Not too long after their exchange, everyone packed up their things and readied the horses and carriages to depart for Guyi City.
A man named Zhang Yuehan led the group. As per his wishes, Huang Wan stood in the middle while Bai Yunfei walked slowly from behind.
Bai Yunfei would often times talk with Tang Xinyun while Tianming would interject into the conversation with a smile and a word of his own. Naturally, aunty Zhao would stand between Bai Yunfei and Tang Xinyun as if guarding her from Bai Yunfei.
From the conversation, Bai Yunfei learned that aunty Zhao’s full name was Zhao Mancha, and she was the maid for Tang Xinyun’s mother. Zhao Mancha had also been responsible for being the nanny of Tang Xinyun, so when she went out to travel, Tang Xinyun’s mother told the aunty to travel with her for protection. Her homelands were southwest of the Beiyan Province in the Shanlin Province, but the specifics had not been divulged to him. Naturally, Bai Yunfei had taken the hint and inquired no more.
However, for a servant woman like Zhao Mancha to be a Soul Sprite, Bai Yunfei could at least guess that the family they belonged to was very strong to say the least. After an even closer observation, Bai Yunfei could detect a glint of sadness whenever Tang Xinyun mentioned her mother. It seemed that this ‘home’ of hers was not filled with much love for the mother and daughter pair…
After ‘revealing’ his own identity, Tianming decided to forego his secrecy to talk in a torrential downpour of words about how life was for him in Gaoyi City. He talked about how he had been bored to death within his home, and how the self-indulgent second generation of the aristocratic families made him despise their arrogance and type. Almost as if he never had anyone to say this to before, Tianming had been exuberant in his words. He had even talked about several ‘secrets’ that shouldn’t be said, such as how there was a morbidly obese swine of a man from the house of Liu. That man loved to pretend he was handsome, and Tianming had always wanted nothing more than to beat the fat away. However, the fatty had a younger sister that was quite pleasing with eyes that were limpid and intelligent…
Bai Yunfei practically turned bright-red with what he was hearing. Clearly Tianming had been stuck in his house for far too long. He was all too happy to ‘flew the coop’ and say what had been making him so sad the entire time. Of course, this was also possible because Bai Yunfei and Tang Xinyun didn’t give him the feeling of ‘wanting to hurt him’, so he had seen no need to put a filter on what he said. For as much as he said, whenever it concerned the secret matters of their respective clans, Ye Tianming knew of the proper limits and stopped whenever it was getting too personal.
Traveling slowly until the sun set, the group found another open clearing for everyone to set up for the night. According to Huang Wan, they were still roughly halfway there from Yanlin City to Guyi City. With another three days or so, they would arrive at their destination.
During the day, they would come across several other travelers. When there were trails off the main path, small parties from the main group would quickly travel down the path to find a resting spot.
Seeing how everyone was busy with their own tasks and how he was useless to help them, Bai Yunfei thought from sunrise to sunset and even deep into the night. He was thinking of a way he could help. Finally, he decided that he could stroll around the troop and find some wild game to hunt for everyone to eat later that night.
Walking within a thousand meters of the group, Bai Yunfei hoped that he could find hare, pheasant, or any other type of game. Why search within just a thousand miles and why not even farther? What rubbish! If he were to get lost, they would have to come find him, and how embarrassing that would be!?
“Wha-what a fat pheasant! And there’s three of them! Haha, we’ll be eating well tonight!” Bai Yunfei’s eyes sparkled as he observed the three pheasants in the brush in front of him. With a swing of his hand, three daggers flew out…
After tieing up the claws of the freshly-killed pheasants with some reeds found nearby, Bai Yunfei slowly made his way out of the forest. Bai Yunfei felt a happy sensation as he made his way back.
It was only after he made it back to the main path that he realized he was well over a thousand meters away from the area where the rest of them were. Sweat-dripping in shame, Bai Yunfei whirled around to walk back when, all of a sudden, a sound from behind had startled him.
“Eh? Bai Yunfei, is that really you!?”
This was a dreadfully terrifying experience for Bai Yunfei. If a Soul Sprite like him wasn’t able to detect someone so close to him, then Bai Yunfei shuddered to imagine what would have happened to him should that person bear ill-will to him…
Bai Yunfei’s continued to walk without turning back for several meters. Then, he quickly turned around to whirl the daggers in his right hand. However, it was then that Bai Yunfei realized that instead of daggers, he was still holding the three pheasants he had just hunted. Hurriedly shaking his right hand to withdraw two daggers from his space ring instead, he looked vigilantly at the person in front of him with the daggers ready to let loose.
A youth with a nose as small as his eyes could be seen standing several meters away. The youth looked at him with a rather strange expression that could perhaps be interpreted as joy.
“Who are you?” Bai Yunfei’s eyebrows knit together as he scanned the youth with his soulsense. The youth looked like a regular civilian without any noticeable features. However, the fact that he hadn’t been able to detect this youth had given him a queer feeling — this feeling was rather familiar…
“This is great — you’re alive! I heard the commotion last night just outside the city walls. I thought you went and got yourself killed!” The youth let out a sigh in exuberant joy.
“Jing Mingfeng!” Bai Yunfei’s eyebrows flew up on his face when he realized that this person was in fact Jing Mingfeng! It was only that Jing Mingfeng had changed his physical appearance again.
Winking his eyes, the youth gave a grin, “Who else could it be but me? Haha, Bai Yunfei, finding out that you’re still alive is just great news! If you went and died, then I’d be too ashamed to live in peace.”
Even as he spoke, there was not the slightest tint of shame to his smile. It was almost as if Jing Mingfeng was regarding him as a very old friend. Walking toward Bai Yunfei, his arms opened wide as if to give him a hug.
He bore no ill will at all. Having seen Bai Yunfei safe and sound made his heart feel at peace. At the same time, he was overly happy about everything.
Bai Yunfei felt his emotions stir. Placing the pheasants in his hand down on the ground, he held his arms out and began to stroll briskly to Jing Mingfeng.
Smiling even wider now, Jing Mingfeng picked up his pace with a beaming smile, “It’s great to see that yo-”
“You bastard! I should arrest you! Give back my innocent name!!” The instant the two got close to one another, Bai Yunfei’s hands flew swiftly to Jing Mingfeng neck. He began to strangle him with his teeth grinding against each other in rage.
“I… I… I can explain! Just let me… let me apologize, alright? Haha…” Jing Mingfeng’s face turned red as he tried to breath.
“Is there a damn point to your apologies! I was nearly killed by you, and even that aside, I was still called a ‘depraved pervert’ because of you! I’ll hang your liver to the wall damn it. Do you realize just how many people saw me there that day!? My reputation! Why!? You bastard!” Bai Yunfei grabbed Jing Mingfeng’s collar to shake it before ultimately throwing him ten meters away.
Jing Mingfeng flew through the air before finally falling back to the ground. Bai Yunfei had already caught up to him before he hit the ground, and was ready to trample him to death.
“No! Just let me explain! I can apologize! I sai-”
“Apologize my ass! I’ve so many complaints. I don’t even know where to start with you! I swear, if I ever meet you again, I’ll beat you so badly that your mom won’t even recognize you! Apologize? Just wait until I’m through with you!” Bai Yunfei furiously snarled in a fit of rage.
The mixed sounds of pummeling and shrieks of pain could be heard from so far that they caught the attention of Tang Xinyun and the others.
Several minutes later, the shrieks grew even more quiet as if the owner was growing tired. Even the pummeling sounds grew quiet as well…
“Lord Bai, what happe-”
A single startled yelp could be heard, causing Bai Yunfei to turn his head up. Right in front of him were Tang Xinyun, Zhao Mancha, Tianming, and even Huang Wan. Stunned, the entire group could only look at him and then at what seemed to be a… man?
“Miss Tang, Aunty Zhao, you came at a good time, I’ve got proof to clear my name!” Bai Yunfei held Jing Mingfeng up by the clothes as he spoke to the two females. “This is the person who impersonated me that day and made trouble for you! He is the ‘depraved pervert,’ and has nothing to do with me!”
“Ehhh? Are you saying this person pretended to be you?”
Tang Xinyun studied Jing Mingfeng. He looked more like a pig than a man in the face from the beating. Her eyebrows knit together almost like she was not sure if that was the right question to ask.