Editor: Areth Kyntaul
The Long Night Camouflages the Black Clothes. The Snow Dyes His Hair White (Part 2)
All of the imperial guards had been slaughtered.
An assassin supporting a tall man ran over from the crowd. It was Fu Xiang he was supporting.
“Leader. I have found our second in charge.”
After seeing the severity of his wounds and checking his pulse, Jia Yunfeng discovered that Fu Xiang had lost all of his martial arts. He couldn’t help but feel pity for Fu Xiang, who lost all of his skills in his sixties.
‘We investigated the skilled fighters in the palace carefully and found nobody to be stronger than Hu Po. Hu Po would at most be even with my second brother, and he just returned to the palace. There’s no way he could’ve beaten Fu Xiang like this.’ he thought.
“What about our fourth in charge?”
“Reporting, Leader. It is unknown where our fourth in charge is. Those who went to look for him have not returned. However, based on the information we’ve heard, it sounds like Princess Hongzhuang met with him once so she should have a clue.”
Jia Yunfeng had just heard about that so he knew, but couldn’t help but ponder; ‘Although he’s a lustful one, he is vicious for sure. For him to be fleeing with the princess chasing him… it doesn’t make sense. ‘
Fu Xiang had lost all of his martial arts, while Zhong Ning was missing. Mystery had never faced such a situation since their inception. Though their plan was complete, and their martial prowess surpassed the skills of those in the palace, they paid a big price in the end. Relying on just one assassination organisation to overthrow an Emperor’s rule is rash at the end of the day.
Jia Yunfeng had been with the League of Assassins for years and had gone through life and death with Fu Xiang and company. So, you could say that they shared a brotherhood bond. His second brother was severely wounded while his fourth brother was missing.
He walked up to Yu Ye, who was moulding energy, and palmed him in the middle of his back to help him mould energy.
Jia Yunfeng possessed great strength so with his help, Nan Junfei’s execution of Qi Release Aspiration Manual was a lot smoother, allowing him to heal up much quicker. Although he couldn’t completely recover from his severe wounds, he at the very least could now stand up.
“Big Bro! You’re finally here!”
Jia Yunfeng nodded, “His Highness was right to have me as the backup plan.”
“Big Bro, about the Imperial Jade Seal, you…”
“I’m going to get it now.”
The blood in the plaza had dried, and the cries of pain had ended.
The snow on the ground had turned dark red.
Jia Yunfeng then turned his head to look for the Emperor. He didn’t move his hand, and the Emperor didn’t know how he did it, but he managed to release his sealed meridian just by sweeping his gaze over him. His arms and legs were still restrained, but he could speak now.
“Jia Yunfeng! You… You heartless maniac! If I don’t kill you and offer you as an offering to my soldiers, I will never consider myself a human being!”
Nan Junfei who came up to the front snickered, “It’s a little too early for you to be saying that, Your Majesty. It’s still unknown how long you’ll still be on your throne once His Highness gets the Imperial Jade Seal.”
Jia Yunfeng said, “You need not say unnecessary things, Third Brother. As long as he hands over the seal, I’ll guarantee his safety.” He said that with absolute confidence, completely unlike a servant of the Orange Prince.
The Emperor was fuming to the point his face turned purple. He huffed and puffed as he exclaimed, “F-Fuck you and your bullshit!! The Imperial Jade Seal is a national treasure. An Emperor can’t just hand it to anyone. You’re being ridiculous!”
“Don’t be rash, Your Majesty. First of all, you don’t understand me or how Mystery operates. Mystery is an assassination group. We are only responsible for killing. Who we kill and how we kill is dependent on our client or what we want.”
“Say whatever you like. I will never submit! Nan Junfei told me a fair bit about what you can do. You’re going to torture me, but heh, isn’t the one in charge of torturing people not here?”
“I don’t need to torture you. I have my own way.”
Jia Yunfeng sounded like he had plans ready, but indifferently asked, “Why do you think we chose to act at this time? Did you think that we acted so hastily just for the opportunity provided by the imperial martial arts tournament? Didn’t it ever cross your mind that we took this risk because we had a corresponding chance of success?”
The Emperor didn’t understand why he chose to ask such a confusing question now, of all times. Did they have some other logical reason to act today? Being a smart man, a frightening idea came into the Emperor’s mind when he thought about it.
Jia Yunfeng suddenly spoke, “That’s right. It was because your daughter was returning.” He swept his eyes over to Princess Hongzhuang and she suddenly felt like she could now speak.
The Emperor saw through what Jia Yunfeng meant and angrily roared, “Traitor! You dare?!”
“I am a very timid man that doesn’t dare to do anything.” Jia Yunfeng then turned to ask the princess, “May I ask if you saw my fourth brother, Zhong Ning?”
“Of course I did.” Princess Hongzhuang wore a cold look as she continued, “I saw Zhong Ning, and my opinion was that he’s so disgusting you’d be hard-pressed to find another as disgusting as him. But when I saw you, I came to realise that there’s always someone worse. You killed all those innocent people.”
“Winner takes all, and the losers must die. Mystery has not killed as much as your father. All I want to ask is: Where is my fourth brother?”
Princess Hongzhuang raged, “I turned him into mincemeat and fed him to the dogs already!”
“Very good. I’m very satisfied with your answer.”
Jia Yunfeng then made a light appear on his finger. It wasn’t sword-qi, but another level above; sword aura. With his qi gathered on his hand, the sword aura is as sharp as a real sword that could actually clash with real blades.
Sword aura is different from sword-qi and is very rarely seen. It’s a challenging task for top-tier swordsmen to create a sword made of qi that’s about one-inch. Yet Jia Yunfeng went and formed a one-foot sword of qi which is something almost unheard of.
The Emperor thought to himself, ‘He’s not old, so how is his cultivation so pure? Hu Po wouldn’t be able to match him even at one-hundred percent. There’s nobody in the palace who could beat him!’
Jia Yunfeng pointed it at Princess Hongzhuang’s thin clothes and made four slashes. She was dressed in minimal thin clothes, to begin with, and he had now cut it up into numerous pieces of cloth. The immobilised princess was left with just a single layer of thin clothing, revealing her alluring lines. The force of the sword pushed her to the ground. Her fall caused her shoulder to turn red and swell up, which was very visible with her snow-white skin.
Jia Yunfeng unsealed her meridians just so that she could shriek when he tortured her so as to make the Emperor’s heart ache. Princess Hongzhuang was born stubborn so she refused to make a sound.
“If you don’t cry out in pain, there will be lots for you to suffer from.”
The princess clenched her teeth tightly and refused to make a sound.
Jia Yunfeng stopped holding back and stabbed her snow-white shoulder. Her skin was prettier than snow. Her delicate skin couldn’t withstand the cruelty of the sword of qi, causing her to bleed. Princess Hongzhuang revealed a look of pain but still refused to make a sound.
The Emperor’s heart ached for her though. He couldn’t stop himself from yelling, “You beast! What are you doing?! Come at me if you’re tough!”
“Father! My life is not worth anything!” Despite blood pouring out of her shoulder, she kept a stern expression and indifferently said, “He’s just using my life to exchange it for the Imperial Jade Seal, but he will kill you once he gets his hands on it. Our only chance at survival is to keep the seal.”
Before Princess Hongzhuang could finish, Jia Yunfeng cut in.
“It’s a good plan, princess, except that you’re wrong this time. I kill without batting an eye, a fact you should be aware of.” His tone was indifferent as usual, just like when he emotionlessly ordered his men to kill, “The same goes for women too.”
He gathered his energy to the tip of his finger, turning the sword of qi into a weapon sharper than a normal blade. Just moving his finger closer to the princess could kill her.
“I’ll count down from three. Where is the Imperial Jade Seal? Three, two, and ……”
The Emperor realised that his murderous intent was for real, so he panicked; “No, No! I can’t! Whatever it is you want, just say the word. I can confer you a rank and emolument of nobility. I could confer your entire Hua Shan sect titles! You can have anything you want, as long as you release Hong’er.”
Princess Hongzhuang rushed to exclaim, “Father, he won’t dare do anything to me.”
“Say no more, Hong’er. Jia Yunfeng, as long as you’re willing to release Hong’er, I’ll give you anything you want.” For somebody who hates evil with a vengeance to say that, it showed just how deeply he loved his daughter. Princess Hongzhuang felt warmth in her heart and hence didn’t know what to do.
Jia Yunfeng gave a clear response, “I want the Imperial Jade Seal.”
“I can give you anything else as long as you sp(are)-…”
“One.” Jia Yunfeng stared at the Emperor’s eyes and continued, “Time’s up.”
Jia Yunfeng raised his hand up without a hint of mercy. He aimed his sword of qi at Princess Hongzhuang’s neck the same way he had done with Hu Po. A touch of red grazed past and the princess slowly turned limp.
The Emperor didn’t think Jia Yunfeng would be so vicious. His eyes were blood-red and brimmed with tears as he shouted loudly, “Hong’er! Hong’er! Jia Yunfeng, you animal! I’ll kill you!” The Emperor reacted like a wounded wild-animal, desperately trying to get his immobilised body to move. He wanted to kill the insane demon, even if he had to bite him to death.
Jia Yunfeng retained his indifferent nature even after killing Princess Hongzhuang, “I just killed one of your daughters. Where is the Imperial Jade Seal? If you don’t tell me, the harem will be next. I’ll kill all of your women.”
The Emperor’s face started to look even more distorted.
Jia Yunfeng knew his plan had worked. All he had to do now was wait for the Emperor to break due to despair.
But then Jia Yunfeng’s expression changed as well.
He had learnt swordplay from a young age, so he was an expert in killing with a sword. When he struck at Princess Hongzhuang’s neck just now, he felt the sensation clearly. The sensation felt right, but the sound he heard didn’t. It didn’t sound the same as when he cut Hu Po’s neck.
What was stranger was how even his surroundings had gone quiet.
Jia Yunfeng didn’t see her corpse.
He never checked the dead, because there was no point. His ability to sense qi could do everything for him. It could inform him if a person was dead or just playing dead. There was no escaping him. But what was strange was that he couldn’t detect any qi. A person who just died shouldn’t give off this reaction.
One of his subordinates spoke out in a trembling voice, “L-Leader, she…”
“I know… This is very strange…”
Jia Yunfeng still didn’t turn to look. He just pondered to himself where the strike went wrong, ‘Could I have stabbed the wrong princess? No. Did I use a fake sword of qi?’
But then the Emperor’s words brought the pieces of the puzzle together for Jia Yunfeng, “Where’s Hong’er?! Where did Hong’er go?!”
Jia Yunfeng finally realised something was off. He turned to look, only to find Princess Hongzhuang had disappeared. It was as if she vanished into thin air without a trace.
At that same very moment, an aloof voice came from the distance.
“Are you all done fooling around?”
The voice was very weird. It sounded like it came from right in front yet far off in the distance as if its location was changing every second.
Jia Yunfeng was the first one to locate the owner of the voice. As soon as he caught sight of him, Jia Yunfeng froze in place like he had undergone petrification.
He had arrived.
He arrived lightly, like the moon shining through tree-branches. Like snow slowly condensing, appearing before you knew it.
He wore a bronze mask of what looked like a ghost of some sort and dressed in all black. In his arms was the girl who had vanished.
The heroic and suave Princess Hongzhuang was now lying in his arms like a little child, looking at him with infatuation. Her neck was slightly red, but she wasn’t hurt.
He was the one who saved her.
The princess initially hated him, but when she saw him again, she looked at him with an infatuated gaze because she didn’t know that he was the pervert she had been chasing down for a long time, for the man had a head full of white hair like snow.
*Sword-qi is where you envelope your weapon partially or completely with qi. Sword aura is like manipulating the shape of your qi, so actually forming a sword made of qi without a physical weapon.