Chapter 357 - Are You Willing?
At first, the sound of a sword being unsheathed was fine and soft, causing one to focus and listen to it carefully. Suddenly, the sword chime increased in volume, becoming sharp and reverberating. Upon hearing it, one would feel as if his or her heart was being pierced by a sword.
Ai Hui’s hair stood on end, resembling an alarmed cat. An indescribable feeling of danger enshrouded his body. He felt as if a glimmering razor-sharp sword was being pressed against the back of his neck. His hand subconsciously gripped the Silverfold Plum on his waist.
He was overwhelmed with shock.
A streak of sword gleam shot out from an ancient well in the back garden of the Ye Residence. The streak of sword gleam was not really dazzling, but the sky suddenly darkened at this point in time. The azure sky and the scorching sun looked as if their colors had faded, becoming ashen. The only thing that remained bright was that streak of sword gleam.
Upon sensing that something was not right, Ling Sheng turned around to escape. However, the streak of sword gleam was extremely fast. In the blink of an eye, it had caught up with Ling Sheng. He let out a blood-curdling screech as his left arm was cut off, causing him to be drenched in blood.
"The blood feud between the Ye Family and the Ling Family will last for generations, and it will only end if one of us is dead!"
Ling Sheng’s figure disappeared into the distance, but his vile curses continued to resound through the air.
Ai Hui’s face turned pale. After a long while, he finally regained his composure. He simply could not describe the shock he felt. That sword gleam’s aura alone was enough to freeze his entire body. As the head of the Ling Family, Ling Sheng was at least a Master. Even a Master had lost an arm to stay alive against that streak of sword gleam. If Ai Hui was in Ling Sheng’s position, he would have zero chance of surviving.
Ai Hui thought about the sword gleams he had seen before, but none of them were comparable to the one from the Ye Residence. The sword gleam that the Karakorum Savant used to kill Chi Zun was earth-shattering and could be considered the apex of the present age’s swordsmanship.
However, it still paled in comparison to this one.
When this sword gleam shot out, it did not leave any trail of smoke, fire, or aura, yet it could dominate all living things.
Ai Hui returned to his senses and looked at the others. Everyone else reacted worse than him. Their facial expressions were blank. Apparently, they had not recovered from the shock of that sword gleam.
"Xiaobao, follow me," Ye Lin said solemnly.
Xiaobao acknowledged and quickly followed behind his mother.
Ye Lin brought Xiaobao out of the main hall and walked to an empty space outdoors that faced the back garden. Next, she kneeled down and bowed. Xiaobao did not seem to understand what was going on, but when he saw his mother kneel down, he followed suit.
"Mighty Ancestor, thank you for protecting your descendants today. I’m Ye Clan’s Ye Lin. My husband died when his son was still young. Today, a powerful enemy arrived at our doorstep and brought dishonor to our family. I had to summon you to punish him. Sorry for disturbing your peaceful slumber. Mighty Ancestor, please keep me and my son safe and sound. Ye Lin will kowtow to you now."
With a solemn look on her face, Ye Lin kowtowed three times. Upon seeing what his mother did, Xiaobao kowtowed three times as well.
Ai Hui was flabbergasted. Could it be… that streak of sword gleam was left behind by Ye Huitang?
A thunderbolt struck Ai Hui. No wonder the sword gleam was so terrifying and powerful. Even a Master like Ling Sheng was defeated by such a blow and had to lose an arm to stay alive.
Ye Huitang’s era was a millennium ago.
What kind of sword gleam could be sealed for a millennium? If Ye Huitang could do this, how powerful was he actually? In the records that Ai Hui read before, most of them mentioned that the "last swordsman" was an aged hero who no longer possessed any strength. Having no options left, he had to use the last bit of his vitality to unleash the ultimate sword move.
However, it was at this moment that Ai Hui realized that what was written in those records might be inaccurate. The depths of Ye Huitang’s strength were more unfathomable than he expected! Suddenly, Ai Hui returned to his senses. No, it was he who had misinterpreted those records.
As Ai Hui thought of the line mentioned in the swordplay manual, that "the enemy leader was slain by a single sword move," he involuntarily became lost in thought. Was this sword move just like that streak of sword gleam?
The depths of the Ye Residence’s might were indeed terrifying!
Madam Ye stood up and wiped off the dust on Xiaobao’s knees. The old lady beside her returned to her senses and said to Madam Ye with a worried tone, "Madam, I’m afraid the Ling Residence will not take this incident lying down."
"Afraid?" Madam Ye chuckled. "Didn’t you hear him say that the blood feud between the Ye Family and Ling Family will last for generations, and it will end only if one of us is dead? Regardless, you don’t need to be too concerned about a mere Ling Residence."
The old woman wanted to say something, but she hesitated. She knew her master was a decisive individual and might already have a plan.
Fu Sisi’s face was deathly pale. She knew she had gone overboard in provoking the Ling Residence this time around. The Ye Residence was powerful and had the backing of the Great Elder. For Chu Zhaoyang, as long as he stayed in the Ye Residence, the Ling Residence could not do anything against him. Therefore, the enraged Ling Residence would go after the Fu Family first.
At its peak, the Fu Family could not contend with the Ling Residence, let alone a Fu Family that was now on the decline.
Trembling in fear, she kneeled down and begged Madam Ye, "Madam, please save the Fu Family!"
Madam Ye sighed deeply without saying anything.
Ai Hui could see that Fu Sisi was truly scared now. Her entire body shivered in fear, looking like quail that was crouching on the ground. When Ai Hui saw this scene, he could not help but feel sad for her. Fu Sisi had always been a shrewd and confident individual. Since when had he seen her in such a panicked and fearful state? The fighting and plotting between aristocratic families were indeed dangerous.
Even though Ai Hui felt sad for Fu Sisi, he still had no intention of speaking up for her. Right now, he was having a headache over how to break free from this maelstrom. He really did not want to get involved in the struggles between aristocratic families. He knew everyone here was vicious and despicable. For the sake of their families, they would not even mind getting married to a stranger.
This must be the price of enjoying the benefits of being in an aristocratic family.
Suddenly, Ai Hui thought of Shi Xueman. Shi Xueman did not seem to have these characteristics.
Oh? How did iron lady survive all these years? She had a good father. Ai Hui felt that this was the key reason why she did not possess these qualities.
Fu Sisi begged piteously, "Madam, please save the Fu Family! From today onward, everyone in the Fu Family will be at your disposal and will not hesitate to go through fire or tread on water for you!"
Madam Ye smiled and helped Fu Sisi up from the ground. With a kind and gentle tone, she replied, "Don’t be anxious, Aunt Ye watched you grow up. Why would I not take care of you? Aunt Ye is pondering how to get us all through this crisis?"
Fu Sisi heaved a sigh of relief as a grateful looked appeared upon her face. "Thank you, Aunt Ye!"
From Ai Hui’s perspective, Madam Ye was not pondering at all. Obviously, she was waiting for Fu Sisi to state where her family’s loyalty lay. It appeared that Madam Ye was trying to absorb the Fu Family. Fu Sisi was an intelligent girl and knew what Madam Ye was trying to do. There were no other options for the Fu Family except to hug the Ye Residence’s legs. At this point of time, which family dared to provoke the Ling Residence by protecting the Fu Family?
In the end, whether it was the Ye Residence or the Fu Family, it had nothing to do with me. Ai Hui thought to himself.
Just as Fu Sisi began to feel nervous, Madam Ye continued, "It has been a while since I last visited your residence. Aunt Ye and Xiaobao want to stay at your residence for a few days What do you think?"
"Thank you, Aunt Ye! The entire Fu Family will put up grand preparations for your arrival!" Fu Sisi replied with great respect.
Madam Ye turned around and said to Ai Hui, "Teacher Chu, you will follow us as well."
"Me?" Ai Hui was stunned.
Madam Ye smiled to Fu Sisi. "You see how happy he is. I think he still cares about you. We will discuss your issue when we are at your residence."
Fu Sisi lowered her head, looking extremely shy. "I will let Madam make all the decisions."
Ai Hui was startled. This girl’s acting skills were terrifying. However, he currently had no time to care about Fu Sisi’s acting skills and was racking his brain to find a method to reject Madam Ye. If he was to go to the Fu Family, would he not become a lamb in a tiger’s den? How would he find a wife in the future?
"I think there’s no reason for me to go," Ai Hui replied with a solemn tone. "The students’ swordplay training has reached a critical junction. If their training stops now, wouldn’t all their effort go down the drain…"
"Stop? Are you thinking about slacking off?" Madam Ye laughed. "They will be coming along. The Fu Family is a huge family, and they have many training arenas and rooms. Sisi, it won’t too much of a hassle for you, right?"
Fu Sisi smiled and replied, "Madam, your words are too flattering. It will be more lively if everyone goes together. This is what Sisi has been hoping for. Sisi and everyone enjoys a harmonious relationship, and all of us are best friends. Please treat my home as your own when you arrive."
Best friends my foot!
Ai Hui almost burst out in rage. All of you are fighting and plotting against each other. Do you think I am blind?
Madam Ye’s gaze shifted to the youths as an affable smile appeared on her face. "What about all of you? Are all of you willing to come? Don’t force yourself if you really don’t want to."
Everyone nodded their heads vigorously.
"Of course we are willing to go!"
"We will go wherever Madam wants us to go!"
"Sorry for the troubles, Sister Fu."
Ai Hui did not know that what happened today would have a huge impact on these people. After all, Ai Hui was not from an aristocratic family, so he lacked understanding toward the significance of the current situation. These young masters and mistresses were extremely sensitive to changes in the situation.
Madam Ye’s display of might implied that she was prepared to step into the spotlight.
The smile on Madam Ye’s face might appear affable and kind, but in reality, this was a dangerous and critical moment.
It was time for them to pick a side.
Fortunately for them, from the moment they stepped foot in the Ye Residence, they had already picked their side. Now, it was merely time for them to officially state where their loyalty lay. When the last person finished speaking, everyone looked at each other and smiled. The intense competitive atmosphere had lightened up significantly. They belonged to the same camp now.
Except for Ai Hui.
A lot of gazes fell upon Ai Hui. The quiet Teacher Chu seemed to be out of place.
Ai Hui realized that his situation was becoming precarious once more.
He did not act recklessly and maintained his composure.
At this moment, the butler ran over to them in a haste.
"Madam, there is updated news. Many bodies and tools have been found in the underground canal. After verifying the bodies’ identities, they were found to be the Yellow Sand Bandits. None of them survived. It has been suspected that they were being silenced by someone."
"You reap what you sow. Who can they blame?" Madam Ye replied leisurely.
"Xiao Shuren will be very happy when she hears this news." The old woman smiled.
When she saw the puzzled look on Madam Ye’s face, she quickly explained, "The entire Great Wei Enterprise was massacred by the Yellow Sand Bandits."
"I see." Madam Ye nodded her head. After a while, she instructed the old woman, "Tell Xiao Shuren to go with us as well. She is also a pathetic individual."
Madam Ye suddenly looked as if she remembered something. Then, she turned around and looked at Ai Hui and asked, "Teacher Chu, what do you think?"
Ai Hui clenched his teeth and replied, "I will let Madam make all the decisions."