Cao Yi was on her knees beside Mo Ahshi's corpse when Li Yundong landed in front of the temple again . None of the younger fox spirits were around, so Li Yundong assumed that Cao Yi had sent them back into the temple to recuperate .
Cao Yi rose to her feet and hurried towards him when she noticed his arrival . The woman's anxiety was written all over her face . "Li zhǎngmén!" She stopped beside him . "Did you apprehend the thief?"
Li Yundong shook his head . "Couldn't get to him in time . " Li Yundong paused in thought . "I did get a good look of the thief though . " Li Yundong glanced down at his recently-acquired subordinate (God, he really had to start getting used to the whole idea) . "I can describe his appearance to you, if you want . Who knows it might ring a bell . "
"Of course, Li zhǎngmén . "
"Alright, um… it was an old dude with white hair and white beard . " Li Yundong paused for a second . "His robe looked kinda strange . Weird design . Black on one side and white on the other . "
Li Yundong looked towards Cao Yi . "You know the guy . "
"Yes . " Cao Yi's eyes were now as cold as ice . "Zheng Yuan, the Head of the Yin Yang Sect . "
Something clicked inside Li Yundong's head; like a switch, triggered by the mention of that sect . Li Yundong closed his eyes and rubbed his forehead .
Yin Yang Sect . Ping'er .
Lyu Fengping .
The last time he saw that woman was back in Tibet when she and Wu Hao had tried to take the Fan of Seven Treasures from him . But here's the thing: she had escaped with her Yin Spirit back then; her body was destroyed when he used Acalanatha's 14th and final Mudra, the Hand of Purification .
But just now Zheng Yuan had called Ding Nan Ping'er .
A touch on his arm pulled him out of his thoughts .
Li Yundong met Cao Yi's worried gaze .
"Are you okay?" Cao Yi withdrew her hand from his arm . "Forgive my impudence, Li zhǎngmén, but you seemed a little out of it just now . "
Li Yundong shook his head slightly . "Nothing… it's just…" He sighed . "I've figured out a few things, that's all . "
Cao Yi frowned . "What things?"
Like the fact that Ding Nan was possessed by Lyu Fengping's Yin Spirit .
Li Yundong waved a hand casually . "It's nothing . Don't worry about it . " He glanced down at Mo Ahshi's corpse, then raised his gaze again when he heard Cao Yi's dejected sigh .
"The Hairpin of Traversing Soul . " Cao Yi hooked a strand of hair behind her ear . "One of the Fox Zen School's deadliest weapons . " Cao Yi shook her head and let out a sad chuckle . "Gone . "
"We'll get it back," Li Yundong stated firmly .
Cao Yi smiled . Then, her eyes widened . "Oh, before I forget…" She picked up something from the ground . "This is the Adamantine Chakram of Magnificence . It belonged to my shīmèi Ye Yu . But now she's…" Sadness shone in Cao Yi's eyes as her face crumpled . A moment later, she shook her head and schooled her features . "Please accept this, Li zhǎngmén . I would like you to have it . "
Li Yundong took the chakram from Cao Yi and began studying the crescent-shaped weapon .
The thing was fascinating to say the least . The first feature that stuck out to him was its color; well, colors actually, since the color on each side was different: silver on one side, gold on the other . The silver side held the engraving of a beautiful Apsara, or a Flying Bodhisattva . When he flipped to the other side, a fierce-looking arhat stared back at him .
Li Yundong shook his head . "So weird . " He glanced up from the chakram . "Why are its teeth on the inner edge?" He raised the chakram and showed Cao Yi the teeth he meant . "Shouldn't the teeth be on the outer edge?"
Cao Yi smiled . "There are actually teeth on both edges, Li zhǎngmén . "
Li Yundong frowned and studied the chakram again . "But the outer edge looks so smooth—" Something sharp poked his flesh the moment he ran his finger along the outer edge .
Cao Yi was still smiling when he looked back up at her . "The teeth on the outer edge are invisible, Li zhǎngmén . It's one of the chakram's special properties . "
Li Yundong lowered the chakram to his side and then swung it around a few times . After that, he tested the chakram's weight on each hand .
"It can cut through almost anything," Cao Yi added .
Li Yundong nodded and returned the chakram to Cao Yi .
Cao Yi didn't take it . "Um… It's yours, Li zhǎngmén," she said, looking puzzled . "Why are you giving it back to me?"
"It belongs to the school," he said, then paused .
But you own the school now, a small voice in his head added . The look on Cao Yi's face basically conveyed the same sentiment .
"I don't plan on carrying it around with me," he said .
Moments later, Cao Yi took the chakram reluctantly .
"Keep it safe along with any other weapons or magical objects owned by Grandmaster Liu . " He remembered seeing some kind of special opium pipe and a huge calligraphy brush lying beside Grandmaster Liu earlier .
Cao Yi nodded . "As you wish, Li zhǎngmén . "
"Good . Now I have to go," Li Yundong said, then paused in thought . "Is there somewhere I can keep the Fan of Seven Treasures safe? I won't be bringing it with me to Dongwu City . " He gave Cao Yi a pointed look . "Someone might suspect that I'm not actually at the Fox Zen School if they saw me carrying it around . "
"Ah . I have just the thing…" Cao Yi trailed off and pulled out a small bag from her pocket . The fabric was glowing in many different colors .
"Uh…" Li Yundong stared at the bag for a moment . "Isn't that a little small? I mean the fan is rather big…"
Cao Yi nearly dropped the bag and the chakram when she burst into giggles .
Cao Yi composed herself seconds later and cleared her throat . "I apologize, Li zhǎngmén . That was rude of me . "
Li Yundong waved off the apology . Clearly the bag had some kind of magical properly that he was unaware of . Maybe its size could be altered by a spell? He'd seen Su Chan pull out the Fan of Seven Treasures from a colorful pouch the other night before they parted . But then that bag was big, so it didn't seem weird that it could fit the Fan of Seven Treasures .
Perhaps Su Chan's colorful pouch was just a scaled-up version of this tiny thing that Cao Yi was carrying?
"Please watch . " Cao Yi pulled the bag's drawstring and opened the bag . Then, she brought the chakram to the mouth of the bag .
Something amazing happened .
The chakram shrank and vanished into the bag in a bright flash .
"What the heck?" Li Yundong leaned down and peered into the bag . A moment later, his head shot up . "But there's nothing inside!"
He took the bag from Cao Yi, turned it upside down, and then shook it a few times .
Nothing fell out .
Li Yundong gaped at Cao Yi, who was struggling to hold back her laughter .
Yeah . Maybe, Grandmaster Liu Ye was wrong . The Fox Zen School might be heading for its doom since it now had such a clueless leader .
Li Yundong shook his head a few times . "How does this thing work?"
Cao Yi cleared her throat . "It has its own Spirit Space . " She paused . "You can put as many things into it as you like, and it would never fill up . "
Li Yundong stared at the tiny pouch in his palm . "Amazing . "
He handed the bag back to Cao Yi, then reached for the Fan of Seven Treasures on the ground .
"I'll leave the fan here," he said, giving Cao Yi a serious look . "Take it out if there's an emergency . It will guard you . I give you my word . "
Indeed, he had already communicated with the fan earlier, and they had come to an agreement . The fan would defend the Fox Zen School in his stead while he was out looking for Su Chan . Besides, his spiritual signature was so strong that nobody would be able to steal the fan while he was away .
Cao Yi nodded and opened the glowing pouch once again .
A bright flash appeared when Li Yundong slipped the fan into the bag .
"Alright then . " Li Yundong glanced at the temple briefly before giving Cao Yi a pointed look . "Don't forget to cast the spell . " He tilted his head towards the temple .
Cao Yi dipped her head slightly . "Yes, Li zhǎngmén . "
"Good . Guess I'm off, then . " Li Yundong turned around . "I'll be back as soon as I can . "
"Wait! Li zhǎngmén!"
Cao Yi ran over and pushed the colorful pouch into his hand . "Please take this with you . "
Li Yundong frowned . "But…" He stared at Cao Yi . "The fan can protect the school . "
Cao Yi shook her head . "It doesn't feel right to separate you from your weapon, Li zhǎngmén . " She glanced at the temple briefly, then smiled at him . "Besides, I think your idea of using an illusion spell will work perfectly fine . "
"Are you sure?"
Cao Yi gave him a firm nod . "Yes . "
Li Yundong nodded and pocketed the pouch .
"Where did Grandmaster Liu say Su Chan is?"
"He told me she's in Dongwu City . " Li Yundong narrowed his eyes . "And he mentioned something about a pond near the foot of Mount Qili . "
"Mount Qili…" Cao Yi whispered .
"You know the place?"
Cao Yi shook her head . "I've never been there, but I think Grandmaster Liu mentioned before that Wushuang has a property nearby . "
Which means he should begin his search in the apartments and condos in that area .
Cao Yi suddenly shot him an apologetic look . "I've never heard of any pond though . "
"Oh, no, don't worry about it . What you told me is actually quite helpful . " Li Yundong smiled . "Thank you, Cao Yi . "
Zi Yuan suppressed a hiss when Hongling lowered her onto the couch . They had just arrived at Hongling's apartment in New Hongsheng District after a short flight from Mount Tianlong to Tiannan City . The journey had taken less time than Zi Yuan had anticipated . Fifteen minutes instead of twenty .
Clearly, Hongling's flight speed had improved . Perhaps it was a good idea to encourage Hongling to hang out with the Heir more . Being around him could motivate the girl to improve herself .
Zi Yuan caught Hongling's hand when the latter began fussing over her injuries again . "I'll be fine, Hongling," she said, eyeing her protégé sternly . "You need to go now before Yan Fang get her hands on Liuhe . "
The pained look on Hongling's face was impossible to miss . Not that Zi Yuan could blame the girl . It felt incredibly awkward to refer to Yan Fang without some form of honorific attached to her name . Well, that was going to have to change soon .
They had already lost Yan shībó nine years ago .
"Call Yan Hua first," Zi Yuan said, letting her eyelids droop . The lights were too bright . Or maybe she was just tired . "Make up some excuse, ask him to take the sword out of the Yan family home if possible . "
"If he refuses?" Hongling countered weakly .
Zi Yuan opened her eyes to look at her protégé . "He'll listen to you, Hongling . " Zi Yuan smirked . "The boy is sweet on you if I recall . "
Hongling blushed adorably .
"Fine," Hongling mumbled .
"Don't overdo it though," Zi Yuan reminded . "If he can't bring the sword out, just ask him to stall Yan Fang, or convince her that the sword isn't at the house . Make sure the boy doesn't do anything rash . "
Heavens forbid Yan Fang might murder the poor boy if he stood in her way .
"I'm on it, Zi Yuan jiějie," Hongling said, then paused for a few seconds . "Will you really be okay?"
Zi Yuan's heart warmed, and she smiled at her protégé . "I'll be fine . "
Hongling padded to the balcony and took off into the sky .
Zi Yuan sighed and lowered herself to the ground . She got into a meditative posture and closed her eyes . The last thought she had before she went into deep meditative state was whether Master had foreseen Yan Fang's betrayal all those years ago .