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Published at 29th of July 2020 10:52:02 AM
Chapter 271
A Bolt from the Blue


As soon as Zhang Tianhé and his party left Mount Tianlong, the rest of the Great Six's army dispersed . Some had taken off into the night sky while others had left on foot . Li Yundong did a quick visual sweep of his surroundings, sighing in relief after he did . Except for several dead bodies lying around, the area surrounding the temple was pretty much unoccupied .

It was over .

Li Yundong raised his right arm . "Come here, buddy!"

The Fan of Seven Treasures hurtled towards him from the side . He grabbed the fan's rivet and then snapped the fan close . Then, he turned around and flew back towards Cao Yi and the others .

Cao Yi dried her tears and rose to her feet as Li Yundong landed in front of the temple . Li Yundong shifted the fan on his shoulders and joined the fox spirits in their mourning for their fallen grandmaster . None of them said anything as they continued to weep .

It was a wordless lamentation, a requiem of tears .

After a while, Cao Yi sniffed and cleared her throat .

Li Yundong stepped back, wanting to give them a moment . But then Cao Yi suddenly spoke up . "Hail, Li zhǎngmén, the new Head of the Fox Zen School!"

All of a sudden, the other fox spirits filed towards him and dropped to their knees, right beside his feet .

"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hey, you—" Li Yundong shot Cao Yi a helpless look .

Cao Yi wasn't kneeling, though her body was bent forward in a slight bow . Those who were kneeling, Li Yundong realized, were the younger ones .

"Cao Yi . " Li Yundong sighed . "Let's not stand on ceremony, okay?"

Cao Yi straightened herself, looking utterly puzzled .

Li Yundong gave her a wry smile and waved at the kneeling women before him . "This isn't necessary . "

Cao Yi frowned in puzzlement . "But—"

Li Yundong cut her off by raising his hand . Then, he turned towards the kneeling women .

"Rise," he said to the women .

The women rose . Potion Girl was staring back at him with an expression of awe .

Li Yundong turned to Cao Yi again . "No more of this kneeling stuff, okay? It makes me feel so awkward . And oh, you guys should also drop the zhǎngmén while you're at it . " He smiled . "Just call me Li Yundong . "    

Cao Yi suddenly cleared her throat . "I'm afraid we must decline, Liu zhǎngmén . Such formalities must be observed . " Cao Yi bowed slightly . "You are the leader of our school now . You are our direct superior . The formalities are a sign of respect . "

But I want you girls to respect yourselves first, he added silently . These women had already proven themselves to be loyal and courageous . In his book, they shouldn't have to bow to anyone .

"Thank you," Li Yundong said, smiling when an idea occurred to him . "How about this? Let's come up with a compromise . "

Cao Yi straightened herself and eyed him curiously .

"I'll allow the zhǎngmén title," Li Yundong continued, "but I don't want all these kneeling and bowing nonsense . Deal?"

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Cao Yi's features twitched as though she'd just tasted something rotten . "That’s… agreeable, I suppose . " All of a sudden, Cao Yi's eyes went round as though she just realized that she had said something impudent . She cleared her throat . "I-I mean… As you wish, Li zhǎngmén . "

"Good . "

Cao Yi took a deep breath, then exhaled .  

"Then please allow me to properly introduce myself, Li zhǎngmén," Cao Yi said reverently . "I am Cao Yi, one of the main disciples of the Fox Zen School . Originally, there were eight of us . "

Li Yundong stared at Cao Yi blankly .

"The main disciples of the Fox Zen School, I mean," Cao Yi clarified seconds later at Li Yundong's confusion . "There were eight of us . "

"I see . "

Cao Yi nodded . "In terms of seniority, I'm ranked sixth . "

Li Yundong glanced around a few times . "Where are the others?"

A sad look spread across Cao Yi's face . She pointed at one of the corpses . "That's Mo Ahshi, the most senior disciple among us . " Cao Yi shook her head . "We recently found out that she's been dead for over nine years . "

"Yan Fang," Li Yundong said .

Cao Yi nodded, then pointed at the bag of dry bones and skin on the ground .

"That's Ye Yu, the 7th disciple . " Cao Yi lowered her finger . "What's left of her anyway…"

"Okay… What about the rest? You said there were eight of you . "

"Technically, only seven . " Cao Yi hugged her torso .

Li Yundong frowned . "Technically?"

Cao Yi shifted awkwardly . "Wushuang was the youngest among us . "

Right . And she'd been expelled .

"Not that it mattered . " Cao Yi sighed . "Liu zhǎngmén had always regarded her as one of us . "

"Okay . So there's Mo Ahshi and Ye Yu . " Li Yundong gestured at the corpses . "Where are the other four?"   

Cao Yi shook her head tiredly and gestured at another corpse leaning against the wall . "That's Gu Feng's impostor," she said . "The real Gu Feng is dead too . And… And the others are missing . " Tears swam in Cao Yi's eyes when she looked up at him . "I fear that the worst had happened to them, Li zhǎngmén . " She sighed and pointed at Potion Girl . "She didn't see any of them when she went back inside the temple to look for the potions just now . "

"So these are the younger disciples, then?" Li Yundong pointed at the others who were lingering around, whispering to each other .

Cao Yi nodded .

The young fox spirits seemed lost, like they no longer had a purpose in life . Not that he could blame them . Their whole world had just fallen apart within the span of one night .

"They're brave," Li Yundong remarked, glancing at Cao Yi . "They've got guts, those girls . "

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The tiniest of smiles graced Cao Yi's lips, but it quickly tuned into a scowl . "Well . Not all of us are . "

Li Yundong turned around to face Cao Yi fully . "What do you mean?"

Cao Yi snorted . "Gu Feng's disciples"—Cao Yi did air quotes—"fled the school just before the assault began . "

Li Yundong glanced around and took stock of his surroundings . The temple didn't sustain a lot of damage during the battle, which was a good thing .

"So what now, Li zhǎngmén?"

Cao Yi's question drew Li Yundong's attention back to her .

"Do you have a plan?" Cao Yi sounded almost tentative .

Yeah… He was still working that, to be honest .

"I'll track down Su Chan first and then bring her back . " Li Yundong stared at Cao Yi . "I hope you understand . "

Li Yundong wanted to smack himself in the head as soon as those words left his mouth . Why the heck was he speaking as though he was asking her for permission? He was the frigging Head of the Fox Zen School now, for Acalanatha's sake .

Guess it might take a while for him to get use to that idea .

"But…" Cao Yi suddenly looked towards the temple . "What if the Great Six attack us again after you leave? Who's…" Cao Yi lowered her gaze . "Who's gonna defend us?" Cao Yi looked up at him with pleading eyes . "Only a few of us in the Fox Zen School are great in combat . And… none of them are here at the moment . " Cao Yi sighed and lowered her head . "Liu zhǎngmén is gone . So are Mo Ahshi, and Ye Yu . Ao Wushuang is the most powerful among us . But then she's been captured…"

Li Yundong clasped Cao Yi's shoulders with both hands to interrupt her rambling . When Cao Yi looked up again, he gave her a smile . "They won't attack again . Trust me . "

Cao Yi didn't look convinced . " Are you sure?"

Li Yundong released Cao Yi's shoulders and nodded . "Yes . " He smiled again . "Besides, none of them has to know about my absence . "

Li Yundong was certain that he had scared the living crap out of those assholes . They wouldn't return if they thought he was still here, guarding the place . And he was fairly certain that Zi Yuan would dissuade those idiots from attacking again .

Cao Yi still didn't look convinced .

Li Yundong chuckled . "You guys are pretty good with illusions, am I right?"

He'd seen Su Chan perform one of those cool illusion spells .

"Um… Yes?"

Li Yundong nodded . "Just create an illusion of me standing right there . " Li Yundong pointed at the temple .

Cao Yi's eyes widened slightly . "O- Oh… That's… Actually pretty clever . "

"Which means…" Li Yundong smirked . "I never left the school . " Li Yundong raised a brow . "After all, I am the guardian of the Fox Zen School . "

Cao Yi smiled . "I think you're more than that now, Li zhǎngmén . "

"Anyway . " Li Yundong lowered the Fan of Seven Treasures to the ground . "Here's the plan . "

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Cao Yi stood up straighter .

Li Yundong couldn't help but feel amused at her behavior .

"I'll head to Dongwu City to find Su Chan . Meanwhile, you guys should take care of Grandmaster Liu's body . " Li Yundong sighed and glanced towards the old man . "I don't know much about your customs, but for us humans, there's usually some kind of ritual . A proper funeral . "

"As you wish, Li zhǎngmén," Cao Yi said . "I'll handle—"

There was a gasp .

"What's wrong?" Li Yundong looked towards Cao Yi .

Cao Yi was looking past his shoulder, squinting through the dark .

"Who's there?!" Cao Yi suddenly flung a bunch of needles at something behind him .

Li Yundong whirled around and saw a dark, wraith-like creature hovering above Mo Ahshi's corpse . The needles went through the phantom and struck a tree nearby . Then, the phantom shot into the night sky .

Ningshen: Xianjue!

Li Yundong turned towards Cao Yi . "Take the girls into the temple . "

Cao Yi nodded .

Li Yundong turned towards the Fan of Seven Treasures . "You stay here and protect them . "

The Fan of Seven Treasures rose from the ground and snapped open .

After that, Li Yundong took off into the night sky .

Even with Xianjue, it was extremely hard to keep up with the dark phantom, especially now when it was completely dark .

Hell . Who was he even kidding . He wasn't even keeping up . The phantom had given him the slip about two minutes ago, and now he had no idea where it was .

Damn it .

Who could that be? Was it Yan Fang? But why would she return?

There you are!

He caught a glimpse of the phantom somewhere below him on his two o'clock . The phantom vanished into the trees .

Li Yundong flew downwards and landed on a tree branch seconds later .

Damn it, where did it go?

Li Yundong closed his eyes .  Ningshen: Eryue!

He spent a minute listening to any voices or noises indicating the phantom's presence .

"… Ping'er! Ping'er! Where are you?"

The voice was male . An old man, in fact .

"I'm over here, Master!"

Li Yundong's blood ran cold .  What the hell? That voice…

Ding Nan?!

"Where have you been, Master? I've been waiting for you for so long!"

No . This had to be some kind of mistake . It had to be . It wasn't Ding Nan . The old man had called her Ping'er . Maybe it was just someone with a similar voice .

The old man chuckled . "Look what I found, Ping'er…"

"What's that?" Ping'er said .

"This, my dear, is the Fox Zen School's Threaded Hairpin of Traversing Soul!"

Li Yundong located the source of the voices just then . It was quite far away from his current location . Li Yundong took off into the sky, but kept his Eryue activated .  

"Is it powerful?"

"Of course it is!” The old man paused . "But first we have to go . Someone's after me . "

No you don't!

"Oh… Okay . As you wish, Master . "

"Hmm . I'll show you how this thing works once we return," the old man said, then chuckled . "Well . I was planning to give it to you anyway . "



Li Yundong increased his speed and activated his telescopic vision .

He saw and old man putting his arm around a young woman's shoulders . Li Yundong bridged his Three Gates and sent a shockwave towards the pair .

Too late .

The pair morphed into a phantom and took off into the sky before the blast could reach them .

Li Yundong landed on the floor, stunned .

There was no mistaking that figure, and that T-shirt .

That woman was Ding Nan .

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