over me, there was a trace of hesitation in his eyes.
I naturally knew what suspicions he was harboring, so I faced him and sent him a sign, asking him to follow me. He glanced at Lin Yue’s direction again, hesitated for a moment, and still chose to believe in me in the end.
I executed my light footwork and took him a few jumps and landings away from Xiao Zhongnan and the righteous sect’s battle area. On the surface, it appeared as if Yang Chengqi was chasing after me.
After finding a safe place where there was no one around, I stopped circulating my internal force and dropped to the ground.
“Sect Master, what is going on? It’s been a whole year; why are you back only now? We all thought you were dead.” Yang Chengqi couldn’t wait to ask me as soon as he stopped.
I knew he would have many questions he wanted to ask me, but our time is running out, and I can only try to shorten the long story.
“That day, I was besieged by the righteous cultivators and sustained an injury. I accidentally fell off a cliff while running away. Fortunately, my fate was still favorable, and I didn’t die from the fall…” I didn’t tell him about Psycho. Instead, I told him that it was a hunter in the mountain who rescued me. “By the time my body had recovered, and I was able to return to the demon sect, Lin Yue was already the newly appointed sect master, and he became intent on killing me once he saw me. I was hit by his palm attack and had to flee down the mountain. I didn’t expect to only make it halfway before encountering disciples from Hidden Sword Gate who were scouting for information…” After that, I told him all about how I was captured and then saved by Xiao Zhongnan, only hiding the complicated relationship between us.
Yang Chengqi’s eyes widened when he heard the entire thing, and his expression was full of disbelief.
“That Lin Yue was actually so audacious, daring to commit insubordination?!” He said, enraged.
I sighed lightly. “Both the old and the new inside the sect have already been his people for a long time. When I was the sect master, it was in name only, and I was just his puppet in reality. It makes no difference whether he committed insubordination or not.”
Like me, Yang Chengqi grew up in HanYiJiao, but unlike me, he was thoroughly brainwashed by his master and was very loyal to HanYiJiao.
As soon as he heard my “puppet view,” he immediately looked angry, and both his hands were clenched into fists. “Lin Yue, that bastard is actually so damned wretched! If it weren’t for him arbitrarily insisting at that time that you, the Sect Master, was dead, how could we have let him succeed so easily! Sect Master, since you’re back now, I, Yang Chengqi, will only recognize you as the sect master. Everything else is bullshit!”
However, he recognizes me, but I dare not recognize him.
I looked at him and waved my hand, persuading him, “Now that the righteous cultivators are being led by the Wulin Alliance Leader to attack us, it is only a matter of time before HanYiJiao will be destroyed. This is the Will of the Heavens, and neither Lin Yue nor I can reverse this losing battle. Quickly take the people who are willing to go with you, and don’t just throw away your life here.”
His face was pale, and it looks like the shock he received wasn’t small. “Is it really hopeless?”
I advised him once again, “There is hope as long as a person is alive. If others die, then that’s it, they’re dead.”
Hearing this, the other party’s eyes lit up, and he hurriedly nodded. “In other words, you, Sect Master, being alive is hope, and HanYiJiao will be able to make a comeback in the future!”
What kind of interpretation—? That was not what I meant ah! Who wants to make a comeback?! What on earth are you saying? Isn’t it miserable enough to be beaten once by those chivalrous righteous cultivators?!
I didn’t want to argue with him anymore. My mind was tired and I absent-mindedly agreed with him. He wasn’t hesitating anymore and I permitted him to quickly go.
“Wait!” He was about to leave when I called out to stop him, “Hit me with your palm or stab me with your sword. I need an injury to use as an excuse; otherwise, someone may be suspicious.”
When Yang Chengqi heard the first half of the sentence, his face was full of shock, but all that remained of his expression was complete reverence when I was finished.
“To think Sect Master was this thoughtful!”
I don’t know why, I obviously didn’t have any intentions to further mix with the righteous cultivators, but at that moment, he made me feel very guilty, which was contradicting.
If someone who could expose my true identity ran into me at this very moment, even jumping into the Huang He River and bathing there wouldn’t clean me1Suspicion cannot be avoided.
In the end, my left shoulder was stabbed with a sword by Yang Chengqi. Bright red blood instantly soaked the inner and outer layers of my clothing. It looks very scary, but it didn’t truly injure my vital parts.
“Alright, hurry up and go!” I clutched at the wound and lifted my chin toward him.
Yang Chengqi’s eyes were slightly red as he cupped his fist in his other hand. “Then, Sect Master, take care of yourself!” After saying that, he turned around and left.
When I saw that he was gone, I glanced at the bloody wound on my shoulder and stretched out two fingers to tap at the acupoints and stop the bleeding. Soon after, I used my footwork to find the way back.
When I finally returned to Xiao Zhongnan and Lin Yue, based on the traces left by their fight, they had fought with great difficulty, and there was already a clear winner between the two.
Xiao Zhongnan was dressed entirely in black, standing upright inside the woods with a long sword in his hand. The sharp, silver sword’s tip was still dripping blood as a dead body lay under his feet. It was my Lin-shishu.
Needless to say, Lin Yue must have resisted desperately without admitting defeat and ultimately got his wish, meeting a violent death under the great Castle Master Xiao’s sword.
I stopped ten steps away from Xiao Zhongnan, somewhat intimidated by the aura of death that covered him. His posture of ‘if the gods block his path, he would kill gods, and if Buddhas block his path, he would kill Buddhas’ almost made me think he was ill again.
“… Brother Xiao?” I tried to call him softly.
His gaze, like a sudden thunderclap, was accurately cast on me in an instant. It slammed into my heart fiercely, making me feel a little suffocated.
I can’t put my feelings into words, but the expression in his eyes at that split second was very strange, so much so that… it was mixed with killing intent. But the feeling only existed in that short period of time, and it soon disappeared as if it were just my imagination.
He pointed his sword to the ground and walked slowly towards me, with absolutely no expression on his face. I gulped, not wanting to admit that I felt frightened.
Does he know something? Was it Lin Yue who told him? What did Lin Yue say to him?
No, why am I panicking? I didn’t do anything that requires me to apologize to him. Why the heck am I so scared?
Thinking of this, I straightened my back and met his line of sight, no longer avoiding his gaze.
“You are hurt.” He walked up to me and looked at my wound.
I rubbed the bloodstains between my fingers and forced a smile. “I was stabbed by Lin Yue’s subordinate just now, but it was not a loss on my part, his injuries are no less than mine.”
He remained silent for a while, and then the hand holding the sword suddenly brandished it as if tracing the shape of a flower in order to fling off bloodstains from the tip of the sword, and then inserted the sword into its sheath.
“Lin Yue is gone, and the demon sect’s big influence is already removed. You should go back down the mountain first and wait; I’ll come find you after cleaning up the aftermath with the others.”
I keep feeling that he was a bit weird, but his words and actions were the same as usual, so I had to press down the uneasiness in my heart and promise him, “Okay, then I’m leaving. Be careful.”
He nodded and watched me leave.
After a short period of time, I turned my head back to take a quick glance at him and found out that he was still standing in the same place, gazing in my direction from a distance. Although I couldn’t see his expression clearly, I can still feel his eyes following me.
- 1Suspicion cannot be avoided