Zhao Xing’s current expression wasn’t just ugly–it was extremely hideous.
In contrast to the house of Ye, the halls of the house of Zhao was far more somber in atmosphere. Just vaguely, two shadows could be seen seated within the halls; it was the head of the Zhao, Zhao Xing and attendant Li Chen from the Beast Taming School.
From dusk to midnight, the two of them had been drinking tea cup after cup as they waited for their men to return after kidnapping Ye Tianming and the Quickshade Bird. But the group never returned. Zhao Xing had been besides himself and continued to look outside the area every so often in anxiety. Li Chen himself was no longer calm himself and looked as if the expression on his face had hardened. Even as he stroked the three-tailed cat, the speed in which he was doing so was noticeably faster than before as if expressing the irritation in his mind.
“Attendant Li, it’s been….long enough now, why have they not returned yet? Perhaps something has happened? Perhaps the Ye has already done something in secret?” Zhao Xing could hold it in no longer and looked to Li Chen as he asked.
“What are you panicking about? They could already be on the road back now. You are the head of the household and yet you have no patience at all. Pah! Your family is beyond help….” Li Chen spoke with discontent when he glanced over at him. But even with that, one could tell that his expression on his face was not as calm as before.
Zhao Xing’s face had flushed with anger, but he had managed to keep his tongue in cheek and stared silently at the entrance to the hall.
Then–the sounds of footsteps could be heard approaching the halls, causing Zhao Xing’s face to brighten up. However, when he saw that the faces of these newcomers were not at all the same ones of the people who were dispatched earlier, a look of worry crossed his face again. Before they could even bow to him in greeting, Zhao Xing had asked in a hurry, “Well? Did you find caretaker Zhao and the others?”
“My lord, we have come with a report. Signs of a skirmish can be seen on the outskirts of the city near the hills, but no traces of caretaker Zhao can be seen. Furthermore….we have lost contact with the people meant to observe them in secret. Their whereabouts are currently unknown….”
The ones giving the report had left the halls shortly after reporting in, allowing Zhao Xing to collapse onto his chair with a dazed look. If it were only just Zhao Chuan that was missing, that could be because he was still in hot pursuit of Ye Tianming. But if the ones assigned to observe Zhao Chuan were gone as well, then it could only mean that something must have happened to them all….. “But, but how could that be….? Our intelligence said that only two other youths were traveling with Ye Tianming. The Ye had only sent people after Ye Tianming after Zhao Chuan left, meaning there should have been more than enough time for him to capture Ye Tianming before anything could happen. So just why….”
The more Zhao Xing thought about it, the more he started to fidget. Since everyone else aside from Zhao Chuan was from the Beast Taming School, Zhao Xing was just opening his mouth to ask Chen Li what was going on when Li Chen gave a small start. Extending his right arm out, a small dark shadow suddenly shot forth from the entrance and onto his palm, revealing the shadow to be a small black rat.
The rat had looked at Li Chen with its small red eyes before letting out two emotionless squeaks and coming to a stop in his hand.
The expression on Li Chen’s face had immediately solidified into an even more unsightly look. Even his body was starting to twitch slightly–he had sent this small rat out to trail behind Wu Sen earlier. As a soulbeast, it was without much power and was incapable of passing along a detailed report of what happened, but a vague description could still be gained from it. Wu Sen and the others had been killed.
“Lord Zhao, I believe that our plans will have to be changed….”
And now, we return to a luxurious guest room within the northern courtyard of the house of Ye.
From ontop of his spacious and soft bed, Bai Yunfei could be seen staring at the rings in front of him with worry.
These special rings were the space rings specifically worn by the people from the Beast Taming School. Jing Mingfeng had appropriated the ones that Fang Hao and Tai Ping had worn, saying that it was his ‘spoils of war’. These rings in particular were modified so that they could only carry around the soulbeast puppets, so they were useless to Jing Mingfeng and were thus given to Bai Yunfei to keep.
“If brother Hong Yin was here, I could give these to him. But right now….I’ll have to carry it in the meanwhile. These space rings are strange though, I can’t store them in my own space rings, meaning I have to carry them on my own person. But that’s annoying. Sigh, if only there was some sort of equipment that could let me store space rings too….”
Shaking his head, Bai Yunfei had then placed all of the rings within an embroidered bag before checking on his own ‘spoils of war’: Several ordinary space rings, the Heart Protecting Mirror with a big and small hole through it. There were also the low-rare grade equipment: the watermelon slice-shaped short blade, and the other incomplete soul items and currency.
“How unfortunate that golden shield was destroyed. That was probably a middle-rare grade equipment, sigh….”
Classifying the items one by one, Bai Yunfei had stored everything away without bothering to upgrade them. Instead, of sitting down to cultivate, he had instead laid back onto his bed with both hands cradling his head so he could rest and think of what to do in the future.
“I didn’t leave behind any evidence, so the Beast Taming School shouldn’t know it’s me that killed off their students. But still, I’m more or less enemies with the school now. It’d be wise for me to be careful and not show off any one of these items so that anyone from the Beast Taming School can see it….”
The very first thought that had came to mind was the Beast Taming School. Killing those tamers had been a simple task, but Bai Yunfei had not become so arrogant as to look down onto a school that was within the top ten in this world. It went without saying that he knew that should he come across a Soul Ancestor like the one in Cuiliu City or a perhaps a Soul Exalt from the Beast Taming School, protecting his life would be an incredibly difficult one.
The Zhao had never been a thought for concern for him on the other hand. The Zhao didn’t know who he was, and so he could stay within Gaoyi City for a good four or five days before leaving. Whether it was fight or flight, it all depended on his own mood.
“Well, I should go pay a visit to the Liu as well…”
“I wonder how miss Xinyun is. There were only four beast tamers back then, so they should be completely safe by now. I wonder if I’ll be able to see them again….”
Early the next morning, Bai Yunfei had barely just walked out of his room when he saw that Jing Mingfeng and Tianming were already waiting in the courtyard.
In Jing Mingfeng’s hand was an item that looked like a dagger, but at the same time, it did not. It was closer to a short blade on one side, but on the other side was a sawtooth design. This oddity of a weapon was being closely studied by both Jing Mingfeng and Tianming before Bai Yunfei could identify it as the soul item that they had taken from Tai Ping.
“Brother Bai, you’re up? I was just about to call you up! Did you rest well last night? There was nothing wrong with your stay, right? Let me know and I’ll have some servants take care of it!” Tianming had smiled when he saw Bai Yunfei approach them.
“Ah, yes, nothing was wrong. It was quite a nice night.” Bai Yunfei nodded his head before turning to speak to Jing Mingfeng. “It’s best to not take out these items as you will anymore. Do you want to let everyone know it was us that killed the ones from the Beast Taming School?”
“Haha, relax, I know.” Jing Mingfeng chuckled before storing the soul item away from Tianming’s admiring eyes.
After washing their face and teeth, the trio had gone off to eat breakfast. To be polite, Bai Yunfei had gone off to pay his respects to Ye Ting and made conversation for a good while. As soon as the conversation was over, he had left the house so that Tianming could take him and Jing Mingfeng around the city to go purchase a few things.
Bai Yunfei and Jing Mingfeng couldn’t help but laugh when they looked at how excited and lively Tianming was as they walked through the flourishing streets of the city. Everywhere they went, Tianming had went off onto a long and wordy explanation of what was good in the area, and what places had the best things to do.
“Well now, Tianming, since you can talk so much about these ‘fun’ places, you must be extremely familiar with them. How amazing you are!” Jing Mingfeng couldn’t help but tease him.
But Tianming had taken this ‘compliment’ in stride. Flinging his hair back, Tianming spoke with an air of arrogance, “Well of course! My nickname in Gaoyi City as the ‘Duke of Play’ isn’t in vain you know….”
“Hm? ‘Duke of Play’? What’s that?” Jing Mingfeng was baffled.
“‘Duke of Play’ refers to me, not a thing!” Tianming had halted in his speech as if he thought he had said something wrong for a moment before continuing on with it, “I’m not saying I’m good for nothing, I’m saying that I’m known as one of the ‘Four Dukes’ of Gaoyi City! The ‘Duke of Play’ is my nickname!”
“Four Dukes of Gaoyi? What’s that?”
“It means we’re the four young lords really.” Tianming explained. “In Gaoyi City, there is the house of Liu, Ye, and Zhao. Then there’s also the lord of the city’s son. Each one of us have some sort of nickname to go with us, kind of like the ‘Four Lords of the Capital’ in the capital.
“Hold on, where did these ‘Four Lords of the Capital’ suddenly come from?” Jing Mingfeng blurted out in curiosity.
Bai Yunfei’s curiosity had been piqued as well when heard the word ‘capital’. “Tianming,” He started. “Are these ‘Four Lords of the Capital’ also the sons of some four major households? Can you tell us more about it?”