Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Like a rainstorm, arrows were launched from outside the second palace door and transformed into an oppressive sheet of black cloud that seemed to whizz through the air and clouds, shooting straight for the lonesome pair.
The fine steed let out a wretched cry before collapsing, its body turning into a honeycomb in the blink of an eye.
Yun Hen leaped up into the air, his body forming a fish-like arc. The light on his sword danced as it formed a sturdy wall that kept the arrows out of Meng Fuyao's way. He activated his sword, turning into a whirlwind that revolved around her endlessly and blocking everything out.
Yan Lie, who was guarding the third door and General Pei, who was guarding the second, were both reputable martial artists with keen eyesight. It took them only one second to recognize that the youth had engaged a paramount technique that morphed sword into breath, solid and tough. Shock was evident in their faces, but a cold smile emerged soon after.
Everyone knew that controlling a sword with one's inner energy over a long period of time was basically suicide. With such a method, one would at best lose a significant amount of his skills or at worst, lose his life.
Yan Lie gave a mocking smirk ––– 'going at it with your life?' He turned his head away, the cold smile never leaving his lips.
There was nothing on Yun Hen's mind at this point, except for his mission to protect her. He had dragged her into this, and his conscience wouldn't allow her to lose her life between these palace doors.
Amid the howling of the bitter-cold wind, the arrows continued raining down, before getting deflected in all directions like specks of starlight blossoming in the dark sky.
Under the bright starlight, the youth's face appeared as white as snow, like that of his clenched teeth. In contrast, his lips were blood-red.
He brandished his sword, dancing and manipulating its movements... it was as if he was in a trance. His arm had long gone numb from the intense motions, so all he could rely on was his mechanical instincts.
All his focus was on Meng Fuyao, and he could no longer care about himself. A cold, staggering arrow shot forcefully toward him, breaking his barrier and piercing into his shoulder blade. It was an ache that drilled straight to his heart.
Having been suppressed by his energy, Meng Fuyao was able to lift her head up at that moment. Her complexion was a few shades fairer than Yun Hen's, and her eyes were strong and sparkly as usual.
Illuminated by the bright, unshaded moonlight, her eyes were no different from the glistening stars.
Yun Hen lowered his head to revel in the splendor of the girl's translucent, teary eyes. Because she was usually fearless and unyielding, the moist sheen in her eyes shot yet another arrow into his heart.
He bit down on his teeth, not daring to give her another look. Instead, he returned to deflect more arrows in spite of the fresh blood splattering from his shoulder wound, as if unable to sense the pain. The spiraling gust carried a tinge of red now, turning into a secure mobile screen that kept out danger.
Nevertheless, he was only able to block the arrows coming from the front and not the back. He snatched a quick glance behind, catching the side of the imperial guards that were in close pursuit and merely a few steps away. As the pair advanced closer to the front, the bowmen retreated and were replaced by an army of men that squatted on the ground with black rifles rested over their shoulders, aiming them at Yun Hen and Meng Fuyao.
Yun Hen's heart sank, subconsciously diving in front of Meng Fuyao.
He knew he shouldn't have done it but using his blood was the only way to compensate.
Yun Hen's heart tightened as he stared into Meng Fuyao's brilliant, star-like eyes.
At the same time, the sky darkened.
Yun Hen was startled, thinking that he was about to faint from being exhausted until he heard a low growl overhead. It was deep and sounded like a clap of thunder, rumbling down the layers of cloud and reaching the tip of his head in the blink of an eye. What arrived next was an intense bolt of lightning.
Yun Hen lifted his head, instantly sensing the darkness above as a dark cloud descended, storm-like, from the city gate tower. Amid the thunder rolls, a booming voice emerged.
"I'm here to kill!"
"I'm here to kill!"
His voice was earth-shattering, enough to evoke shudders from the thousands of soldiers. With a simple jerk of his palm, he summoned a massive rock from thin air and broken it into pieces. The rock fragments whizzed through the air, not toward anyone in particular. As the soldiers were stunned by the sudden turn of events, the rock bits shot down, bolt-like, right into the gun barrels, effectively blocking them. Some smaller pieces of flew right in, triggering blank shots, whose recoils led to bloody wounds on the gunmen's shoulders.
Without even looking at his doing, the man made a flip, his black cloak twirling in the wind as the imperial guards standing behind Yuan Zhaoxu rolled about in pain.
In a low voice, Yuan Zhaoxu called out, "Who is it?" He raised his palm upward, colliding with the opponent's, but was evidently the slightly weaker one. He staggered backward a few steps, which shocked the guards silly and made them hesitant to take action. After all, they had just witnessed the death of their comrades, and it was clear the visitant had the upper hand.
The assailant answered with a smile, "An assassin. Anyone's welcomed." With that, he made another flip and landed before Meng Fuyao. As Meng Fuyao struggled to get on her feet, he thrust his palm forward and pressed her down before waving a finger and laughing. "Sorry, woman, you can have your energy back."
His voice was as sturdy as his chest, and it carried a certain unimpeded wildness, which Meng Fuyao immediately recognized as belonging to Zhan Beiye. There was no need for her to feel his embrace to do so since no one else had such a crude way of speaking.
Meng Fuyao's whole body loosened and she no longer felt as though there were invisible shackles that tied her down. A familiar surge of inner energy rose from her pubic region, speedily completing an operation cycle. Meng Fuyao was first relieved, then overjoyed, and then furious. She whipped her head around, slamming her fist right up his nose.
Not expecting her to bite back right after he had done her a favor, he was completely caught off guard. Blood flowed down instantly, coloring his face red. He looked rather pitiful at that moment, and Meng Fuyao was unable to contain her laughter. After a few snorts, she restrained herself and turned to look at the blood-soaked youth, and then at Yuan Zhaoxu, her eyes narrowing.
Yuan Zhaoxu initiated a smile before turning around to Yan Lie, who was rushing over with a stern look on his face. Yuan Zhaoxu stumbled forward a little, seemingly affected from the earlier blow.
Yan Lie extended his arm to provide support, to which Yuan Zhaoxu responded with a faint smile.
His smile swayed and twinkled under the moon and stars, producing an absolutely captivating dream-like visualization, in which misty spring flowers, creek water, and fine sand gathered. Reflecting the sunlight at different angles, the rippling water appeared exceptionally glittery.
His gaze was so dazzling that Yan Lie could feel his own conscious mind rippling in layers and turning into fluffs of cloud and mist, almost ceasing to exist.
The imperial guards rushed forward as Yuan Zhaoxu made a light leap over Yan Lie's body. He said while laughing, "Aye, what a pity. I think the assassin has poisoned him."
Zhan Beiye covered for Meng Fuyao and Yun Hen as he charged forward, his eyes falling upon the wound on her shoulder. Due to the force of his movement, it had split open once more, and blood had started surfacing.
His gaze then fell to her skirt, on which drops of blood stain resided. Zhan Beiye frowned, seemingly frustrated, as he retrieved an exquisite jade bottle from his pocket and reached another hand out to tear the cloth over her shoulder.
"What are you doing!?" Meng Fuyao hissed.
He froze, and Meng Fuyao spotted the thing in his hand, immediately snatching it over and adding in a harsher tone, "Attending to my wound at a time like this? I'll keep this with me and accept your apology."
Zhan Beiye stared at her as she righteously slotted the bottle into her clothes. It was a skin medication of the highest quality that belonged to the royal family of Tiansha. It was something even the princes had difficulty obtaining. Somewhat amazed, he touched his nose and was shocked to see the blood on his hand afterward. It made him feel rather cheap.
The entrance of this lady into his life had brought nothing but chaos. Matters weren't matters anymore, and Zhan Beiye wasn't Zhan Beiye anymore.
Meng Fuyao repeatedly turned her head around, to which Zhan Beiye snapped. "What are you looking at?"
"None of your business."
Zhan Beiye pursed his lips as the blood below his nose started congealing and appearing rather comical. "No need to look. It's a double act."
"Knew it, you're not that great," Meng Fuyao commented. Yuan Zhaoxu had already turned the other way, but with his hands behind his back, he gave her a wave that she couldn't decipher.
Sourness filled her heart. That man was so hard to grasp, and events seemed to have unfolded the way he had planned. How scary...
Before she could complete her thought, the trio had already charged through the second door. The situation was urgent, and bows were no longer effective.
General Pei waved for his gunmen to take aim.
Pei Yuan shrieked, "What's the point? Do you think 500 over guards aren't enough to take you three down? Don't forget about General Fang's troops–––"
At that, she stopped. The father-daughter pair exchanged looks, finally realizing that Fang Minghe's army hadn't entered the second door.
Pei Yuan turned abruptly, opening a small gap and looking out of the door. She could vaguely see a commotion going on among the troops. And the first door, which was already opened, shut suddenly. She couldn't tell what was going on.
Distracted, she had failed to notice Zhan Beiye's advance toward General Pei. When she did rush forward to assist, she realized that Zhan Beiye had executed a fake move. He whizzed around, just in time to catch Pei Yuan as she pounced forward.
Hands against her throat, Zhan Beiye laughed, "Eh, why are you getting dumber and dumber, woman?"
General Pei had miscalculated the situation, and upon seeing his beloved daughter being trapped, the fury within him surfaced through his pencil-straight brows. As he was about to call for guards to rescue her, a black shadow flashed past him. The next moment, Meng Fuyao's whip caught up. Keeping a distance, she flung it relentlessly to the left and to the right and to the left again. Her movements were so fast that many shadows were cast by her whip and it was impossible to detect which was real. He could only dodge non-stop, further and further away from Pei Yuan.
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