Volume 3, Chapter 41: Vanished Like a Spring Dream1
While the Prince of Yong was busy with his purge, and the entire court lived in anxiety, there was a secret force that did not cease its activity. On the evening of the twelfth day of the tenth month, at a secluded farm in the countryside, a group of black figures made their way towards the farmhouse. After surrounding the farmhouse, a black-clothed, masked man whispered several instructions in a low voice. A gloomy and cold middle-aged man led two youths and walked towards the door of the farmhouse. He shouted, "Guests have come from afar to pay a visit. Why hasn't the owner come out to welcome us?"
The door to the farmhouse was softly pushed open. A man and a woman walked out. From that man's appearance, one could determine that he was astonishingly actually that man who had escaped from the Hunting Palace and disappeared without a trace, Wei Ying. Although he had changed into the rags of a peasant, it was impossible for him to conceal his magnificent and elegant bearing. As for the woman, she was dressed like a village girl. However, her appearance was beautiful and elegant. Her bearing resembled a moon goddess floating elegantly. With a depressed and chilling expression on his face, Wei Ying asked, "Who are you people? Why have you have come here?"
The middle-aged man mildly answered, "You are truly difficult to find. We have been following you for several days. Only now have we finally been able to track you and surround you here."
Wei Ying frowned. Over these last several days, they had long ago discovered that they were being followed and spying on them. However, Wei Ying and the survivors from the Fengyi Sect did not dare to publicly cause trouble. As a result, they had done their best to avoid the surveillance of these mysterious men. But they did not expect that those pursuing had actually come calling. Who were these people? If they were the Prince of Yong's subordinates, an army would likely have appeared to arrest them vestiges. As he considered all this, Wei Ying asked, "Your distinguished self must surely know that you are only able to follow us because we dare not cause an uproar. However, this location is remote and desolate. If you dare to attack us, your gains will not make up for your losses. Quickly reveal your intentions."
The middle-aged man's brows arched, as he replied, "Although your distinguished self and company all have excellent martial arts, you may not necessarily be able to defeat bows and crossbows. As for our identity, we aren't any honorable and glorious sect. We are members of the Embroidered Union. This one is surnamed Huo, currently holding the position of Protector within the Embroidered Union. These two at my side are my Union Head's trusted disciples. You probably heard of this one. He is called Huo Li."
When the middle-aged man spoke of ranged weapons, Wei Ying and the woman both heard the soft sound of the loading mechanisms of crossbows. Judging from the sounds, there were over thirty crossbows surrounding the front of the farmhouse. Although there was no sound of crossbows from the rear of the farmhouse, they could hear the faint sounds of breathing. It seemed that these men, as expected, had come prepared. Even if these remnants were capable of victory, they would surely cause a ruckus and disturb the neighbors, the gains not making up for the losses.
The woman's shapely eyebrows furrowed. She looked carefully, seeing that although the middle-aged man's appearance was ordinary, his bearing and mannerisms were all unusual. As for the two youths by his side, they were both exceptional. The youth named Huo Li was especially outstanding, carrying a calm and unflustered bearing, his appearance handsome. As for the other youth, his appearance was also refined and elegant, his bearing carrying a faintly discernible hint of heroism. They had naturally heard of this Huo Li. Using his own strength, he had thrown Luoyang into chaos. If the other youth had the same status as him, it seemed like the Embroidered Union truly possessed a galaxy of talent. However, this woman had heard her master speak of the secret ties between the Embroidered Union and the Prince of Yong's household. As a result, she said, "I have long heard that your honored union has reached an alliance with the Prince of Yong. Have you lot come under orders to capture us?"
"Our Embroidered Union does not dare suggest that we have not had any dealings with the Prince of Yong, however our relationship is not one of an alliance," replied the middle-aged man callously. "At the time, we cooperated with the Crown Prince in a smuggling operation. Unfortunately, Li An burned the bridge after crossing the river, and even sought to make things difficult for our Union Head Huo. That was why we divulged information to the Prince of Yong. Although we were unable to depose Li An from his position as heir apparent, we were able to cause problems for him. On this world, we are the only ones allowed to be of disservice to others; no one is permitted to perform a disservice towards us. However, regardless of what has happened, we are not the Prince of Yong's subordinates. Our Embroidered Union can cooperate with anyone. However there is one principle that we cannot and will not forget. Our Embroidered Union was founded to resist Great Yong. We will do anything that can cause Great Yong problems. As a result, since your honored sect has failed and suffered a devastating defeat, becoming Great Yong's great enemy, my Union Head has dispatched this one with some presents for your honored sect."
So speaking, the middle-aged man gestured with his hand. A young man in black suddenly appeared from within the darkness. The expression on his face was icy, as he walked over carrying an embroidered case in his hands and delivering the embroidered case to the middle-aged man. Taking the case, the middle-aged man opened it. When Wei Ying and the woman took a look, they were both greatly alarmed. Within the case was a thick wad of banknotes. In addition, these banknotes were from the most reputable and richest money house in Southern Chu, located in the capital of Jianye.
The middle-aged man indifferently stated, "There are banknotes worth two hundred thousand taels of silver here. My Union Head has stated that since you have lost to the Prince of Yong, you are bound to try to make things difficult for Great Yong. However, it would be impossible for you to do so within Great Yong's borders. No matter how strong you are, it will be impossible for you to go up against the military. As a result, the only option available to you is to go far away. Northern Han is the Devil Sect's territory; it will be impossible for you to go there. It may be assumed that you will not leave civilization. If that is the case, then the only option available for you to make a comeback is Southern Chu. However, with your devastating defeat, you likely lack the funds to move your operations to Southern Chu. We know that although your honored sect has a lot of profits your expenses are also very large. At present, the majority of your honored sect's businesses are in Great Yong. It will likely be impossible for you to continue to manage them. As a result, my Union Head specially dispatched this protector with these banknotes, hoping that you will be able to attempt a comeback in Southern Chu. Union Head stated that as long as one is an enemy of Great Yong, they will be our friends. Fairy Ling, are you willing to form an alliance with us?"
That woman was Ling Yu, anointed by Fan Huiyao as the next sect master of the Fengyi Sect. Gazing at the banknotes, she replied, "Although you have spoken honeyed words, there is something that this fairy does not understand. You're willing to provide us with banknotes worth two hundred thousand taels of silver because we have a shared enemy?"
The middle-aged man smiled and answered, "Our Union Head has never made a loss. If you are willing to agree to one condition, we will not only provide you with banknotes worth two hundred thousand taels of silver, we will also hand over a portion of our assets in Southern Chu to you."
Wei Ying and Ling Yu both immediately raised their eyebrows, eyes wide. Although two hundred thousand taels of silver was a significant amount, it would run out one day. However, if they were able to get their hands on the Embroidered Union's assets in Southern Chu, they would be able to maintain the Fengyi Sect's expenses. Although they were excited, they were also wary of what this condition might be. Wei Ying walked forward and voiced, "There is no harm for your distinguished self to speak your condition. If we find it reasonable, it may be possible for us to agree."
"To speak the truth, the Fengyi Sect has suffered a complete defeat and fallen from grace," responded the middle-aged man with a smile. "Your public assets will undoubtedly be confiscated by the Great Yong court. However, you have some secret assets. Right now, it would be inconvenient for you to continue managing them. It would be best to hand them over to our Union. We will perform a bilateral exchange that benefits both sides."
Seeing that Wei Ying and Ling Yu were interested, the middle-aged man took out another embroidered case. He opened it, revealing several agreements and deed documents. He continued, "These are the deeds to fourteen assets that we have in Southern Chu with a total value of four hundred thousand taels of silver. If you are willing to take comparable value assets to exchange, then our alliance will be formed. Our Embroidered Union is in a difficult position in Southern Chu. Because of our Union Head's youthful impetuosity, we were too excessive in the chaos that we wreaked upon Southern Chu. However, to topple Great Yong, we have no alternative but to continue operating in Southern Chu. But, if you are to take over, as long as you are able to strengthen Southern Chu, when the time comes, not only will you be able to take vengeance for the pain and suffering wrought upon us by Great Yong, we will also fulfill our long-cherished wish."
Ling Yu and Wei Ying exchanged a look. Wei Ying walked forward and accepted the second embroidered case, examining the documents within. After looking through them, he turned and nodded at Ling Yu. With a look of joy, Ling Yu stated, "Our sect does have some secret assets in Great Yong. Although they are not worth four hundred thousand taels of silver, they are still worth some three hundred thousand taels. However, with this, you will make a big loss. I do not believe that you wish to be taken advantage of. If there are any other conditions, there is no harm in revealing them. As long as they aren't too excessive, they can be discussed."
The middle-aged man's eyes brightened as he replied, "In reality, we have no alternatives. At present, although our assets in Southern Chu are fairly good, anything that relates to the Embroidered Union in Southern Chu will immediately give rise to disaster. As a result, although we have ample assets in Southern Chu, they are useless to us. In comparison, because the Great Yong court does not view our Embroidered Union with implacable hatred, we have great prospects for future development.2 This exchange wouldn't be too great of a loss to us. However, if Fairy and Wei daren are willing, we do have a small request. This is a private request from a guest elder of our Union. He wants your honored sect to …" Reaching this point, the middle-aged man lowered his voice to a whisper, audible only to the nearby Wei Ying.
Wei Ying frowned. Turning around, he returned to Ling Yu's side and whispered a sentence. Subconsciously, Ling Yu was about to reject this categorically. However, Wei Ying spoke several more words. Ling Yu hesitated for a moment before turning and returning into the farmhouse. Wei Ying smiled slightly, asking the middle-aged man, "This request seems a bit odd. She is only one person … is she really worth three hundred thousand taels of silver?"
"Young master Wei, to speak the truth, this is all the personal grievances between the guest elder and her," replied the middle-aged man in a low voice. "This guest elder has just made a gargantuan, meritorious contribution. This was his only demand. Our Union Head has also agreed. In reality, our losses won't be too heavy. All that money is ill-gotten wealth. What our Union desires most is to form an alliance with your honored sect. In the future, we will act together against Great Yong with you in Southern Chu and us in Great Yong. For this objective, what is a little bit of money? As for this individual that we are requesting, she is no more than an additional request. To speak bluntly, she was a member of the imperial clan and had a respectable status before, and would naturally be of extreme importance to your sect. But now she is no more than a useless individual with her face ruined. Considering martial arts, your sect has many individuals with martial arts superior to hers. Considering intelligence and ability, you have no use for her. Once you've arrived in Southern Chu, the only benefit she can offer as a member of the Yong imperial clan will really be of detriment to your sect's survival. She is already completely without value for you. As for our Union, we can use her life to acquire the loyalty of a guest elder. This is an excellent transaction. However, to tell the truth, let alone three hundred thousand taels, she isn't worth a single tael. However, if this money can be exchanged for cooperation with your honored sect, let alone three hundred thousand taels, it would be worth it if we add another three hundred thousand taels."
Wei Ying sighed. "For your honored union to have a talent like you, no wonder the Fengyi Sect was never able to deal with you. These last few days, we have received little news of what has been happening. How is the current situation? Do you have any news that you can share?"
The middle-aged man thought for a moment before saying, "Young master Wei is worried about your esteemed father, correct? Young master, do not worry. I have heard that the Prince of Yong has been lenient towards your esteemed father, only temporarily placing him under house arrest. However, your esteemed father is currently extremely downhearted. On several occasions, he tried to commit suicide, but failed. At present, he is bedridden."
Wei Ying sighed again, as he stated, "This is entirely my fault … I wonder if your honored union is willing to help me, so that my esteemed father no longer needs to suffer?"
A chill appeared in the middle-aged man's eyes. He could understand Wei Ying's intentions from his words. Under these circumstances, it would be impossible to rescue Wei Guan. Everyone knew of Wei Guan, as he was the prime minister. In addition, Wei Guan did not know any martial arts. As a result, it would be impossible for him to escape pursuit. Wei Ying's request was to have the Embroidered Union kill his own father.
Seeing the great changes on the face of the middle-aged man, Wei Ying hurriedly explained in a low voice, "This isn't because I am ruthless. My father has always been loyal and devoted to Great Yong. It is said that nobody understands one's son better than his father. Without the concealment of family love, my father would be able to completely see through me. This is extremely unfavorable to me. Moreover, my father has always been loyal. If he dies from suicide, the court may consider my father's previous contributions and will certainly not implicate our clansmen. This is also Wei Ying's laborious intent. Would your distinguished self please help me accomplish this?"
After hesitating, the middle-aged man replied, "This one will have to report this matter to the Union Head. If feasible, the Union Head will take action. If not, there will be no way for us to communicate with your honored sect, at least temporarily. As long as your esteemed father is not dead, young master should know of the results of this matter."
Satisfied, Wei Ying nodded his head and replied, "There is another matter. Although there have been rumors of the Fengyi Sect Master's death at the Hunting Palace, we do not know the veracity of those rumors. Does your honored union have any news?"
"Our Union Head personally investigated this matter," answered the middle-aged man. "There is at least seventy percent chance of the Fengyi Sect Master's death being true, as the Eighteen Arhats paid a trip to the Hunting Palace and only twelve returned to the Shaolin Temple. When Great Master True Compassion returned to the Shaolin Temple, he immediately went into seclusion to recuperate from his injuries. I'm afraid that the Fengyi Sect Master's death is likely true. However, Great Yong has been unwilling to announce this publicly."
"That is only natural," replied Wei Ying. "The Devil Sect Sovereign in Northern Han once made a solemn pledge with the Sect Master. If the Sect Master were to die, Jing Wuji would no longer be constrained by that pledge. As a result, it is only natural that the court dare not breathe a word of this to anyone.3 If your honored union were to spread this news, Northern Han's Devil Sect will be sure to grow restless.4 When the time comes, wouldn't this be of benefit to you?"
"This matter is of great importance," responded the middle-aged man, frowning. "This one cannot make the decisions. However, if this were the case, if the Devil Sect were to invade, they would inevitably affect our power and influence. As a result, our Union Head will likely not agree."
Wei Ying smiled. "The news cannot be kept hidden forever. This matter will be spread sooner rather than later. If your honored union plans properly, you can seize the opportunity presented for your benefit."
Although it seemed as if he was excited by the prospect, the middle-aged man did not say a word. Wei Ying understood that it was best to leave it at that and did not continue to try to persuade him.
It wasn't long before a middle-aged woman in azure dress walked out of the farmhouse. Although from her appearance, one could tell that she wasn't young anymore, her appearance was as lovely and sumptuous as ever. Behind her were two swordswomen who carried a stretcher with an unconscious woman upon it. The thick white bandage wrapped around the unconscious woman's face prevented one from being able to see her facial features.
A hint of joy appeared on the middle-aged man's face. Turning, he made a gesture with his hand. Another man in black walked out from within the darkness. His appearance was completely veiled. Arriving next to the stretcher, he ripped off the woman's clothes without a hint of pity. After carefully examining the red birthmark at the woman's waist, he rose from his haunches and nodded his head. From this man's secretive movements and profound internal energy, everyone knew that he was not an ordinary individual. Satisfied, the middle-aged man waved his hand. The two youths by his side took hold of the stretcher and disappeared into the darkness.
The middle-aged man handed the two embroidered cases to Wei Ying. "Since our alliance is formed, please kindly accept these items. It is also best if we arrange a method for us to communicate. After your sect's position in Southern Chu has been established and stabilized, we will be able to exchange information. There will definitely be the day when Great Yong will be besieged by threats internally and externally, and fall."
Murderous intent flashed across the middle-aged woman in azure dress's face. She replied, "That day won't be long in the future. This time, with Great Yong's internal unrest, Northern Han will definitely seize the opportunity to profit from its misfortunes. After we have taken control over the Southern Chu court, we will attack from two sides and will definitely make it difficult for Great Yong's liege and vassals to rest and eat in peace."
Overjoyed, the middle-aged man replied, "If that is the case, our Embroidered Union will definitely seize the opportunity to incite a popular uprising. As long as we coordinate inside and out, Great Yong will definitely be destroyed!"
After discussing a method to communicate in the future, the middle-aged man departed satisfied. The members of the Fengyi Sect could just barely see a wave of men in black mutually shielding one another as they withdrew in the darkness and the crossbows in their hands. As a result, all of them drew in a sharp breath. If a battle had broken out, then they would have suffered disastrous casualties. As expected, the Embroidered Union, able to appear and disappear unpredictably in Great Yong, was an unusual organization.
At this moment, the wan and haggard looking Xiao Lan walked out of the farmhouse. Arriving beside the azure-dressed middle-aged woman, she spoke, "Martial Aunt, although I was not able to discern his appearance, from his bearing and mannerism, he seems like a certain individual. But that individual died long ago, thus I cannot be certain."
The middle-aged woman, who was Noble Consort Ji, uttered, "It doesn't matter. Speak your thoughts. I believe in your perception."
Xiao Lan solemnly stated, "That man is exceedingly similar to the imperial bodyguard that served by the Crown Prince's side, Xia Jinyi. However, Xia Jinyi died long ago during the scandal involving Concubine Chun."
After thinking it over, Ji Xia clapped her hands and replied, "Maybe he is that man. Who could have thought that the Embroidered Union would be so vicious? No wonder they want Li Hanyou. I once heard of Li Hanyou's real identity from the Sect Master. If that man is really Xia Jinyi, then everything fits. It seems like the Embroidered Union is sincere in their wish to cooperate with us. All right. Go make preparations. We will leave immediately. Only when we have departed from Great Yong will we be safe."
Everyone voiced their agreement in unison. None of them were clear about Li Hanyou's true identity, but since Ji Xia had spoken thusly, then it was very likely the case. As a result, they did not ask any questions. As long as the Embroidered Union was sincere in their desire to cooperate, then their whereabouts would not be immediately discovered by the Yong authorities. This was the most important thought occupying all of their minds.
When she was splashed awake by a bowl of cold water, Li Hanyou immediately and subconsciously sought to draw her sword. However, it was not at her waist. Opening her eyes, Li Hanyou could feel that she was lying on the ice-cold floor. In front of her was a black-clothed man standing with his back to her with his hands clasped behind his back. At his side were two youths, watching Li Hanyou. One of them had an empty bowl in his hands, clearly emptied to splash her awake.
Doing her best to try to remember what had happened, Li Hanyou could only remember that before she had passed out, she had drunk the medicine that Ji Xia had delivered her before falling unconscious. A hot rage ignited, as she coldly questioned, "Have they sold me out?"
The man in black replied frostily, "That's right. We used banknotes worth two hundred thousand taels of silver and four hundred thousand taels worth of assets to trade with your honored sect. In exchange, your honored sect gave us three hundred thousand taels worth of assets and you."
Li Hanyou's heart froze. Over these days, her mind was already near collapse. Having to flee day and night, her grievous wound and the psychological shock of losing power and influence left her in excruciating suffering. Now that she had been abandoned by the Fengyi Sect, she became even more disheartened. Although the resentment from being sold out and betrayed still burned within her mind, she did not have the courage to continue to live. In a dispirited voice, she said, "Good … Good … Kill me. In any case, Li Hanyou does not have any path to survive."
The man in black turned around. Smiling, he declared, "No. I won't kill you. That would be too merciful and kind to you."
Li Hanyou could hear an ear-piercing cry of fear sound at her ears. She subconsciously thought to cover her ears, but she soon discovered that the one screaming was her. Trembling, she pointed at the man in black, shouting, "Xia Jinyi, you're still alive! How are you not dead?"
Dong Que smiled faintly. Before Li Hanyou had woken, he had intentionally removed his disguise and changed to his previous attire. As a result, it wasn't strange that Li Hanyou was able to recognize him instantly. Opening his mouth, he said, "That's right, I should have died long ago, but I was not resigned to die. Therefore, I have come back from the underworld. Qiao Cuiyun, the day you caused the deaths of my parents, murdered Xiu Chun and our unborn child, did you think that you would fall into today's straits?"
Li Hanyou slowly shrank backwards, her heart filled with panic. She could pretend that she was an imperial clanswoman, but in front of this man, that fake identity was completely worthless. She subconsciously objected, "I am not Qiao Cuiyun. I am Li Hanyou, the beloved daughter of the Prince of Jingjiang. I …"
Before she could continue, Dong Que broke out into laughter. The laughter was filled with mockery and hostility. It was only after some time that he spoke, "You do not have to worry, I won't kill you. That would be letting you off too lightly. A pheasant dares to pretend to be a phoenix. Such a delightful thing cannot happen in this world. Qiao Cuiyun, you are truly too foolish. Do you know how I am going to punish you?"
Li Hanyou's heart sank as she trembled. She wouldn't be so afraid if this man was going to kill her. But upon hearing him state that he wouldn't kill her, Li Hanyou could feel fear well up from within. She naturally understood what was most painful to a woman. Suddenly, she raised her palm, seeking to slam it against her head and commit suicide. However, as soon as her hand was raised, it powerlessly fell back to her side. Only now did she alarmingly discover that her internal energy had completely disappeared without a trace. Afterwards, she could hear the sounds of Dong Que laughing.
Speaking slowly and relishing each word, Dong Que stated, "Qiao Cunyun, do not worry. I am well aware of what you want to do. However, now that your beautiful face has been ruined, even if I wished to sell you into a brothel, it would be impossible to find someone willing to buy you. However, do you know that within the depths of the remote mountains, there are frequently families with men of thirty and forty who are not yet married because women refuse to marry into their households? Although your appearance has been ruined, your body is still more than enough for them to be satisfied. I have already found a household for you. It is composed of a pair of brothers, both of whom are nearly forty years old. Alas, they have not yet married. As a result, they have been more than willing to use their savings to buy a woman to be their wife. They will be perfectly satisfied as long as the woman is able to bear and raise children. I have already dispatched a messenger to inform them that I have a woman in my hands. Because she failed to scrupulously abide by the tenets of womanhood, she was divorced and had her face ruined by her husband. However, her figure is extremely arousing. Moreover, she is healthy, capable of bearing plenty of children without any problems. I was willing to sell you to them for a low price and they have already voiced their agreement."
A look of dread appeared on Li Hanyou's face as Dong Que continued, "However, in order to ensure that they are not harmed, I cannot allow you to marry them perfectly intact. As such, I have already crippled your martial arts. With this, you will have no way of resisting them. Moreover, after your internal energy has dissipated, it will allow you to successfully become pregnant. However, you have learned too much, making it easy for you to kill a hunter household. As a result, I have used acupuncture to destroy the tendons of your hand and legs. In addition, I have informed them that you once sought to kill your husband and ensure that they are on their guard against you. With these precautions, although you can still walk with some difficulty and pick up some light items, you won't have the opportunity to harm them.
"In addition, since you have learned so many things and to prevent you from teaching your children, causing future trouble, I will seal your mute acupoint. Unable to speak and in a location where there is no one literate, how can you teach them? In any case, to that pair of brothers, they only want a woman. They won't care that your face has been ruined and become ugly. Moreover, to speak the truth, your body is more than enough for them to pleasure themselves for some time."
Li Hanyou began to collapse, almost as if she was catching sight of the inferno of hell. Crying out miserably, she recoiled, wanting to stay away from Dong Que. However, Dong Que ignored her, instead adding on, "I am not worried that you will be driven insane. A woman's fortitude and patience is extremely strong. Besides, that pair of brothers won't mistreat you. To them, you are an asset that deserves to be treasured. Although they are strong and vigorous, causing their demands to be excessive, based upon your well-trained body, you should definitely be able to endure. All right, they are already anxiously waiting. I need to act now. There is no need for you to be afraid."
Dong Que walked over. Holding down Li Hanyou's pampered body, he gazed into her eyes and said, "As you are enduring the suffering of living in the remote mountains, there is no harm for you to think of your former glory, splendor, wealth, and rank even though it can be considered as no more than a dream to you. After waking from the dream, you are no longer an imperial clanswoman, no longer Her Imperial Highness, a Princess. You won't even be a heroine from a famous sect in jianghu. Alas, a dream ultimately is no more than a dream. A short-lived illusion leaves no traces behind and you are still only Qiao Cuiyun. The only difference is that you no longer have parents-in-law and a husband who will love and protect you."
Li Hanyou, no, Qiao Cuiyun gritted her teeth. When she was about to bite her tongue and commit suicide, Dong Que seized control over her acupoints. He whispered, "You want to bite your tongue and commit suicide, I won't allow you to die so easily. Originally, I wanted to pull all of your teeth out, but the results would be too ugly. Therefore, I specially came up with an acupuncture technique to ensure that the flesh of your cheeks are unable to exert any force. With this, even if you try to bite your tongue to commit suicide, you won't be able to do so successfully. At most, you will bleed some. I don't believe that you have the courage to try this repeatedly. Moreover, of your two new husbands, one of them will always be by your side. Don't think that you will successfully commit suicide. Furthermore, if you are determined to die, your new husbands will surely come up with ways to ensure that their precious investment is not lost. There is no way for me to know what they will think of. Will they bind your jaw open or something else?"
Li Hanyou could no longer endure Dong Que's taunting. Her head falling to the side, she fainted. This time, Dong Que did not forcibly wake her back up, because he understood that if he were to continue, Li Hanyou likely would truly become insane. As long as she fainted, once she woke back up again, she wouldn't become crazy. After all, this was a human's self-protective mechanism. Gazing at the unconscious Li Hanyou, a hot flame blazed in his eyes. He stated, "Qiao Cuiyun, when next you wake, you will probably already be within the remote mountains. The martial arts that you have trained in and your staunch willpower will ensure that you will not easily become insane, allowing you to experience your deserved retribution with a clear head. Is there any other punishment more suitable than this?"
The two youths standing on the side exchanged glances, fear in their eyes. Both of them knew of the deep hatred between Dong Que and Li Hanyou. But Dong Que's revenge method was still able to create fear in their hearts. However, they would not stop him from acting. Li Hanyou once attempted to assassinate their young master. They had been made aware of this fact long ago. Thinking of the young master's near-death experience, they would not be tenderhearted regardless of what punishments Li Hanyou experienced.
When Dong Que walked out of the secret chamber, seeing Chen Zhen waiting for him, he advanced and saluted, stating, "Many thanks to Supervisor Chen for your help. Dong Que cannot thank you enough."
Chen Zhen smiled lightly, handing him a piece of paper made from cotton. "On it are the secret branches of the Fengyi Sect that we discovered while following them. This is the intelligence that the young master requires. I'll have to trouble you to bring it to him. In addition, please inform the young master that everything has already been prepared. We can act immediately once the young master gives the order."
Taking the piece of paper, Dong Que replied, "When I return, I will immediately report this to the young master. Supervisor Chen, do not worry. Please inform Supervisor Han that those secret assets belonging to the Fengyi Sect need to be quickly expropriated, so as to prevent the Pavilion of Heavenly Secrets from suffering excessive losses."
Smiling, Chen Zhen acknowledged, "Brother Han went long ago to take care of them. He has an anxious and hot-headed temperament."
The two exchanged glances and smiled before mutually saluting and departing.
Footnotes:春梦无痕, chunmengwuhen - idiom, lit. vanished like a spring dream; fig. a short-lived illusion leaves no traces大有可为, dayoukewei - idiom, lit. with great prospects for the future讳莫如深, huimorushen - idiom, lit. important matter that must be kept a secret; fig. don't breathe a word of this to anyone蠢蠢欲动, chunchunyudong - idiom, lit. to begin to stir; fig. to grow restless, to become threatening