Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
The archer's unbuckled pants sat around his ankles, and thanks for the moonlit sky, Meng Fuyao was able to get a clear view of his hairy legs from on top of the wall.
"Ahah!" Meng Fuyao laughed, tumbling back to Yuan Zhaoxu's side.
She fiddled with a silk tape. She had used it to hook around the arrowheads from earlier as she knew that she wasn't his match.
Meng Fuyao laughed irrepressibly as the conceited fellow urgently pulled his pants up. "I was being lenient earlier. Be arrogant again, and I'll go for your little fellow down there, and not your pants."
She pulled Yuan Zhaoxu, who had remained passive all this while, along, smiling, "Let's go."
The moment she turned she heard the man howling and snorting in anger. After that, an explosion of what seemed like millions of stars erupted in the sky. It rose up the faraway sky, so glorious and brilliant, before breaking the surrounding darkness. The movement of light was too fast for the naked eye to observe, and it filled the whole of earth within a split second.
Meng Fuyao caught a glimpse of it out of the corner of her eyes and was shocked by its pervasive splendor. It was so attention-grabbing that one would momentarily forget everything.
In just a moment the bright ray had arrived before her eyes.
Where it rose, Yuan Zhaoxu whipped around suddenly.
He was always so calm and gentle, but when he moved, it was indescribably fast, even more so than the bright ray. His body spun non-stop, his sleeves fluttering powerfully, and a white light flashed across the darkness. A convulsive windstorm had been summoned.
Dead silence took over.
The moonlight flowed down the perimeter wall, illuminating an alley outside. From a blind corner popped a slender, jade-white arm and a set of fingers, between which a pentagonal flower rested.
It resembled an ice sculpture, translucent and sparkling, and its every corner flicked with eternal starlight. It was shockingly beautiful yet paling in comparison to the exquisitely carved hand.
Despite the individual's body being concealed by the darkness, the hands basked under the glorious moonlight. One was fair, long and placed in a beautiful pose, its flower a killer weapon, and the other was graceful, calm and slightly disdainful.
At that moment, under the moon, the delicate fingers grasped the flower noiselessly.
All living things immersed in the long stretch of silence, but the windstorm roused by the pentagonal flower was suppressed by an equally powerful energy coming from the finger. Two comparable forces collided, forming small whirlpools that rolled up spirals of wind.
The wind rose, blowing the veil off Meng Fuyao's face away and allowing the moonlight to shine down onto it.
The stars in the vast skies seemed to have gushed right into the youth's eyes. Her pure, springwater-like eyes exuded an abundant magnificence that could light up the world of mortals and the boundless seas.
Her raised brows created the most delicate and charming arcs, no different from two crescent moons or even the beautiful dance poses found in the highest of heavens.
A new disk of moon seemed to have risen from this dark alley.
By the wall, the individual's gaze hardened as greed and awe flashed across his long and narrow eyes, to the extent he had momentarily forgotten about how Yuan Zhaoxu's flower had damaged his trump card.
Within the line of sight of the man on the wall, the hand with the flower moved abruptly.
With a light but swift fling of his finger, the pentagonal flower floated into the air, drawing a strange arc across the sky before exploding into a massive flower which instantly shrouded the man.
The man was alarmed. He understood the effect his trump card, when fully unleashed, would bring. Hence, it led him to disregard his identity and fall backward.
A short while later the sound of a heavy object dropping to the ground was heard. It was imaginable that the miserable opponent hadn't been able to control his body.
Yuan Zhaoxu retracted his finger, and the spot in which the pentagonal flower was held flickered a greenish-black light, quickly getting covered by his falling oversized sleeve.
Lord Yuan Bao wriggled out from Yuan Zhaoxu's robe and squeaked. Yuan Zhaoxu shook his head, smiling. Then, Lord Yuanbao turned to Meng Fuyao, throwing her an angry stare.
Not understanding, Meng Fuyao stared back at him. 'What's he angry for? Menopause?'
Yuan Zhaoxu looked at her as well, his brows slightly knitted. He hadn't expected Meng Fuyao's true appearance to be revealed today.
She let out an embarrassed laugh and touched her face. "I was plotted against two days back and had an acne outbreak. Not going to add stuff to my face anymore so..."
Yuan Zhaoxu smiled and pulled her out of the alley. "Try not to reveal your true appearance in the future. Especially not to that guy from earlier."
"Who is he?"
"General Guo Pingrong, the man who had built the nation's army. He's one of the best around, and he holds control over the political affairs between Wuji Nation and the southern tribes. He was born into a poor family. He started as the captain of King De's Scarlett Wind Team. Later on, as affinity had it, he was taken in as a disciple of Fang Yimo, the ninth strongest martial artist possessing the Holy Starlight Hand. The Splendor of Heaven and Earth is one of the rarest legendary skills that only a few have completely mastered. In the previous True Martial Arts Meet Guo Pingrong had gotten fourth place with it. After that, he became a general, whose skill level is safely within top 10 in the whole of Wuji Nation and even the world.
"What about you?" Meng Fuyao crooked her head and asked while a mischievous smile surfaced. "You broke his Splendor of Heaven and Earth with a simple reach of your hand. What position do you hold, then?
Her smile had blossomed like a charming flower, so fragrant and sweet. Mixed in it were pureness, cuteness, and maturity. Yuan Zhaoxu looked at her, his usually deep eyes were noticeably brighter and softer, but he remained quiet as he held her hand.
Meng Fuyao was stunned. Upon looking at their hands, she couldn't help but blush, temporarily forgetting what question she had just raised.
Yuan Zhaoxu's gentle breeze-like voice drifted into her ears. "Be careful. Guo Pingrong's a petty and lecherous fellow."
"Lecherous..." Meng Fuyao repeated sluggishly, recalling what the finger from before was but she had yet to process and react.
"... it's late now, shall we sleep?" The nasty man leaned closer and spoke in a suggestive tone.
The midnight alley was dead quiet, but a cheery yet slightly angered growl broke the tranquility. "Gangster!"
The moon cast its glow down onto a wall corner, vaguely revealing the silhouette of a young lady raising a leg up and throwing a fake kick at the man standing opposite of her. She took to her heel immediately after, dancing about like a carefree butterfly.
She walked away, and the faint smile on Yuan Zhaoxu's face gradually dissipated. A black figure appeared suddenly, from behind him, and bowed. "Master, your injury..."
Yuan Zhaoxu lifted his hand, revealing his finger, which was now colored a layer of greenish grey. "No worries," he assured calmly.
Gazing toward the direction Meng Fuyao had departed, he added with a serious expression, "Guo Pingrong's becoming increasingly dishonorable, recklessly using such a symbolic skill to deal with a girl, and poison? Is this how a worthy disciple should behave?"
His back was straight as a bamboo, his sleeves moving effortlessly with the wind. The black-cloaked man automatically took a step back and gave a deep bow. His master rarely got angry, and he had even speculated that there was nothing in this world that could agitate him. Now that his master was radiating such a solemn aura, he could be certain that Guo Pingrong's move had effectively triggered him.
After some thought he let out a forced smile, adding, "He was born into a poor family after all; his rowdiness is innate, and his inclination toward evil is destined. He is otherwise capable and, like the rest of King De's subordinates, loyal toward the imperial court.
Simply smiling as a response, Yuan Zhaoxu only spoke some time later. "Send someone to protect her as much as possible."
"But let her handle whatever she is able to."
"I'll be in isolation these few days. Fang Yimo's Splendor of Heaven and Earth is no small matter. I can't let my guard down, so I'll leave the other matters to you guys."
Yuan Zhaoxu turned back to where Meng Fuyao had left, before getting on his way.
The black-cloaked man stood still for a long while, directing a complicated gaze forward as he recalled a line his master had said a long time ago.
"I hope to see her grow up and fly high with the boy, carefree amid fights and struggles of the vast world. I don't want her to be a canary, protected by a set of powerful wings, forever unable to experience the thrill of gliding through the storm or understand how to pursue her own beliefs."
It was obvious to Meng Fuyao that the atmosphere within King De's residence was unusual.
Since the night of Guo Pingrong's appearance, upon a brief exchange between himself and King De, the latter had ordered men to bring him around the residence, where he scanned his shiny pair of long, narrow eyes across everyone. Because of that, Zong Yue had ordered Meng Fuyao not to leave the house. From that, it was clear that the matter was serious. Not only did she heed his warning, she even disguised herself as a yellowish, flat-chested fellow. She was so unremarkable that Guo Pingrong hadn't bothered throwing her a glance at times they had passed by.
One day, Meng Fuyao headed to Zong Yue's herb garden to gather some ingredients. She pondered over Guo Pingrong's determined attitude on the way down, almost certain that the man whose pants she had pulled down was in the residence. She figured that leaving as soon as possible was the best option, and she had known it for a long time, but free food and accommodation were too good to pass.
Of course, there was another reason that she wouldn't admit – Yuan Zhaoxu. He hadn't shown himself for the past few days, and she was worried that it was due to her abrupt departure that night. She knew that he was a man of remarkable knowledge and abilities, and wouldn't normally get into an accident, but what if?
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