Chapter 243: The Confusion
Translator: Sparrow Translations Editor: Sparrow Translations
“Is it a gift from Prince Chong Yun?” The Azure Clouds Grandmaster was a little surprised and asked to confirm the fact.
Elder Tribe Leader Xiao did not want to patronize the Azure Clouds Grandmaster and hurriedly tried to explain.
According to Elder Xiao, Prince Chong Yun took special care of the Xiao family. With his support, the Xiao family’s prowess improved day by day. They dominated the other reputable families in Wuzhou that were previously competing with them to create a hegemony in the region.
Xiao Yan suddenly realized that something was wrong. He peered at his grandfather and asked, “Grandfather, you’ve reached the Aurous Core stage? I almost failed to notice.”
Before he left Wuzhou in the company of Lin Feng, Elder Xiao was only in the final levels of the foundation establishment stage. Even though he had already consolidated and refined the crucible, old age robbed him of his energy and livelihood, thus severely hindering his chances of advancing to the Aurous Core stage.
Elder Xiao seemingly understood what Xiao Yan meant and laughed as he said, “Prince Chong Yun bestowed upon me the Barrier-breaking Elixir and the Sky-piercing Elixir. Thus, I managed to break through the bottleneck to advance to the Aurous Core stage after consuming those pills. Furthermore, it was a green one.
Upon hearing his words, there was no change in the Azure Clouds Grandmaster’s expression, but a little bit of gloom could be seen in his eyes.
“Prince Chong Yun must have discovered the planned marriage with Yanran. Yet, from the looks of it, he doesn’t want to ruin his relationship with the Celestial Sect of Wonders,” the Azure Clouds Grandmaster thought to himself. “Perhaps giving the Xiao family preferential treatment was just a measure to compensate Xiao Yan.”
“However, it is a problem if he simply wants to form a rapport with the Celestial Sect of Wonders and he has no thoughts about leaving Yanran as a mistress.”
Prince Chong Yun agreed to the marriage but the bride had disappeared. Even if it were the Sword of Radiance Sect, they had to contemplate the consequences for releasing the Crown Prince of the Great Qin Empire’s dove. If Prince Chong Yun declined the offer of marriage, then the pressure from the Great Qin Empire would be non-existent. Even so, Lin Feng and Xiao Yan’s return to follow through with the battle was another problem altogether.
The Azure Clouds Grandmaster was fraught with agony and anxiety while the corner of Lin Feng’s mouth curved upwards into a faint grin.
There was something weird with this smile.
“Indeed, the Great Qin Empire does not intent to challenge me outright or force the issue. I just thought the idea was originally that of their new prime minister.”
Lin Feng still harbored some suspicions. “How could it be Prince Chong Yun’s order?”
Lin Feng consolidated the information he obtained from all sorts of avenues and formed a vivid impression of Prince Chong Yun of the Great Qin Empire.
He was arrogant, overbearing, slightly stubborn, had a strong desire for possession and a relentless perseverance and determination to reach his goal.
These kinds of characteristics, strictly speaking, did not adhere to the standards expected by the masses.
If not for the Qin Emperor’s lack of another son, Prince Chong Yun might have had great difficulty ascending to the status of Crown Prince.
Prince Chong Yun had always been like this. After combining information from various sources over the years, the possibility of him putting up a pretence had been eliminated.
His current actions, which were conspicuous moves to strike a camaraderie with the Celestial Sect of Wonders, were at odds with his usual style, personality and way of doing things.
This confused Lin Feng a little. “Interesting. What is he thinking?”
Maybe he wished to compensate Xiao Yan for taking in Murong Yanran as his side mistress?
Or perhaps there was no intention to complete the marriage with the Sword of Radiance Sect in the first place. Maybe he just wanted to build a healthy relationship with the Celestial Sect of Wonders?
“Interesting.” Lin Feng smiled. The whole idea of coming to Wuzhou City was to glimpse the state of the Xiao family and make a judgment on the Great Qin Empire’s attitude.
Yet, there were still a little bit of confusions and contradictions about the whole thing.
If Prince Chong Yun decided to take Murong Yanran in as a side mistress and was willing to bear the burdens of the Sword of Radiance Sect after the fact, then Lin Feng would definitely continue to hold onto Murong Yanran.
The Sword of Radiance Sect had already released the Crown Prince’s dove. Let them slowly sort it out on their own.
If Prince Chong Yun never had the intention to take Murong Yanran in as a mistress, then her disappearance would be a satisfactory outcome for him. He would eventually meet with the regretful and guilty Sword of Radiance Sect, and when that happened he could display his magnanimity and tolerance to bring the Sword of Radiance deeper under his wing.
There seemed to be a layer of mist in front of Lin Feng and he could feel a flickering pair of eyes scrutinizing him from deep within.
“Is it you, Wu Qingrou, the new prime minister of the Great Qin Empire?” Lin Feng laughed softly as he deliberated.
You have your ideas and I have mine. We will see.
As per Xiao Yan’s intentions, they were just passing by Wuzhou City. Not before long, Xiao Yan bid Elder Tribe Leader Xiao farewell and they were on their way back to Xingyun Peak of the Sword of Radiance Sect.
The Azure Clouds Grandmaster became increasingly restless and worried as Xingyun Peak loomed bigger and bigger. All of a sudden, a stunned expression flashed across his face.
Initially, he thought he was just too worried and thus his senses were hindered and his rationality was compromised. The Azure Clouds Grandmaster released another stream of his psychic sense and, after careful searching, betrayed further astonishment.
He realized that Murong Yanran, whom he had been trying to find for days, was actually perched atop a small hill in the immediate proximity of Xingyun Peak; she was right under the noses of the Sword of Radiance Sect this whole time.
She seemed, however, to have slipped into a coma and she was unconscious.
The Azure Clouds Grandmaster peeked at Lin Feng. Lin Feng’s expression was still normal, as if nothing had happened or he was simply unaware of whatever that was happening.
Even though he had a stomach full of questions, the Azure Clouds Grandmaster heaved a sigh of relief. He sent another stream of his mana to the small mountain and whisked Murong Yanran away.
The Azure Clouds Grandmaster appeared composed on the surface as if nothing was happening as he showed Lin Feng around and introduced Xingyun Peak’s sceneries. At the same time, he was releasing a stream of sword Qi to stimulate Murong Yanran to wake her up.
Murong Yanran woke up to a patch of green as she was enveloped in a cloud of green mist. Within the cloud of green mist generated by his mana, the Azure Clouds Grandmaster appeared in front of her in the form of a hologram, expressionless.
“Greetings, master.” Murong Yanran said as she knelt down in front of him.
The Azure Clouds Grandmaster said plainly, “You could have just told me or Tong Ling if you are not willing to marry into the royal family. No one will force you.”
Murong Yanran had already returned to a state of composure and replied softly, “I don’t know what got into me before. I can see it now. I understand that I have committed a huge mistake and I am willing to bear whatever punishment that is necessary.”
The Azure Clouds Grandmaster shook his head. The main thing is, he found Murong Yanran and any punishment of whatever kind could be sorted out later. For now, he was concerned about something else.
“Tell me all that has happened since you left Xingyun Peak. Leave no details out.”
Lin Feng did not remove Murong Yanran’s memory of meeting him. He knew that doing so could hurt her soul and her mental state and thus could potentially leave traces of tampering behind that would have exposed him.
Even if the Azure Clouds Grandmaster could not tell, the Nascent Soul stage cultivators of the Sword of Radiance Sect could definitely see it.
Lin Feng had plans of his own. He had no qualms about the Sword of Radiance Sect knowing what had happened or was going to happen. As for their suspicions as to why he sent Murong Yanran back, he was not going to help allay them and they could guess all they want.
The Azure Clouds Grandmaster could already feel the depths of his brain hurting. He squinted at Murong Yanran and frowned as he said, “So you’re saying that the Celestial Sect of Wonders had already guessed that it was possible that Prince Chong Yun could take you in as a mistress?”
“If that’s the case, he still let you go by his own volition?”
Murong Yanran had already accepted the fact of the marriage and was more or less at peace with the fact. “Even though he didn’t expressly state that conclusion, one could infer from his tone and sentences that he thinks I should marry Prince Chong Yun.”
The Azure Clouds Grandmaster was perplexed once again. He was most afraid of Lin Feng finding out about the whole thing along with him taking Murong Yanran hostage and going up Xingyun Peak to look for her.
By the time Prince Chong Yun came around looking for trouble, the pressure from both sides would spell disaster for the Sword of Radiance Sect.
However, the fact that Lin Feng sent Murong Yanran back on his own accord perplexed the Azure Clouds Grandmaster.
“Forget it. Let’s return to the mountain first.” The Azure Clouds Grandmaster could not figure it out so he might as well not think about it. He intended to report his findings to the elders back in the mountain and brainstorm together.
The Azure Clouds Grandmaster’s silent retrieval of Murong Yanran fell into the eyes of Lin Feng. His mouth curved into a smile as he peered towards the horizon and said, “Is that Xingyun Peak?”
In the distance, a single peak that was faintly golden in color unassumingly stood out from the rest of corrugated peaks.
This golden peak did not have the majestic and staid feel like the rest. It seemed to give an aura similar to that of floating clouds.
One could almost see the cliffs at the edge of the peak morphing and changing to its environment.
Yet, Lin Feng could feel a sharp essence of swordplay within the inner sections of the peak; it was one of unpredictable change and undeniable radiance, and between the movement of the clouds there seemed to be an aura of limitless and sparkling sword luminescence.
The Azure Clouds Grandmaster smiled and replied, “This is Xingyun Peak, the mountain entrance to my Sect. After you, Master Lin.”
In the blink of an eye, a great mass of misty clouds barreled forward and immediately split apart like the dawn of the rising sun in a clear sky. A flight of stairs flashed in a streak of golden light and extended in front of Lin Feng and company.
On the other side of the staircase stood seven people. There were fat and skinny ones, tall and short ones, male and female ones, but every single one of them possessed an intimidating and overwhelming aura of mana as if it could rip the sky apart at any moment.
One could not detect any kind of hostility from them. They withheld their sword auras, but just seeing them standing there gave onlookers an immense and blinding pressure.
Seven Nascent Soul stage cultivators came forward personally to welcome their guests.
It seemed to Lin Feng that the seven elders wanted to receive him courteously and display their prowess at the same time. Lin Feng also knew that the number of nascent soul stage cultivators, including the Azure Clouds Grandmaster beside him, exceeded the number that was currently present.
Lin Feng glanced upwards. The seven individuals seemed to have integrated with the void as one and were in a state of transcendence. This was the characteristic of attaining the pinnacle mantra and achieving a high level of mastery in the Sword of Radiance Sect.
What bothered Lin Feng more was that he seemed to feel a fierce and unmoving consciousness scrutinizing him from Xingyun Peak.
The strength of this consciousness gave Lin Feng a feeling of trepidation and uneasiness. There was no doubt that the only person that could pressure him as such was the Supreme Radiance Swordmaster of the Immortal Soul stage.
Of the seven nascent soul stage grandmasters, a middle-aged and scholar-looking grandmaster smiled as he said, “We are glad to witness the arrival of the leader of the Celestial Sect of Wonders. We have been giving orders by the master of my sect to receive you. Please forgive us if there was anything of inconvenience.”
Lin Feng smiled but did not move, and looked towards Xiao Budian, who was beside him.
Xiao Budian immediately understood Lin Feng’s intentions. He chuckled and took point as he walked forward.