251: The Value of Flowers
“You did say it!” Feng Wu bit her lip at his refusal to admit it. Her eyes became red and her expression clearly said she was being horribly wronged.
Noel never thought of himself as a good guy, but he was gracious when dealing with the female gender. He immediately coaxed Feng Wu when he saw how aggrieved she was.
“Don’t cry, don’t cry. It was definitely my fault. I was wrong. You can beat me if you want, just don’t cry OK?”
“I’m not crying.” Master said warriors bled, but they never cried, so she never cried.
Eyes red, tears rolling down – if you don’t call that crying, then what is?!
Despite his thoughts, Noel was a veteran when it came to these things. Of course he wouldn’t speak his thoughts out loud. Experience told him women weren’t reasonable when they cried. The only thing he could do was offer an ear and listen.
Many pairs of eyes were on them, most of which held condemnation for him, as though he was a bad guy bullying a girl. Noel felt it would be better to find someplace more private and ask her about the situation there.
He was still rather confused. He didn’t know what had happened exactly. The only thing he got was that she had given Senior Ming Xi flowers. But what was this about chance encounters? Please don’t let it be what he thought it was.
“Feng Wu, how about we sit over there?” Noel asked her carefully.
Feng Wu shook her head. “No, Jier wants me to wait for him here.”
Feng Wu had always been obedient. She always did what she promised, and since she promised Jier she would wait for him, she would wait for him.
Noel didn’t know who Jier was, but it sounded like the guy was her friend. He lied a little in order to get them away from public eye.
“Your friend said not to leave training ground number 5, but we’re not going to leave, so don’t worry. As long as we’re in the area, your friend will be able to find us.” Noel told a little white lie in order to get Feng Wu away from the crowd. At worst it would just take the guy a bit more time to find them.
The academy had ten training grounds that students could use to practice their magic and martial arts. The ground was made of special material, so it wouldn’t get damaged no matter how strong an attack was. Students used one of the ten training grounds whenever they wanted to practice.
The grounds were immense and could accommodate 500 people training at once without any trouble. The challenges were always held there.
After thinking for a bit, Feng Wu nodded.
It wouldn’t be easy to find someone in such a big place, but Noel led Feng Wu away without feeling any guilt the moment she agreed. He didn’t dare waste a single minute. Once they found a more private place, he immediately asked her what she did.
When Noel heard about Feng Wu going to Ming Xi’s dorm, about her showing up at Ming Xi’s classroom, and finally at the men’s bathroom . . . he needed a moment of silence. Just a moment.
He looked at Feng Wu’s big innocent eyes. He felt weak-kneed. What was this? It was his fault!
He shouldn’t have said those things to her.
“Xiao Wu, you didn’t do all the things I said, did you?” Noel asked hopelessly.
“I said the things you taught me, but Senior Ming Xi was still unhappy.” Feng Wu didn’t understand why Ming Xi’s reaction was so different from the one Noel got.
What man would be happy to hear he’s a pretty as a flower?! Noel felt like he’d been shafted. He’d only given her two examples of how he chased girls. How’d it end up like this?
“Those kinds of things, you say them to girls. It would be weird to say it to a guy! How could he be happy?!” Noel couldn’t help but growl out in frustration.
“You did not say that!” Why didn’t he tell her these things were for women and not men? Noel was bad! And now she’d said them to Senior Ming Xi. He must be so unhappy. He might never marry her! The more Feng Wu thought about it, the sadder she became, and the redder her eyes got.
“Stop, don’t cry. I . . . I’ll figure something out. I’ll think of a way to get him to accept you.” Anything to make her tears stop. They could always talk it out.
“Really?” Her eyes shone with hope. The red tint entirely gone, instead her eyes were full of expectation.
Did she just learn the fake tears skill? Noel couldn’t help but wonder if he’d been duped by her. But upon thinking about it, he knew it was impossible. If she was so clever, she would have found her own means to chase after Ming Xi; she wouldn’t have needed him to help her.
“Let’s put the flowers down first. Such a big bouquet, it must be heavy.” He stepped forward to help her as he finished speaking.
But Feng Wu stepped back. “No, these 99-gold flowers are expensive. They can’t be put down. They might break.” Feng Wu was serious. The flowers had cost her 99 gold.
“Well you can’t hold onto them forever. Ming Xi didn’t accept them. Here, I’ll take them for you.”
Feng Wu shook her head. “No.”
This girl . . . she was too stubborn! “OK, how about you sell them to me, so 99 gold, OK?”
“OK,” agreed Feng Wu after a pause.
Noel took out his money bag and fished out 99 gold for her. Feng Wu promptly stuffed the roses into Noel’s arms.
“Xiao Wu, what are you doing here?” Ming Xi asked. He’d seen her walk off, but hadn’t thought much about it, assuming she was going with a friend. That was until Grace came over to tell him Noel was a playboy who changed girls as often as he changed clothes.
Unable to remain still, Ming Xi had found the teacher and chased after Noel. He witnessed Feng Wu giving the roses to Noel - the same flowers she had bought for him.
Ming Xi was really upset, so even though he walked up to them with a charming smile on his lips, the aura around him was quite black.
Feng Wu assumed he was still upset from earlier.
“Oh, if it isn’t Senior Ming Xi. Did Senior come to see Xiao Wu for something?” Noel’s playboy senses quickly picked up on the bad mood emanating from Ming Xi. He gave a chuckle. Turned out this dense girl wasn’t alone in a one-sided love.
“I know you. You’re Noel, fifth-seat, third year. Why aren’t you on stage for the competition?” In other words, why wasn’t this playboy gone already?
“Thank you for you concern Senior Ming Xi, but the third years don’t have their competition until later in the afternoon.” Noel smiled then took a deep whiff of the flowers in his arms.
252: A Pro At Selling Out a Teammate
Ming Xi’s eyes darkened. A touch of regret flitted across his heart, making him uncomfortable. He hadn’t accepted Feng Wu’s flowers, but that didn’t mean he wanted her to give them to another guy.
“Brother Noel, Xiao Wu is different from the other girlfriends you may have had. Please stay away from her. I don’t want you to hurt my friend.” Ming Xi thought about what Grace told him about Noel. It made him weary; he didn’t want Feng Wu to fall prey to a playboy.
“Brother Ming Xi, I also consider Xiao Wu a friend. How could I ever hurt her?” Noel shook his head quickly. Simple girls like Feng Wu were not his type. They were too pure to recognize danger. He didn’t want to be bound to such purity, so he would never shoot for someone like her.
“You think I’d believe the words of a playboy?” Ming Xi smiled, but his eyes were cold.
“Senior Ming Xi, that’s too much. I do have a lot of girlfriends, it’s true, but I am also a righteous person. If I were to chase Xiao Wu, I would do so openly. I would never sneak around.”
Noel could feel the ill-will coming from Ming Xi. He’d never forced anyone. All his girlfriends were together with him willingly. Why would Ming Xi suggest he wasn’t trustworthy?
“Noel is a friend.” Feng Wu unexpectedly came to Noel’s aid; probably because she could feel the tension between the two. She earnestly expressed her thoughts to Ming Xi.
In her heart, Noel wasn’t a bad person at all. Quite the opposite, he was a good person, and nice too. After all he had helped her come up with a plan to chase Ming Xi.
What would Ming Xi think if he knew Feng Wu’s criteria for judging whether a person was good or not? It was a good thing he couldn’t read her mind.
“He’s a friend. He’s not a bad person,” repeated Feng Wu sincerely.
This made Ming Xi unhappy. It was the first time she’d argued with him, and it was over another guy! She’d always been a good girl, so it was rare for her to go against other people.
She had to like the playboy more than he thought, if she was willing to defend the guy so strongly.
But didn’t she say she wanted to marry him? Yet here she was protecting another guy! Ming Xi didn’t know what was wrong with himself. He felt really upset. The more he looked at Noel, the more annoyed he got.
“Even if he’s not a bad guy, it doesn’t mean he’s a good person. This guy is the biggest playboy. His hobby is chasing girls. I don’t want him to hurt you. Do you understand?” Ming Xi knew how to talk to Feng Wu. It was best to be straightforward and to the point. Using subtlety wouldn’t work and probably just confuse her.
“Senior Ming Xi, that’s too much!” Noel yelled in defense. Untrue! When did he ever chase after girls for fun? The ladies chased after him OK?!
“I know.” Feng Wu nodded as she looked at Ming Xi. She knew this when she first saw Noel that day.
“You know?!” Ming Xi was surprised. He thought Feng Wu was naïve and didn’t understand these things, so he had been genuinely worried she would be deceived.
Feng Wu blinked in puzzled confusion at Ming Xi, as if to ask what was so strange about it.
“He was on a date with a girl on the beach when I met him. He said he chased girls too.” The implication of course was that she had always known Noel was a playboy.
In fact, Feng Wu only understood what a playboy was after all the romance stories she read over the recent break. They were all titles her mother recommended. Noel resembled a protagonist in one of the stories. He also changed girlfriends as often as he changed clothes. Noel reminded Feng Wu of the same character, so she felt he was also a playboy, like that character from the story.
“And you still want to be friends with him?”
“Why can’t I be friends with him? Noel taught me a lot.” Like pursuing Senior Ming Xi, but she wasn’t sure how to say it. Noel was so amazing. Feng Wu’s eyes were as big as grapes as she thought this.
“He taught you stuff? What did he teach you?” Ming Xi looked from Feng Wu to Noel. He couldn’t phantom what Noel could have taught her.
“He taught me how to pursue you.”
“Oph!” Noel blurted out unconsciously. Girl, are you trying to sell out your teammate?! Some things we can keep between us! You don’t have to share it!
“Pursuing . . .pardon?” Ming Xi asked in a long stretched out tone. His smile became increasingly bright.
“Xiao Wu, come tell me. The flowers, did Noel teach you this?” Ming Xi’s eyes glittered dangerously. Noel’s heart nearly stopped from fright. He was just a small third year. Fifth seat at best. How could he handle Ming Xi, who was first in the fifth years?
“Xiao Wu, why are you all the way over here? I’ve been looking all over for you. Look, here’s the breakfast I got you. Hurry and eat it while it’s still hot.” Jier had returned earlier after buying her breakfast, but she wasn’t where he left her. Knowing her, he immediately got worried.
She always did what she promised, so when she promised she would wait there, he expected her to be there. All kinds of thoughts flashed through his mind when he couldn’t find her.
Fortunately he kept his head and asked a few of the older senior sisters. It took him a while, but he was finally able to locate her thanks to her big bundle of roses. It was eye catching and memorable so it was easy to track her from eye witness accounts.
He knew she hadn’t left the 5th training ground, but he wasn’t sure what corner she hid in. He had to search all the corners and nooks until he finally found her. It wasn’t just Feng Wu, even Ming Xi was there. The guy suspected of kidnapping her was there too.
Feng Wu listened to Jier more than anyone else, but suddenly this guy appeared and convinced her to forget about him and run off? Jier was extremely resentful of the suspicious guy. This feeling . . . Jier felt like the daughter he’d so carefully raised was being stolen by some punk.
While Feng Wu grabbed the breakfast from Jier and happily ate it, Jier shifted his gaze to Noel and noticed the dazzling bouquet of 99 crystal roses.
253: Elena VS Shante
She refused to give him the flowers, but she was OK with giving it to this jerk? Had his place really dropped in Xiao Wu’s heart? Was this guy better than him? Jier was so angry.
“Xiao Wu, this is really interesting. You refused to give me the flowers, but you’re OK with giving it to this guy? Are we even friends?”
Feng Wu was busy eating. She didn’t reply until she finished swallowing her food. “I didn’t give them to him. I sold them.”
Not given?! Both Ming Xi and Jier were satisfied with her answer.
“Xiao Wu, let’s go watch the tournament. Senior Sister Elena is up next and we should cheer her on.” He needed to hurry and get Xiao Wu away from this jerk. Can’t let the innocent Xiao Wu be contaminated by someone like him.
Noel: What the hell kind of rascal is this guy?!
Feng Wu nodded. She wanted to go cheer Elena on.
Jier promptly pulled Feng Wu away, leaving Ming Xi and Noel alone.
Noel felt a strong chill at his back as he held the flowers. He put the flowers into his storage ring before turning around with a smile. He said, “Senior Ming Xi, I’m going to prepare for my challenge. I’ll be taking my leave now. Bye!”
He planned on escaping with those words, but Ming Xi had other plans.
“Fellow student Noel, can you explain to me why you wanted Xiao Wu to give me flowers?” Ming Xi’s smile was bright, but anyone who knew him knew the brighter the smile the scarier he was.
“Senior Ming Xi, it was all a misunderstanding. A genuine misunderstanding. I told her about my own experiences chasing girls to give her some ideas. I didn’t think she would duplicate them exactly!”
Was there anyone more misunderstood than him in the world? If he’d known, he would have stayed in the dorms instead of coming out to watch the fourth and fifth years. The whole disaster could have been avoided if he’d just stayed in.
“Really . . . come my brother, let’s have a chat.” Ming Xi neatly dragged Noel away. Then to make sure no sounds would escape, he soundproofed the area completely.
Feng Wu and Jier walked to where the fifth years were competing. Elena stood in the ring looking quite heroic with a long sword and fiery red outfit. Her and her opponent stood facing each other.
“Shante, it’s up to you to defeat Elena.”
“Shante you can do it! Shante you can do it!”
“Come on Senior Elena, you can’t lose to that scummy guy!”
“Sister Elena, we support you!”
“Goddess Elena, please strike down that toad, Shante!”
The enthusiasm in the audience was palpable. As a famous school beauty, Elena naturally had groupies who supported her. Men and women, they all supported her.
Of course there were some who disliked her, like Shante for example. He was a well-known pervert in the fifth year. Who knew how many girls he’d taken advantage of. He had never been successful the few times he tried to take advantage of Elena. This time he was lucky enough to survive the melee and challenge her.
He felt he could defeat her.
Elena looked at Shanta disdainfully, but she was careful. She never underestimated an opponent, even if the opponent’s abilities weren’t as good as hers.
“Elena, I’m not the same as I was before. Just obediently be my girlfriend and I’ll forget all your past rudeness.”
Though Shante was nowhere near as pleasing to the eye as Ming Xi, Jier or any of the other peerless men, he was definitely good looking. He and Noel were similar in many ways. Both loved women, but there the similarities ended. Noel never used force or coerced anyone to be with him. On the other hand, Shante used intimidation, force, and whatever means on hand to force girls he liked to be with him. Elena had saved several girls from Shante’s clutches in fact.
“Please, it’s still daylight and you’re already dreaming.” Elena sneered. Though she looked down on him, she wouldn’t underestimate him.
Shante was greedy and often did whatever it took to get what he wanted, but he was smart enough not to cross the school’s bottom line. In this way, he was able to keep from getting kicked out.
But villains like him didn’t scare Elena, even the ones who were smart. She didn’t give them a second thought.
Shante didn’t lose his cool, but his face did turn ugly upon hearing her words. “I’m not going to play around. Don’t think I can beat you? I will you know.”
Even if he never beat her before, Elena never underestimated him precisely because of his calm demeanor.
“You can do it Senior Sister Elena!” yelled Feng Wu.
Jier also called out his encouragement. He had used it as an excuse to whisk Feng Wu away from Noel earlier, but now that he was there, he wasn’t going to be lazy.
Elena looked over at Feng Wu’s voice and saw the two of them cheering her on. She smiled as though to say thank you.
“Challenger Shante vs Elena. Time: unlimited until knock out. The challenge starts now.” The teacher immediately left after ringing the bell to signal the start of the fight.
Elena and Shante simultaneously raised their swords to attack because they were sword users. Both of them were really strong, but Elena was more dexterous, so after a dozen strikes Shante was on the losing end.
Despite being at a disadvantage, Shante didn’t panic. Elena expected him to use some kind of trick, so she remained on guard.
Sure enough, Shante made a move. He switched to a sword technique, a new one he must have just obtained, that was one level higher than the one he just used.
254: Feng Yanran’s Story
Red light streaked with the sword as Shante attacked. Fire elemental force rushed at Elena. Her faced hardened and she raised her sword to block the blow. Though the fire elemental was split, there was still the physical attack from Shante to deal with. And now he was twice as fast as before.
He directed all his attacks at Elena’s womanly parts; she flushed; she hated people like Shante. He was purposefully being lewd.
But Elena wasn’t in the eighth seat for nothing. She also increased her speed. He was dreaming if he thought he could defeat her in sword skills. She made up her mind to teach Shante a lesson so her movements became ruthless, without a hint of hesitation.
Those watching felt suffocating pressure as strong aura filled the ring. The crowd suddenly understood the strength of the two who were battling it out.
Sure enough only the strong could stay in the ring. No one weak could have remained.
Shante’s eyes changed as Elena’s offensive became fiercer. His aura became intense, running to extremes. He was about to do something big.
Elena didn’t dare slow down, her sword became a blur as her speed also increased. She was also readying to release something big.
Everyone watching knew the fight would end soon.
Shante’s fire energy formed into a fire dragon ten meters long. It rushed at Elena thunderously.
Elena had also completed her move. A giant bird rose up. From a glance you could tell it wasn’t an ordinary bird, but was a sacred phoenix beast. It was a water-based qi formation, thus was full of water and qi.
They weren’t real, just coalesced qi, but they still clashed fiercely - dragon against bird.
But the conflict between the two elementals caused an explosion. Super strong attack power between the two rushed at each other mercilessly in the sky.
When the two forces collided a loud “Bang!” erupted and the two forces exploded. Both fighters wrapped themselves in a protective shield, but the shields were not strong enough to withstand the explosion, and ended up cracking before finally shattering altogether. Shante and Elena were knocked back by the explosion.
A burst of violent energy rushed out from the ring, surprising the audience. Although they instinctively wanted to hide, they knew there was no need. The fighting ring was designed in such a way that the audience would never be harmed from energy overflow.
The situation on stage was revealed once the smoke cleared. Both Elena and Shante were knocked off their feet by the explosion. Shante was seriously injured and had to cough out blood several times. He was completely knocked out of the boundary. Elena withstood the force in order to remain in the ring, so her injuries were much worse than Shante. Fortunately her clothes absorbed much of the impact, so her injuries weren’t fatal.
She stood up shakily after spitting out a mouthful of blood.
“Elena wins,” declared the referee emotionlessly.
Elena and Shante were immediately helped down from the ring and given two healing potions. A senior sister also used healing spells to help with their injuries. Their injuries weren’t fatal, so they would only need a few days rest to recuperate.
Two more challenges happened after that, both of which ended in failures. One was unfortunate. Had the boy been of higher birth and had better equipment, he would have been able to win, but his equipment was ordinary and he couldn’t defeat the tenth seat. Those watching felt sorry for the boy.
Originally, he should have victoriously challenged the ninth seat, thus forcing the loser in to the tenth seat position. The former ninth seat suffered a drop in popularity and he became a joke in school.
The heroine[notes] became friendly with him, encouraging him along the way. This naturally added one more die-hard knight to her fan club.
The tenth seat was none other than Yifu’s brother, who would later die for Zi Cheng.
But now the plot was different. Shante was obsessed with defeating Elena, so he challenged her instead of the ninth seat, Yifu’s brother. So now Yifu’s brother remained seated in the ninth seat. Would this change the outcome of the story?
This reminded Ai Lin of something important; Yanran, should have arrived at the academy already.
Speaking of Yanran, she was the most important side character. This side character was magical. None of the female side characters would have a good ending, regardless if they were on good terms with Zi Cheng or not.
But Yanran was an exception. She became the ruler of the blood race, and even married a human man, managing to live well all the way to the end of the story.
Yanran had such a good ending because Zi Cheng didn’t interfere. Even after Zi Cheng discovered the Yanran’s identity, she didn’t reveal it to the school, even going so far as to help conceal it.
Ultimately though, Yanran’s identity came out. This brought a huge amount of public criticism against Feng house. Eventually Grandfather Feng went crazy and died while practicing. Hang,[notes] left alone and unsupported, eventually died as well. The only one who would manage to survive would be Feng Tian.[notes]
Tian only survived because he became a star general. The asura blood race didn’t dare attack Star Marshall hall.
Ai Lin had felt the description about Yanran and the Feng family was fuzzy. For example, Yanran suffered from a serious genetic blood disorder because she was half human and half asura. Asuras looked human but they weren’t the same species. It would be difficult for two different species to conceive, and even if conception was possible, any offspring would be problematic and unlikely to survive long – much the same way interbreeding wolves and sheep or cats and mice would.
Yanran had so many health issues because of the defects in her genetics. She was often cold and lethargic. She would not live beyond twenty if her issues weren’t resolved before then.
But somehow Yanran returned cured after disappearing for a while. Her strength had also increased considerably – to emperor level, the highest rank for asuras.
The story didn’t explain how she was cured or what happened to her when she disappeared. Ai Lin thought it would be explained in an extra side story, but there was no side story about Yanran. She was a mystery.
Although Ai Lin didn’t want Zi Cheng to have an asura blood emperor as an ally, she couldn’t see a solution.
Asuras were not to be pushed around. Xing[notes] might not let her go if she didn’t deal with Yanran.
Xing would be hard to deal with. She didn’t care about anyone other than her husband and daughter. Any concern she expressed was just for show.
Ai Lin couldn’t figure out why Xing was so cold toward the rest of her family, or what happened to make her hate them so much.
She could try to befriend Yanran before Zi Cheng. But considering Yanran’s identity, the difficult would be high. Even Zi Cheng, once Yanran’s identity was revealed, was hunted for a time because of their friendship. Asuras were humanity’s natural enemy, so to befriend one was to betray humanity.
If Zi Cheng hadn’t brought the male lead and male love interest together to defeat the powerful force escaping the virtual world, no one would have forgiven her. Later she was hailed as a hero when, with Yanran’s cooperation, she facilitated a peace treaty between asuras and humanity.
Ai Lin decided not to approach Yanran after considering the consequences of such a friendship. She wasn’t Zi Cheng; she didn’t have a cheat system that gave invulnerability against Yanran and Xing. The affection system helped Zi Cheng maintain a good relationship with the two women.
Ai Lin wasn’t sure how she would fare if she switched roles with Zi Cheng. She was too weak to provoke Yanran, but that didn’t mean she didn’t have any options.
Secretly preventing Zi Cheng from getting cozy with Yanran and being friends was probably the safest bet.
Ai Lin spent over the half the competition thinking it over.
Those in the top ten understood each other’s strength. The 9th challenged the 8th, the 6th challenged the 5th, and the 3rd challenged the 2nd.
The 10th, 7th, and 4th did not participate. They watched the fight with Ming Xi.
Ai Lin smiled coldly as she watched the 9th seat challenge Elena[notes] As expected, it was Yifu’s brother. This poor sport intended to take advantage of Elena’s injuries to rise in the ranks.
Feng Wu and Jier looked at Yifu’s brother. “Challenging Senior Elena at this time, 80% is to take advantage of her injuries. This 9th seat guy is no good.”
“Bad guy.” Feng Wu agreed. Her cheeks puffed out like a pufferfish in anger.
“This guy thinks it’ll be easy to defeat Senior Elena because she’s still recovering from her injuries. He thinks it’s going to be an easy fight, but he’s going to leave crying.” Jier was sure.
It didn’t take long before Yifu’s brother surrendered, leaving the ring with an ugly face. He’d wanted to use the opportunity to go higher; he never expected Elena to be so merciless.
Seeing the 10th seat sneer at him only made him angrier, but he knew he couldn’t say anything. The more he said, the more people would ridicule.
After the three groups finished fighting each other, Grace, who was the 2nd seat, turned to Ming Xi to submit a challenge. Refusal could only be allowed if a higher seat challenged a lower seat. In this case, Ming Xi couldn’t refuse.
It was a simple and quick battle. Ming Xi easily proved he wasn’t just a pretty face.
Despite knowing a loss was inevitable, the 4th seat challenged Ming Xi next. The challenge was just a way for him to gauge the distance between them.
It turned out the gap was huge. He would need to work harder in the future.
Ming Xi easily won all the challenges directed his way. The challenge came to a close and in the end no one in the top ten shifted positions.
The 4th years ended before the 5th years so Tian Ya and the others had been watching Ming Xi fight in the audience.[notes]
“Hey, have you heard? There’s a beauty in school?”
“Beauty? Even more beautiful than Zi Cheng and Ai Lin from the Magic division?”
“Yes, I heard she’s more beautiful than the two of them put together. She’s like a goddess.”
“That’s an exaggeration. There are lots of beautiful girls at our school. Never mind the Magic division, the Sword division also has lots of beauties. Can you say this new girl is more beautiful than all of them?”
The guy talking didn’t believe it. The continent was full of beauties, the school even more so. There were so many, one was practically inured to it.
“Well, whatever. I’ve never seen anyone so beautiful before. If you don’t believe me, then let’s go look together! There are a bunch of students at the gate entrance watching already,” shrugged the other boy, his expression clearly saying: If you don’t believe me then let’s go see.
“Yeah, if you don’t believe, just go see for yourself.”
It wasn’t just the two boys who were curious about the new beauty. In a short period of time, several students from the Sword division also decided to go over and see for themselves.
“Xiao Wu, let’s go take a look too. I’m really curious what kind of beauty can get these animals so excited.” Ink touched his chin in thought as his eyes drifted to the school gate.
Xi joined in. “I’ll go too. I want to see how beautiful this beauty is.”
“Yeah me too!”
Many of the others also quipped in. Interest wasn’t limited to just boys, plenty girls were also curious.
Feng Wu blinked and was dragged along by her classmates before she could express an opinion. Many of the students in Feng Wu’s class had come out to see.
The girl in question stood by the gate like an ethereal out of this world beauty. She exuded a strong independent aura even in a simple white dress. That body combined with that perfect face, all the beauties at school instantly dropped in rank.
In their hearts, the boys were howling: Beauty! Beauty! Peerless beauty!
“So beautiful! I’m in love!”
“She must be my future wife!”
“No way! A beauty of this caliber, this has to be an illusion!”
“Get out! With your attitude, there’s no way you’ll get her! Just take a picture and piss off!”
Such a lively scene. The beauty hadn’t even entered the school and the boys were already fighting over her.
How could the girls not have an opinion upon witnessing so much adoration, especially those with boyfriends – a boyfriend looking at another girl who is more beautiful than she is.
“What’s going on in your head?! If you think she’s prettier than I am, then we can just break up!”
“What are you ogling at? Stop that!”
“Hurry up and move on! What’s so good about that girl?!”
Some boys were dragged away while others were severely scolded.
Just as everyone was wondering who the beauty was, a teacher brought her in. There were so many people around. She ducked her head, her face slightly blushing. It was a shy gesture.
A shy, gentle beauty bowing her head. The boys recited poetry in their hearts at the sight.
Unfortunately the beauty was whisked away by the teacher and the boys were left bereft. They spent the rest of the day in a daze with stupid smirks on their faces. There wasn’t a single class that didn’t have at least one male student forced to stand outside the classroom door as punishment for not paying attention.
For her part, Feng Wu had only given the beauty a quick glance; she had recognized her immediately.
The girl was none other than Feng Yanran of course. Feng Wu's brother had told her a few days ago that Aunt Xing had been hired as a teacher by Xingguang Holy Academy. If she had any problems she couldn’t resolve on her own, she could go to their aunt for help.
Feng Wu had agreed, but didn’t think she would have anything to do with Aunt Xing.
Yanran and Xing’s arrival cast a dark cloud over the once calm academy. No one noticed though. The students were all innocent and only interested in gossiping about Yanran’s beauty and who she was.
It didn’t take long for people to discover she was from Feng house. Yanran wasn’t just beautiful and outstanding, she also came from an illustrious house.
Her immediate popularity came as no surprise. Zi Cheng and Ai Lin, who had been rather popular with the boys before, were now reduced to background noise.
Of course they weren’t the only ones to be ignored. Many of the other class beauties also paled in comparison.
Yanran was incredibly popular with the boys, but her popularity with the girls had sunk rock bottom – attracting all the boys’ attention as soon as she appeared, it would have been weird for any of the girls to like her.
Yanran had missed the enrollment window for the year, so was she the daughter of a teacher? Teachers were given preferential treatment and their children could enroll without taking the entrance exams, however if they performed poorly, they would be kicked out.
Yanran was a smart girl, plus Xing had always paid attention to her daughter’s education, thus the possibility of Yanran being kicked out for poor performance was nil.
Yanran didn’t go for the Magic or Sword division, instead she entered the Pharmacy division, probably due to her poor health.
Pharmacy required a lot of money and strong skills, so few were admitted. Those in Pharmacy didn’t have high combat abilities, but they befriended and formed alliances with those who were stronger. Because of this, Pharmacy students were the worse students to provoke.
That Yanran was able to enter Pharmacy meant her skills were definitely strong, otherwise those old coots in the division would never have let her in. They didn’t care about background or privilege, only if a person had the skills. They would never have allowed her into their division if she wasn’t qualified.
Yanran coming to school had nothing to do with Feng Wu, but by next morning Feng Wu was the center of attention again.
“Classmate, can you call Feng Wu for me?” Yanran asked the blushing male sword user in front of her. The smile she gave was as dazzling as the stars. She really was a fascinating character!
“O . . . OK, I’ll go now.” The boy turned around to do as bidden, but he smacked into the door frame in his rush.
Those who’d been peeking laughed out loud. Being laughed at made the boy’s face even redder. He straightened up and rushed inside, not daring to look at Yanran again.
Feng Wu was reading a romance novel at her seat. Ink felt she was sorely lacking in information when it came to love, so he had lent her several books out of friendship. She had been nibbling through them all day.
“Feng . . . Feng Wu, go to the door. Yanran is waiting for you.” The boy looked at Feng Wu anxiously, as if expecting her to hurry and not keep Yanran waiting.
“Yanran?” Yanran was looking for her? Feng Wu blinked, not understanding why Yanran would want to see her.
“Yeah. Hurry and go. Don’t make her wait for you!” He reached out to grab Feng Wu’s hand to take her out, but before he even touched her, his hand was slapped hard.
Ink had done the slapping.
“What do you want?! Dare grab other people?” Ink glared at the other boy, as if daring him to try again. He wouldn’t be so polite to the boy next time.
The boy reddened, suddenly realizing he’d behaved inappropriately.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to do that. I was just anxious. It’s not good to keep Yanran waiting too long.”
“You’re really interested in her huh? It’s a pity your family is too far below hers.” A girl had noticed the interaction and was impressed by the boy’s desire to please Yanran.
“I know. Rushing out to suck up to her. The boys are a bunch of idiots who only know to judge someone by their looks.”
“Hey! Stop slandering! The rest of us haven’t done anything!” proclaimed a boy loudly. He felt unjustly misaligned!
“Yeah, what does this have to do with us?”
A heated debate between the genders ensued, but neither Feng Wu nor Ink joined in.
“Xiao Wu, are you going to see Yanran?”
Feng Wu nodded. She disliked Yanran a little because she constantly made Little Bun cry, but other than that, Feng Wu didn’t feel any kind of way about her cousin.
“Well then go on! And remember to fill me in on the details later.” Ink whispered his encouragement to Feng Wu. He was also curious what Yanran was up to.
Feng Wu glanced at him then walked out of the classroom to see Yanran. This was the first time they were meeting outside of home.
“Xiao Wu? Oh it’s so good to see you,” breathed out Yanran. “Why didn’t you come to see me and Mother? Mother waited for two days, but you still hadn’t shown up, so I had to come and find you myself.”
Both Yanran and Xing thought Feng Wu would seek them out after finding out they were both at the academy.
Unexpectedly it didn’t happen, so at wit's end, Yanran had to find Feng Wu in person.
“Why would I go?” She didn’t need to ask them for help. Didn’t Brother only say to go to Aunt Xing if she was in trouble? Feng Wu blinked, her eyes clearly puzzled.
Yanran didn’t expect Feng Wu to say that. Embarrassment fleetingly crossed her face. “We’re relatives. Now that we’re not at home, we should watch out for each other and help one another.”
Luckily it wasn’t the first time Yanran met with the transmigrated Feng Wu, so she somewhat understood her cousin’s temperament.
Yanran’s opinion of Feng Wu had grown worse with the personality change. She saw Feng Wu as a bad tempered, impulsive person. She remembered how jealous Feng Wu got that year she visited. Just because people were paying her attention, Feng Wu got mad and shoved her into the pond. Yanran never got over it, and the grudge was still in her heart.
She had expected Feng Wu’s reaction to be just as big and atrocious this time around as well. She never expected her cousin to become an entirely different person. It was like nothing had ever happened between them. Feng Wu didn’t lose her temper or even have any snide comments. Was this the same Feng Wu? The change was too abrupt. Yanran didn't believe it.
She had so many doubts, but no one else in the house seemed to care. No one in Feng house thought it was strange. They believed Feng Wu's sudden change was because of her recent traumatic events. It never occurred to any of them that their Feng Wu was a different girl altogether.
Yanran didn't believe her cousin's change of heart was sincere.
“Big Brother said to go to Aunt Xing for help if there was a problem.” The implication was: I’ll go to her for help, but I’m fine right now, so there’s no reason to go visit.
Yanran’s mouth twitched. She understood the meaning, but she didn’t know how to respond. Feng Wu only needed to see her and her mother if there was a problem.
Yanran decided to switch topics. “Xiao Wu, how is Xiao Ye?[notes]I haven’t seen him in a while. I miss him. Can I visit after school today?”
Feng Wu pursed her lips as she looked at Yanran. “Xiao Ye doesn’t like you. He cries every time he sees you. You shouldn’t visit him.” This way Xiao Ye would be saved from over crying.
Yanran: Do you not know how to make conversation?!
Yanran didn’t talk long before leaving, because no matter how hard she tried to find a topic of conversation, Feng Wu would cut it short. It was like they weren’t even speaking the same language.
Yanran’s visit raised all kinds of speculations, after all both were surnamed Feng. Maybe they were related? But if Feng Wu was a member of Feng house, how come none of them had heard about it?
There was so much speculation. Some thought Feng Wu was a distant branch relation, others thought the two weren’t related at all. Maybe they just shared the same name.
Basically, Yanran’s visit reignited the gossip around Feng Wu.
Feng Wu was greeted warmly by her classmates when she returned from chatting with Yanran. Ink acted as Feng Wu’s guard while a the other students asked a bunch of questions. It took them awhile, but they finally pieced everything together. Turned out the girls were cousins.
This new revelation really frightened her fellow classmates. No one would have ever suspected Feng Wu was a direct descendent of Feng house. Not only that. She was the daughter of the patriarch! And Yanran was the cousin! Feng Wu was too low-key. If Yanran hadn’t sought her out, no one would have ever associated Feng Wu with the incredibly famous Feng house.
The boys were stunned. She had such a powerful background. Why did she never talk about it earlier? Even if you wanted to keep a low profile, you didn’t have to pretend to be a commoner.
The academy emphasized talent, but that didn’t mean family prestige was unimportant. Outstanding talent from noble houses wouldn’t normally associate with commoners, unless of course that commoner was truly talented and had limitless potential. In which case the aristocratic young men and ladies may just deign to converse with them.
If the events hadn’t happened they way they did, no one would have known their class had such a powerhouse in their midst.
Had she not confessed, no one would have thought of it in a million years. There were reasons no one suspected Feng Wu was nobility. First her attitude wasn’t as proud as the other aristocrats. She greeted everyone the same way – with her paralyzed face. Second, she never showed contempt or treated commoners[notes] differently. It wasn’t because there weren’t any commoners in class; a third of the class were commoners.
The majority of students who enrolled every year were from the aristocracy. It wasn’t because the academy gave preference to them, it was because the odds were higher a child with talent would be born from a noble house. Nobility had more resources and could consume things like magical meat and energy rich fruits during pregnancy. This was very good for the growing fetus, so naturally any baby born would have better odds of being talented.
Commoners had no such resource and could only fight with their abilities and luck.
Nobles had a natural superiority over commoners. Yet here was this girl from an incredible house hiding amongst a group of commoners.
This was too incredible for the other nobles. It was already a stretch for one noble to pretend to b another noble. What noble would sink down to pretend to be a commoner?
No one in the aristocracy had over done this before, so no one suspected her origins.
That’s why everyone’s chin nearly dropped in shock when they found out. Feng Wu’s identity and her relationship to Yanran spread like wildfire through the school. Many students, Jasmine for example, were skeptical when they heard the gossip. Jasmine doubted the story more than anyone else.
She found it hard to believe that the commoner she’d looked down on was the daughter of Feng house. Moreover, she was the legitimate daughter of the main wife. Jasmine felt like the world was an illusion.
Jasmine wasn’t the only one surprised. Annika[notes] nearly squirted out the drink she had in her mouth when she heard the news.
“What are you talking about? Feng Wu is a daughter of Feng house? Which Feng?” Annika wiped her mouth and eagerly asked Xi, who was sitting next to her.
How could Xi remain silent after hearing about Feng Wu’s identity? Before Feng Wu’s background was revealed, Jasmine would try to make trouble for Feng Wu. All those scandals? As if Xi couldn’t figure out where they came from.
The scandals spread crazily and always started in the first year Magic division. Other than Jasmine, Xi couldn’t think of anyone else with motive.
Xi wanted to avenge Feng Wu so she had purposefully camped out at the dorm after school just to see Jasmine’s face when Jasmine found out.
Jasmine did not let her down. The look on her face was hilarious.
“Which Feng house? The one from the ancient eastern countries of course. Do you know of any other Feng houses?” Xi answered in a good mood.
Jasmine, sitting across from them, kept changing expressions. She could not believe her ears.
“How is that even possible? If Feng Wu had such an identity, then she should have said so a long time ago. Why deliberately conceal it?” Jasmine judged other people based on her own actions. If she was a daughter of Feng house, she would never hide it. She would have shared it with everyone and waited for them to flatter her. She would never have hidden her identity and pretended to be a commoner.
Thinking it over relieved her mind. She hoped Feng Wu’s identity wouldn’t change. It was no secret they didn't get along because of Feng Wu's status. If Feng Wu wasn’t a commoner, then she had offended someone from a powerful family. It wasn’t a mistake she could afford to make.
Xi gave Jasmine a hard stare. “You think everyone is like you. Putting on airs everyday because of status. Xiao Wu is a genuinely powerful young lady; she wouldn’t be like you!”
“What do you mean by that?!” Jasmine slapped the table; her face filled with anger. Her and Xi’s family backgrounds had been the best of the four roommates. Annika was a little below theirs. Feng Wu, as a commoner, was beneath her notice. Considering what happened last time,[notes] if it weren’t for Feng Wu’s relationship with Jier, she wouldn’t have even talked to Feng Wu.
But now Xi was telling her the person she looked down on was actually of such high noble birth that her own family was nothing in comparison. She couldn’t accept such a tremendous gap between them so fast. Even if she knew Xi had no reason to joke about something like this, she still tried to find reasons to discredit the story. She refused to believe. She had always looked down on Feng Wu’s behavior as that of an uncouth clown. She couldn't have been blind.
Jasmine was angry at Xi because she knew her roommate was speaking the truth.
“Didn’t you always look down on Xiao Wu because she was a commoner? Now all of a sudden she’s got higher status than you. Can you even stand in her presence?” Xi watched Jasmine. It wasn’t a big deal for a minor aristocratic like Jasmine to put on airs and act the way she did, but the issue was, she did it all the time. She constantly crowed about her status in front ofthe common people.
Xi hated people like Jasmine.
“Enough! You two, stop arguing.” Annika spoke out loudly. It wasn’t a yell, but coming from her, it may as well be. She was normally soft-spoken. Both Xi and Jasmine were surprised into submission.
By the time Feng Wu came back, the quarrel was over. Xi stopped sneering at Jasmine and Jasmine didn’t try to suck up to Feng Wu because of her revealed status. Instead Jasmine subconsciously avoided Feng Wu.
Feng Wu didn’t pay any attention. She had never considered Jasmine a friend, so she didn’t care about the new attitude.
Through the upheavals caused by Yanran’s appearance, another semester passed.
The freshman class were finally able to qualify for seats. It wasn’t ranked through competition but through a comprehensive analysis of their written test and combat results.
Feng Wu was placed in freshman year - 10th seat, not because her strength was lower than anyone else’s, but because her written was so bad.
She was first in Sword division for combat experience, but her results in noncombat areas were atrocious. Math, geography, and history were great, but her language tests were full of x’s. Some were even zeros. The gap was blindingly crazy.
“Student Feng Wu, please explain what is going on. Why are your ancient, dwarven, and dragon languages so bad? All zeros, even though 80% of these tests are multiple choice questions. Why did you leave them empty? Even if you randomly guess and fill in something, you wouldn’t get zero points!”
Take a four question multiple choice question. Just filling in any random choice would have meant a 25% chance of being correct.
Feng Wu didn’t even get the multiple-choice questions right.
The teacher was so angry she almost slapped the table. What was this? It was obvious this child was doing well in all her other subjects. Why did she become like this when it came to languages? Outstanding Feng Wu did well in all her other classes except for language. The teacher got a toothache just thinking about it. The other teachers looked at her like she didn’t care about her students.
Feng Wu kept her head down as she was dragged into the office for some education. She only raised her head at the question. She blinked, her pair of big black eyes puzzled. “Teacher said, ‘If you don’t understand, leave it empty. Do not guess. Guessing isn’t good for study.’ ”
The teacher didn’t know how to reply. It was a severe blow. She had said that to the class, but this was the first time a student actually followed her instructions. She felt like Feng Wu was using what she said in class to gag her. She was stuck, not sure what to say, so she dismissed Feng Wu after a few more customary words.
Feng Wu walked out and politely turned around to close the door. She was unhappy. It wasn't like she wanted to do poorly in languages, but her problem was, no matter how she tried, she just couldn’t understand them.
Jier and Ink tried to comfort her, telling her not to worry. Chances of her encountering a dragon clan of the ancient ruins were slim. Chances of her encountering a dwarf clan was even smaller. So what did it matter if she couldn’t master the languages?
Students had to chose three languages to study. There were more than a dozen languages and scripts to chose from, it was just that Feng Wu, even after a year of study, failed to understand the most basic aspects.
Even if she didn’t get first place, she placed high enough to earn a spot in the third-floor cafeteria. She could eat as much as she wanted for free. The thought of all that delicious food made her completely forget about the scolding from her language teacher.
Feng Wu went to pick up Little Bun, who had grown quite big, and together the two went to the cafeteria for dinner. Little Bun’s appearance in the cafeteria didn’t shock anyone. Feng Wu had taken to carrying him cradled against her body at the three and five o’clock position ever since he began eating more solid foods.
Little Bun was adorable and easily attracted girls. They just loved him to bits. Even the cafeteria auntie gave Feng Wu bigger portions when she saw Little Bun. She knew Little Bun loved custard so she always saved some for him.
“Xiao Ye, I gained weight again.” A girl, upon seeing Little Bun, immediately walked over and touched his adorable cheeks.
“Ah! So cute! Why is Xiao Ye so cute?!”
“If only my future child would be so cute.”
“Xiao Wu, are you going to the third floor?”
“Yes, the top ten list came out today and my name was on it, so I’m eligible to go. I’m going for dinner.”
“Congratulations Xiao Wu! Now you can eat delicious food!”
“Remember to tell us what the third floor looks like. We enrolled together, but I don’t know what the third floor looks like yet.”
More people crowded around Feng Wu. Some wanted to fuss over Little Bun, others wanted to congratulate Feng Wu. Feng Wu nodded to their comments.
Everyone had gotten used to Feng Wu’s mannerism so no one was offended at her unenthusiastic response.
Feng Wu was going to the third floor, so naturally Little Bun would follow, however the girls were reluctant to let him go. Xiao Ye was just an adorable baby. Something cute was always coming out of his mouth.
They were all disappointed about not seeing the little guy for dinner in the future. But even if they couldn’t eat together, they would still run into each other at school.
The cafeteria auntie reminded Feng Wu to pick up a custard for Xiao Ye before leaving later. Feng Wu nodded with bright eyes. The auntie was a good person.
The most elite students at Xingguang had always used the third floor as a gathering place, after all only the top ten of each grade were allowed entrance.[notes]
Suddenly today there was a strange combination of a dark haired lolli and a blond haired chubby little bun. The pair made an eye-catching combination. The uniform showed she was a first year. Being able to enter the third floor also meant she was one of the newly minted top ten in the freshman class.
Little Bun stared curiously at everyone around him. Though it was a big room, because of the entry requirement, there were few people about. Little Bun struggled in his mother’s arms. “Mom, down.”
Little Bun was only one but he had already learned how to walk and speak coherently. Where did he trot over as soon as Feng Wu put him down? The serving station of course.
The auntie there was someone Feng Wu knew; Little Bun recognized her too.
“Auntie Tian Yue!”[notes]
Little Bun ran towards her.
Tian Yue hadn’t realized anyone was coming her way. Upon hearing the familiar voice, she looked up to find a familiar little dumpling running towards her.
“Xiao Ye!” Tian Yue hurriedly rushed out from behind the serving station and engulfed the little guy in a hug.
She looked up to find another familiar figure. Tian Yue greeted Feng Wu with a smile crinkling around her eyes. She was happy to see the two.
“Come come. It’s self-serve. Just buy whatever you like. The food here is tastier and cheaper than the lower floors. Perks for those in the top ten.”
Tian Yue knew Feng Wu had made it into the top ten some time ago. She had rubbed her eyes several times when she saw the list. Had she read wrong? She hadn't thought Feng Wu, who looked soft and weak, had the strength to break into the top ten. Even if she only placed tenth, it was still noteworthy for a freshman.
There were so many in the freshman class, so making it into the top ten was a remarkable feat.
Feng Wu walked to the serving area and grabbed a plate, then proceeded to pile it high with foods she liked, only stopping when she ran out of room on the plate.
Grace and her younger sister, Ann, were sitting together as they coolly watched the interaction between Tian Yue and Feng Wu. Ann was especially interested in Feng Ye. She couldn’t keep her beautiful and innocent eyes off of him. She really wanted to hug the cute little thing.
Grace’s attention was solely focused on Feng Wu. She was on guard against Feng Wu because it was obvious Ming Xi treated her differently. She turned her gaze to look affectionately at her little sister. No one was going to steal anyone Ann liked though.
Feng Wu got everything she wanted to eat. She found a table close to the serving area and sat down on a stool while Xiao Ye played with Tian Yue.
Tian Yue loved to feed Little Bun egg custard with minced meat.[notes] It was silky smooth and luscious. Little Bun slurped up an entire bowl.
“Darling, look at that. The girl actually brought her kid to the third floor. Just outrageous.” A delicate girl said as she leaned into the arms of the tall boy next to her. She fed him grapes with one hand while drawing circles on his chest with the other.
“Who cares. She’s probably just a relative of the auntie. Méi Luó, you spend all day staring at inferior people. No wonder you’re only a second year even after three years at school,” said Cecilia, another equally beautiful girl. She glanced coquettishly at Méi Luó as she moved forward pressing the tall boy’s arm firmly against her bosom.
Méi Luó smiled coldly. “Cecilia’s eyes seem to be bad. To say the illustrious Feng house’s main daughter is inferior. I wonder what kind of common woman you are.”
The boy raised a brow upon hearing the identity of the new girl with the baby.
“Baby Méi Luó, did you say she’s the daughter of Feng house?” The guy nestled between them was interested.
Méi Luó was secretly pleased. She knew he’d be interested. “Isn’t she? She’s Feng Yanran’s cousin. Aren’t the Feng ladies beautiful? Though this one isn’t as beauty as Yanran, she is a rare beauty nonetheless.”
“Feng Yanran’s cousin . . .” His eyes darkened as he thought.
Cecilia couldn’t help but comment. “Turns out she’s Yanran’s cousin. No wonder. I heard she had a baby at a young age. I never expected it to be true. I thought it was just slander when I first heard about it, apparently she doesn't seem to value herself much. Turns out she’s just like her cousin.”
-Smack!- Cecilia covered her cheek with one hand. He hit her! She couldn’t believe it.
“Bitch. You dare bad-mouth sweet Yanran?” He shook out his palm. Still unsatisfied, he further kicked her, knocking her to the ground.
Cecilia's eyes were scared as she bled from the mouth.
The guy was third seat, third year Mido. He came from an outstanding and powerful house. Because of this, he never lacked female companionship. It was a common sight to see him bringing women to the third floor for dinner. It was his way of showing off who he was and how powerful he was.[notes]
Mido wasn’t the only one who brought companions for dinner. Many others also habitually brought guests with them to the third floor. Two things men loved to show off were power and women. Being able to eat on the third floor showed their power and status. Having both, how could they lack for female companions?
Mido had lots of girls but he didn’t cherish any of them. To him, they were more like cats and dogs – pets. He teased them when he was happy, but he didn’t give them any consideration otherwise.
Méi Luó looked coldly at the scene. Cecilia was stupid if she thought she could open her mouth and say whatever she wanted just because she got a bit of Mido’s affection. Clearly, this girl didn’t understand the man at all.
No one cared about the fate of some random female companion, so the scene didn’t attract any attention. The girl should have known something like this would happen sooner or later. Mido wasn’t the kind and considerate type.
“Darling, I was wrong! I won’t dare say such things anymore.” Cecilia wasn’t stupid. She quickly figured out her mistake. She’d been unable to control herself and said those things earlier because she’d been jealous at how Mido looked at Yanran.
She never expected there would ever be a day Mido would like another girl so much. Though the discovery made her angry, there was nothing she could do.
“Dear, Cecilia knows she’s wrong. Do spare her this time,” said Méi Luó in a tender voice.
“Ha. Don’t dare spout nonsense again!” Mido gave Cecilia a cold glare before turning to Méi Luó. “Go and invite Miss Feng Wu for dinner.”
“Of course, I’ll leave now.” Méi Luó happily responded without expressing any kind of dissatisfaction.
Mido nodded. He liked obedient women. Méi Luó was much better than Cecilia in that regard.
Cecilia cursed in her heart, but outwardly presented an obedient image. She stood up and carefully sat back down at the table, not daring to say a word.
Mido was confident Feng Wu would come over immediately after hearing his name. Anyone with any sense would. Even if she was a top ten in her freshman class, it was impossible for her to challenge a third-year top ten.
The result was unexpected though.
“What do you mean she won’t come?!” It was the first time anyone had refused to give him face since he’d entered the academy. He was furious.
Méi Luó had a complicated expression. She didn’t believe anyone would dare refuse Mido either. “Yes, she was very firm. I tried to convince her, but she wouldn’t listen,” complained Méi Luó.
“Damn it!” Mido slammed the table angrily. “She thinks she's hot stuff just because she’s from Feng house? I wouldn’t care who she is if it weren’t for Yanran!” He’d wanted to use her to get close to Yanran, but he never expected Feng Wu to be such a bitch - so ignorant and full of herself.
Mido wanted to teach her a lesson, but considering their location, he decided against it. He glanced at her sinisterly before snorting and leaving with his two girls.
Feng Wu had no idea she had just offended a big shot; she was too busy eating the food on her plate. The food here was definitely better than what was served on the first floor. It was a bit more expensive, but the deliciousness was worth it.[notes]
After Feng Wu finished her dinner, she said farewell to Tian Yue and took Little Bun back to the dorm. She completely ignored Grace’s malicious glare.
A mission that involved excursions outside the school was offered at the end of each semester. The missions were drawn by team captains and whatever was drawn had to be completed.
Feng Wu and the others in her class were freshmen, so they weren’t qualified to participate last semester, but now they were required to participate, and would have to do so every semester going forward. They had to find a senior to lead their group. It would be a test of their social skills and popularity.
Not everyone in the senior class was rich, so there were those willing to do the job in exchange for a negotiated fee.
Any student who didn’t have enough money or popularity to snag a leader on their own would have to wait for the teacher to assign one to them.
Any senior arranged by the teacher would be of average strength, so the choice wouldn’t be as good or reassuring as if they picked one themselves.
Jier asked Ming Xi to be his team captain after he formed a team with Feng Wu and Ink. Ming Xi agreed, but they had a problem. Excluding the team captain, each team needed at least six members.
The school randomly added additional members to any team with less than six members. Jier’s team only had three, so they needed three more.
Feng Wu stood by the school gate with Little White,[notes] with Jier and Ink flanking her on either side. They were waiting for the rest of their team to show up.
Ming Xi was greeted by the sight of them waiting when he arrived. Feng Wu was rubbing her eyes like she was still sleep. Little Bun ws drinking from a bottle while Little White carried him in its pouch. Jier and Ink were stretching as they looked around.
Seeing all of them reminded Ming Xi what happened a few days ago.
“Ming Xi, are you sure you want to take these guys out?” Luis asked.
Ming Xi nodded with a small smile. “Yes.”
“Ming Xi, tell the truth. Have you finally been tempted by Little Sister Feng Wu? Otherwise why would you agree to by their team captain for the excursion?” This came from Elena.
“Yeah. It’s not easy you know, taking out the lower grades on an excursion. You’re responsible for ensuring their safety.” Gerasi added.
Ming Xi couldn’t help but laugh. “What are you guys talking about?!” His friends were too interested in gossiping!
“Ming Xi, you left us hanging so you could go out on a date with Little Sister Feng Wu. You’re not concerned about us at all. Girls before friends . . .” Luis sighed as he gave Ming Xi an ambiguous look.
Ming Xi helplessly rubbed his forehead. Honestly, these guys . . .
“Be careful. The place you’re going to is unusual.” Tian Ya interrupted.
“What’s wrong? Aren’t they going to Sanye island? The island is surrounded by strong undercurrents and some water monsters, but it isn’t dangerous otherwise.”
The school always kept the strength of the students in mind. New students wouldn’t be sent anywhere too dangerous or too far beyond their abilities, as it would put everyone at risk, even if they were accompanied by a senior student.
So then what was so dangerous about Sanye island?
“I heard the seas haven’t been peaceful lately. Many who have gone out failed to return. The temple even sent several people to investigate, but thus far they haven’t discovered any clues. Tian Ya, are you worried about them having bad luck and encountering some kind of danger?” After some consideration, Elena understood Tian Ya’s worry.
“It’s not just that. Something about Sanye island feels ominous,” replied Tian Ya. “Ming Xi, you have to be careful.” He frowned. He had a feeling Ming Xi’s trip wouldn’t be peaceful, but would instead be full of danger. His instincts were normally right.
Ming Xi’s eyes looked thoughtful. Then with a faint smile he said, “Don’t worry. I will be careful.” He had a foreboding feeling as well. The feeling had grown as the day for the excursion got closer. It seemed that something big would happen on this mission.
Two boys and two girls arrived soon after Ming Xi. Both boys were second-year students; one was in the Magic division while the other was in the Sword division. Of the two girls, one was a second-year[notes] while the other was a first-year Pharmacy. The Pharmacy student was none other than recently enrolled Yanran. All four students failed to join a team on their own.
The boys were named Oleen and Leo; one was grave and stern while the other was calm and proper. Milty,[notes] was in a romantic relationship with Oleen, but it was obvious from his eyes that he wasn’t committed to her.
After introductions, everyone rushed to the dock to rent a boat. Their destination was on a small island in the sea, which could only be reached by boat. Travel between Zhongyang to Sanye island would take one full month. The group stayed on the beach overnight in order to prepare enough fresh water and food for the month-long journey.
Everything was prepared by next morning. The group boarded a boat and set out on their trip.
It was a small ship with a crew of four ordinary skilled swordsmen. Though they were only ordinary folk, they were quite competent with the sword. Yearlong exposure to the sea had made their bodies tan and strong.
Everyone went to rest after dividing the rooms up.
Life at sea was boring, but fortunately Jier and Ink came prepared, having brought games and cards.
Speaking of cards, the game they brought was a popular card game created by Zi Cheng. Another good game she created was called Mahjong. The game was so popular it even had clubs dedicated to it. Everyone from nobles to commoners enjoyed the game in Zhongyang.
This put Zi Cheng in the limelight and the number of suitors pursuing her increased dramatically.
“Ha! Matched sets!” Ink said excitedly as he pushed his tiles forward.
“Again?! Are you cheating?” Jier bitterly took out his coins and handed them to Ink.
Ming Xi didn’t say anything, just handed the money over.
“Ink is really lucky!” Leo was jealous. He’d played eight games but hadn’t won a single one. He wanted to try winning one!
“Good game, good game.” Ink smiled arrogantly. He was surprised he had been so lucky.
It was much quieter at the table nearby so the sounds of shuffling cards could be heard loudly.
“Four types! I win!” Milty declared proudly as she raised her eyebrows at her fiancé, Oleen.
Oleen and Yanran paid up good-naturedly without saying anything. The admiration in Oleen’s eyes became more apparently as he secretly watched Yanran.
What Feng Wu saw after coming out of her room from her nap was a friendly scene of two tables, one playing Mahjong and the other cards.
Jier stopped shuffling the tiles for a moment to wave at Feng Wu. “Xiao Wu, you’re awake. Do you want to play Mahjong? It’s pretty fun.”
Feng Wu blinked as she looked at the table of tiles. “Can’t play.”
“It’s OK. Sit down and I’ll teach you. It’s easy to pick up.” Jier was hoping his luck with turn around with Feng Wu in the game, so he immediately went and brought her over.
He sat her next to him so she could watch how the game was played.
“Xiao Wu, where’s Xiao Ye? Still sleeping?” Ming Xi was concerned when he didn’t see Little Bun with Feng Wu.
Ming Xi thought Little Bun was really cute. Not everyone at school believed the story about Little Bun coming from a fruit, so there were a lot of speculation about who his father was.
Sucessful pregnancy from the Motherhood fruit was exceptionally rare.[notes] How many people would mistake the Motherhood fruit for an ordinary fruit and eat it? Who would have that kind of luck?
Where could Feng Wu have come across the Motherhood fruit, never mind accidentally eat it? Some believed she had no luck because she got pregnant so young, some believed she had incredible luck because she encountered the fruit. It was a rare occurrence that happened once a century.
Those who didn’t believe the fruit story made up their own. The stories about Little Bun could have filled an entire book.
Feng Wu didn’t have a man’s scent on her so Ming Xi knew Little Bun wasn’t born from a physical male and female relationship. As a descendent of the gods, Ming Xi had the ability to detect virginity in that he could detect the breath of man in another person.
Feng Wu’s breath was very clean, without a trace of male breath in her. So her pregnancy had to be caused by something spiritual.
Ming Xi had liked Little Bun from the first moment they met. The feeling was mutual; Little Bun also liked him. In fact, it was a little embarassing because Little Bun would call him father.
“Sleeping still.” Feng Wu replied.
“It is OK to leave Xiao Ye alone in the room? He won’t be afraid when he wakes up?” Ming Xi was worried.
“Senior Ming Xi, Xiao Wu likes you so much. She’s asked you to marry so many times already. If you’re so worried about Xiao Ye, you can just be his daddy. Why not just marry Xiao Wu? You’ll have a cute, adorable son if you do!” Ink tried to help Feng Wu chase after Ming Xi whenever he could. They were good friends after all.
Ming Xi wasn’t going to answer the question. He’d gotten used to the teasing so the smile on his face didn’t budge.
But Feng Wu stared at him with her big eyes, as if really expecting him to answer the question. He couldn’t pretend that he didn’t see. She wouldn’t stop staring!
“Marriage isn’t about only about wanting to marry, it’s also about loving each other.” Ming Xi didn’t sense any feelings of love radiating from Feng Wu, so he knew she didn’t love him, either that or she didn’t understand what love was yet. He hoped that one day, she would understand what it was and realize a marriage without love was doomed to be an unhappy one.
“Love?” Feng Wu tilted her head in confusion. Why did you need love to get married? Master never said anything about love.
“Love is similar to liking someone a lot. So once you know you really like someone a lot, you can talk about marriage.”
“I like Ming Xi a lot.” Feng Wu had always liked him. Although she didn’t understand why he said what he said, she spoke with certainty.
Ming Xi sighed. “Is there a difference between how you like me and how you like Jier or Ink?” Using the opportunity to teach her the difference between friendship and love would be good too.
Those playing cards stopped what they were doing and curiously looked at Feng Wu, waiting for her reply.
Ming Xi wasn’t the only one who noticed Feng Wu had this problem. Jier noticed it too. Feng Wu didn’t know what love was. The only reason she proposed to Ming Xi was because he was a good man, like her master. She hoped this good man would be her baby’s father.
Ming Xi was a good man, but he hoped Feng Wu would find someone she loved. He hoped she wouldn’t remain so ignorant.
If Ink didn’t understand Feng Wu’s feelings for Ming Xi before, he did now. There were so many incidents with this girl: the confession, the love letter, marriage proposal . . . And that was just the beginning.
Leo was interested in the drama; it seemed like something fun.
Ming Xi’s question made Feng Wu think deeply. After a while she said, “They’re the same.”
Jier and Ink nearly choked. Don’t be so honest girl. It would be weird for anyone to agree to marriage proposal after hearing something like that.
Ming Xi sighed. He thought as much, but hearing it was still disappointing.
“When your feelings of like are different, then let’s talk about it then. OK?”
Feng Wu nodded as if she actually understood.
Jier and Ink exchanged glances. Turns out something was in the air. It wasn’t like Ming Xi had no feelings for her.
The topic was tacitly dropped by everyone and the games resumed.
After two rounds of Mahjong, Jier gave way to Feng Wu.
“Xiao Wu, don’t be afraid. I’ll be merciful.” Ink was full of cheer.
“I’m not afraid.” She wasn’t afraid. The game wasn’t that scary.
After shuffling the tiles and throwing the dice, Ink drew is first sets of tiles. Except for a few minor mistakes in the beginning, Feng Wu didn’t miss any tiles. She had Jier to guide her. The more she played, the better she became. It only took three rounds before she started winning.
“Huh . . . all matches.”
“Huh . . . yeah.”
“Huh . . .”
“Huh . . .”
No one could stand it after she won seven games in a row. It was fun to play when there was a chance of winning and losing, but was she really a beginner? Was she just playing dumb?
“Stop, Xiao Wu, are you sure you’re a beginner? You really haven’t played this before?” Ink said weakly, his body nearly prone on the table, cheeks pressed flat and arms spread out.
“Yeah, Feng Wu is too good. She’s not like a beginner at all,” said an annoyed Leo. He had only won one hand all day.
Jier was distressed over his dwindling money pouch. Children cut off from their families for disobedience couldn’t afford to be poor.
Ming Xi smiled. Rich people never worried about money.
“I can prove she’s a beginner. I’ve taught her solitaire, but I’ve never taught her Mahjong before.” Even though he didn’t want to admit it, it was a sad fact that he was beaten by a beginner.
“Xiao Wu, come on spill it. Is there some kind of trick to how you’re winning?” Ink asked. If there was a trick, he might be able to use it and win in the future. His eyes sparkled as though envisioning gold coins before him.
Upon hearing the question, the other three immediately focused their attention on Feng Wu. There were very interested.
“There’s no trick.” Feng Wu shook her head.
“No way. Then you’re saying you won through luck every time?” Ink, who thought he would hear a good trick, was disappointed.
If there was a trick, then it would be fine, but if it was luck, then there was nothing he could do.
“It wasn’t luck.” Feng Wu shook her head again. “It was easy, just know the tiles already played. Then you’ll know the ones that haven’t been played yet. You know the cards you are holding so it’s easy to win.” Did there need to be a trick for something so simple?
The group fell silent. Was that how it worked? That was so simple. To make it a fair game, none of them used any magic or other extraordinary skills to peek at an opponent’s hand. They had to rely only on memory, but it wasn’t easy with so many cards.
They would have thought Feng Wu was cheating were it not for the fact they knew she couldn’t use magic to check on their hand.
Feng Wu was so good that every one lost interest in playing. They handed her over to the card table and Oleen gave up his seat so she could play.
Fortunately for everyone else, playing cards wasn’t just about having a good memory. Luck was also important. She didn’t win every game, but she didn’t do badly at all - three out of five wins. This was still enough to make Yanran and Milty cry.
They were rescued by the crew coming in to tell them it was time to eat. Milty and Yanran couldn’t run away fast enough.
Feng Wu blinked and walked out after them after putting the cards away.
The chef had prepared fresh fish and fluffy white rice.
Most people in the western countries didn’t like rice, but Feng Wu loved it, so Ming Xi had purchased a lot for the trip. There was enough for many more meals to come.
The crew was great at grilling fish. Feng Wu ate several large bowls of grilled fish and rice. It was hard to believe she could eat so much. She was so small; where did she put it all?!
Eating grilled fish while the sea breeze blew by, sea life wasn’t bad at all.
“What’s that up ahead? It looks like someone is in the water!” cried out a crew member on the bow.
Startled, Ming Xi and the others put down their bowls and walked to the bow of the boat. Sure enough, they saw several people in the water clinging to some wooden boards.
“Senior Ming Xi, what do we do? Should we save them?” Leo asked. He didn’t think they would, after all this was the sea. It was no peaceful than land. If the people were pirate decoys, then saving them would mean leading the wolf to their doors.
“They’re too pitiful. Senior Ming Xi, we have to save them.” Yanran couldn’t stand to watch them suffer.
Yanran looked toward Ming Xi hopefully.
“You can’t just say save them and we’ll save them. What if they’re pirates?” Milty rolled her eyes. Who was this holier-than-thou missy pretending for? Milty unconsciously glanced over at her fiancé. Her face went stiff when she saw the admiration in his eyes as he looked at Yanran. But she didn’t want to quarrel with him, so she remained silent.
“I . . . but you can’t be sure they’re bad people. What if they’re just ordinary people? If we don’t save them, they’ll die!” Yanran bit her lip as she stared at the people at sea with pity in her eyes.
“Senior, we have to save them. There aren’t any other ships nearby.” Oleen spoke up for Yanran without even thinking.
Ming Xi released his divine consciousness and did a 100 metre scan of the area. Oleen was right. There were no other ships in the vicinity.
“Sail the boat over; we’ll save them.” Ming Xi ordered. The captain nodded and turned the boat toward the three people floating in the water.
Having spent so many days together already, the crew knew who was in charge. They didn’t dare disobey Ming Xi’s order.
“That’s fantastic! Thank you, Senior Ming Xi!” Yanran was so happy she nearly cried with joy.
Ming Xi’s eyes didn’t reveal anything as he made a noncommittal sound in reply.
Oleen, on the other hand, seemed to really appreciate Yanran’s kindness. He was looking at her adoringly, completely ignoring the fact that his fiancé was standing right there.
The crew quickly pulled the three strangers aboard. Two of the three were unconscious. The other was barely hanging on.
There was one woman and two men. The woman barely looked eighteen and had on a mage robe. The men didn’t look much older, maybe five years more, probably in their twenties. Judging by their uniform, they were probably swordsmen.
“Save . . . save the princess.” The semi-conscious swordsman uttered the single sentence before joining the rest of his companions in slumber.
“Hurry up and help them into the cabin.” Yanran ordered.
This incredibly beautiful girl with slightly flushed cheeks gave some orders. A few of the crew took action and carried the strangers into the cabin.
“Seniors, I leave the men to you. I will help the girl change out of her wet clothes.” Yanran turned around and walked into the cabin as soon as she finished speaking her orders.
“Huh? What was that?” Milty grumbled as she looked at Yanran’s back.
Oleen looked at Milty in disgust before turning around and walking into the cabin.
“Oleen, wait for me!” Milty didn’t care about anything other than Oleen. She ran after him.
Ink shook his head as he looked at the farce playing out. “Didn’t expect a love triangle to form after just a few days.”
Jier didn’t make a comment, but he looked displeased as he stared after them. “Yanran doesn’t understand the rules and Senior Ming Xi didn’t say anything. She’s a freshman and she dared order us around. Don’t know if the men at her other school spoiled her too much, so her courage grew big.”
Jier had always been an arrogant and obstinate guy. Don’t let his usual behavior towards Feng Wu fool you; she was his favorite and it was a given he’d spoil her. Jier was actually a really unruly guy. Don’t even think about bossing him around if you weren’t strong enough to back up your words.
He would never be obedient to someone like Yanran, a pretty face who lacked any real strength.
Leo was a more steady and calm person. If the situation wasn’t as it was, Leo wouldn’t have allowed a first year to order him around either. But it was as it was. “Younger Sister Yanran is probably just concerned about the three strangers. She didn’t mean to speak in such a way so as to suggest she was above the rest of us.”
Leo couldn’t bear to see such a kind-hearted girl be hated by Jier. It wouldn’t bode well for her if she was hated by the freshman’s first seat.
He didn’t mind helping the girl out if it was within his ability to do so.
“Stop talking and go see about those three strangers. Xiao Wu, go help Yanran.” Ming Xi didn’t have to think about it. He knew Milty wouldn’t be able to help Yanran. The only one suitable was Feng Wu.
Feng Wu nodded and headed inside to the girl’s cabin.
Two crew members were already helping the two men change out of their clothes by the time Ming Xi and the others entered. None of the girls were in sight. They were in a separate room.
“How is it going?” Ming Xi asked Oleen.
“Their injuries aren’t serious, but they’ve been drifting at sea for many days without fresh water or food. Their bodies are extremely weak. The small wounds they have, though not serious, has become infected from prolonged exposure to the water. They need to be dealt with as soon as possible."
“I see.” Ming Xi replied calmly. He let the two crew members finish and leave before doing anything else.
A faint purple light appeared in his hand after the crew left. The light leapt from his hand and onto the two men. Their wounds quickly healed, leaving only a shallow scab behind.
“They should be fine now. Just have them drink a bottle of recovery potion later. Stay with them and ask them for information as soon as they wake up.”
After giving Oleen his task, Ming Xi left to the girls’ cabin.
Yanran and Feng Wu were helping the woman dress. Feng Wu’s clothes were too small for the woman’s bigger frame, so they were using Yanran’s clothes. Yanran pulled out an outfit she didn’t often wear.
Yanran hadn't used any magic to heal the woman's injuries. As a pharmacy student, she had lots of healing medicine on her, so before even dressing the woman, she had fed her some healing potions.
The woman’s condition was good.
Ming Xi didn’t stay in the room long; he just peeked inside to get a gauge of the situation. Before he left, he told Yanran the same thing he told Oleen.
265: A Carefully Arranged Plot
The three strangers didn’t awaken until dark. Their treatment was effective and they recovered quickly, so they were able to get up and walk around shortly after waking.
Ming Xi sat on the chair tapping his hand on the table. “Have they told us what happened?”
“Senior Ming Xi, they said they’re the personal body guards for the third princess, Princess Hailin of the Bohai nation state.”
Ink thought about the book he’d recently read about maritime countries. “Bohai? I read about that country recently. They’re a small island in the northern sea, rich in mineral resources. It’s a good place. The people there are well fed.”
The continent of Tianfeng was vast and rich in resources. In addition to the four major empires, there were many minor ones as well. Of course none of the minor ones dared think about expanding and becoming a major empire by invading any of the other four major ones. It would be suicidal.
The descendants of the gods came to Tianfeng to guard it. If any of the four major empires were attacked, the other empires would target the invader. The attacking invaders would also be wanted by Star Marshall hall.
“The personal guards for the third princess. Then was the girl we rescued was Princess Hailin?” Leo wondered.
Yanran shook her head. “The woman we rescued is named Ilis. Her mother is the sister of Bohai’s queen and her father is the General Dou. She and the princess are cousins.
Princess Hailin ran away from home because she was angry at the king. Her group never expected to encounter pirates as soon as they entered international waters. Princess Hailin was taken hostage and the reguluar guards and crew didn't fare any better. Her bodyguards eventually escaped in the hopes of returning to Bohai to report the princess’s capture.”
Turned out it was the case of a wayward princess running away from home. Jier and the others quickly sorted the story out.
Just to confirm, Jier asked, “So the cousin wants us to rescue the princess?”
Yanran nodded. “Yes, that’s what Ilis said. She hopes we can rescue Princess Hailin. Once the princess is saved, she will put in a request to the royal family for a reward on our behalf.”
The reward part left Yanran feeling a little helpless. As a young lady from Feng house, she wasn’t short on money or status. The seniors and her other classmates were also aristocrats. Though she didn’t know Ming Xi’s exact background, she was certain he wasn’t an ordinary nobleman.
People like them wouldn’t care about monetary rewards, so using money to gain their cooperation was a miscalculation on the part of the Bohai people.
“Reward? I’m not interested. We already did our best to save them, now they want us to risk our lives to save their princess too? She’s really got a lot of nerve to ask,” sneered Jier. He had no interest in the princess.
“What about the other two? What did they say?” Ming Xi asked Oleen.
Oleen was frank. “They hoped we would rescue Princess Hailin. They also wish for us to contact either the Bohai royal family or General Dou for assistance.”
Ink frowned, unhappy at the request. “They had so many people but they were still defeated and their princess captured. There’s only eight of us, how can they expect us to help? I’m afraid we’ll just be bringing trouble to ourselves if we go in.”
Milty agreed with Ink. “Ink has a point. This request, we can’t accept it.”
“No, if we don’t help them, what will become of Princess Hailin? Pirates are cruel. We don’t know what they will do to her. We can’t leave her to die.” Yanran disapproved of their opinion.
Milty lost her patience. “You know there’s nothing we can do, but you still persist in pushing us to act? Be stupid by yourself and leave the rest of us out of it.”
“There is one thing I haven’t mentioned. The two guards said they were taken out so easily because their water supply was drugged by a spy on the boat. That’s why the entire crew was captured so easily.
The three of them weren’t as affected because they drank less water. They were able to escape using a teleportation scroll and drifted at sea for several days after that. If they hadn’t run into us, they would never have survived.”
Yanran breathed a sigh of relief upon hearing this. “Turns out the pirates aren’t that strong. Why would they go to the trouble of using drugs otherwise? It would have been amazing if they did have the strength to attack directly though.” There shouldn’t be any objections to saving the princess now. She smiled lightly at Oleen.
Oleen was touched and it showed in the softening of his eyes.
Milty gritted her teeth as she watched Yanran make eyes at her fiancé. That shameless hussy! Seducing her fiancé right in front of her. Remembering where she was, she tamped her anger down, not wanting to fight with Oleen in public.
“We don’t know how strong the pirates are. They captured the princess without a single casualty. It means they’ve been planning this for a while. They didn’t want to come in with a big show of force in part because they didn’t want to risk outside interference.
Thinking about it logically, why would pirates take the initiative to provoke the royal family? The fact that these pirates planted spies in Princess Hailin’s retinue so easily means they’ve been planning it for some time.
The pirates must want to use the princess to make a deal with the royal Bohai family. The princess’s life shouldn’t be in danger for the time being.”
Ink explained his thoughts on the matter clearly. The pirates’ actions were unusual in that it wasn’t just a robbery, but rather a premediated attack. No matter how you looked at it, whatever scheme they were planning, it has to be something big.
Ming Xi nodded, agreeing with Ink’s analysis. The entire thing felt like a carefully laid out plan. Allowing the bodyguards to escape so they could contact Bohai and report the princess’s capture was probably a part of it too. It would have led to Bohai sending an intermediary to negotiate the princess’s release.
Their group was composed of four freshmen and three sophomores, with Ming Xi as captain. How could they compete with unknown numbers of ferocious pirates?
As captain, Ming Xi was responsible for their safety. He wasn’t going to lead them into the tiger’s lair. “I think Ink has a point. We can give them a small boat to return to Bohai. We’re not far from there, so it won’t take them long to reach shore.”
Jier patted Ming Xi on the shoulder. He agreed with Ming Xi’s course of action.
Leo nodded in agreement. “Yeah, it’s better not to get involved.”
Seeing everyone abandoning the strangers, Yanran eagerly spoke up on their behalf. “It’s really OK for us not to care? Ilis said the pirates are very cruel. If the negotiations fail, the princess and the rest of her people will be killed.”
“Prepare a small boat for them. We will not intervene. Let Bohai settle their own affairs.” Ming Xi issued his order instead of bothering to reply to Yanran.
As the captain of the excursion, Ming Xi had the final say on all matters.
Feng Wu and the others stopped considering Bohai affairs. It was none of their business. They saved the strangers and was even giving them a boat to return home. They were already being incredibly generous.
Yanran knew Ming Xi was the captain and she wasn’t qualified to gainsay him, but she had insisted anyway.
The discussion ended and everyone returned to their respective cabins to rest. Tomorrow morning, the three strangers would be given a boat and sent on their way.
Milty rushed in with red-rimmed eyes as everyone was half way through an aromatic breakfast of grilled fish and porridge.
Little Bun had been enjoying the porridge being fed to him by Little White. Little White was a conscientious nanny and took great care of Little Bun. He might not have grown so big and healthy if Feng Wu was taking care of him by herself.
Milty looked around the cabin wildly as soon as she entered. Her face turned ugly when she didn’t find whoever she was looking for.
“What’s the matter?” Milty’s face was so ugly, it was obvious something was wrong.
She ignored Leo’s question and instead walked up to Ming Xi. “Captain, the Bohai people are gone. And so are Oleen and Yanran.”
“What?!” everyone was shocked.
“What happened?” Ming Xi asked. His smile turned cold.
Milty knew how serious it was so she shared everything she knew without hiding anything.
Milty had woken and washed up like she normally did every morning. Oddly enough, though Yanran’s bed was made, she was nowhere in sight. Milty never liked Yanran so she didn’t care where Yanran had run off to.
Unconcerned, Milty had gone down to have breakfast with her fiancé. But Oleen wasn’t in his room. He was gone. She grabbed a crew and asked where he went. That was how she found out Oleen had left with Yanran and the people from Bohai in the middle of the night yesterday.
The crew didn’t know they weren’t supposed to leave until morning, so no one asked Ming Xi about it. It was only when Milty[notes] asked about it that they realized the group had stolen the boat and left without permission in the middle of the night.
Milty couldn’t believe her fiancé would run off with another woman behind her back. She was certain the crew member was lying. Intent on proving him wrong, she went to the room the Bohai people had been staying. It was empty.
It wasn’t until she ran to the dining area and couldn’t find Oleen that she gave up. She had to face reality; her fiancé had run off with another woman.
“Damn it! Those two are nothing but trouble. They don’t understand what teamwork is at all!” Ink was furious. Did those two not have any brains? The captain already said there was nothing more they could do. Instead they ran off to play heroes.
“Call the crew. Ask them when they left.” Ming Xi’s eyes were cold.
Stubborn, pig teammates were the most annoying thing for a captain to deal with. As the one who had to clean up their mess, Ming Xi was not in a good mood.
Feng Wu could feel Ming Xi was in a bad mood. She tugged at his finger, unsure how to comfort him.
Ming Xi felt the warmth coming from her hand. He turned her hand up and told her he was fine.
The crew came up quickly. Though they were confused they weren’t anxious.
“Ā Dà, the guy and girl who came on the ship with us, did they leave the with three people we rescued?” Jier asked.
Ā Dà understood what happened when he heard the question. He spoke honestly. “Yes, in the middle of the night yesterday. Miss Feng Yanran and Master Oleen brought the three people to us asking for two boats. We only have two boats for emergency escape. How could we give them both? My father originally refused, but Master Oleen offered us one hundred gold; it was no small sum. In the end, my father agreed and gave them both of our boats.”
Six people could fit into each boat. Even including Yanran and Oleen, there was only five of them. There was no reason for them to take another boat. It looked like they wanted to split up – one group to rescue, the other to report.
“That’s all Ā Dà. You can go back.”
The atmosphere in the cabin turned more serious after Leo sent Ā Dà away.
“Damn that Yanran! If she wanted to die, why did she have to drag Oleen with her?! That woman is a walking disaster. She only knows how to seduce men!” Milty was both angry and scared.
She was afraid her Oleen would be in danger and at the same she was sad he never treated her as a fiancé. If he’d given her any thought at all, he wouldn’t have left with another woman.
What would others think if this got out? Oleen wasn’t thinking at all!
“Your anger isn’t going to help anything. We should think about what to do now.” It wasn’t that Leo wasn’t also angry, he was, but he knew anger wouldn’t get them anywhere. They had to think about what to do.
“Don’t worry about them. If they want to die, just let them. The situation was settled yesterday. If they die out there, it’s got nothing to do with us.” Jier spat his words out mercilessly, not caring one whit about the other two.
Jier’s words weren’t good, but they were fair. The school wouldn’t blame anyone for team members who died on a mission as a result of disobeying orders.
“No . . . no. Yanran, we can ignore, but Oleen is just bewitched by her. We have to save him.” Milty really loved him. Even if she was sad he left her, she still cared about him.
Jier wasn’t having any of it. “Bewitched by Yanran? Why is it all the single men here aren’t, but the one guy who’s engaged is?”
Milty’s face blanched; she couldn’t rebut his words. Even if Oleen didn’t have a place for her in his heart, she still loved him. She could only hope he’d be moved by her dedication and love her back one day. She had loved him since they were little children.
She never expected his head would be turned by a woman he knew for only a few days. She couldn’t share her pain with outsiders. Although she was distressed by her fiancé’s abandonment, she was more concerned about his safety. She couldn’t bear to stand by and not do anything.
She stood in front of Ming Xi and bowed deeply. “Captain, I beg you, please save Oleen. I don’t want anything bad to befall him.”
“What does everyone else think?” Ming Xi didn’t reply to her question, instead he asked the rest of the team for their thoughts.
“Let’s go take a look. If those two do end up in danger, we’ll end up troubled.” It didn’t sit right with Leo to let his classmates die without doing anything.
“I don’t care either way.” This came from Ink.
“You chose.” Feng Wu said.
“You make the plans Senior Ming Xi.” Jier replied.
Ten minutes later, everyone came to an agreement. They would bring Yanran and Oleen back.
Yanran and Oleen had several hours head start. It would take the team more than a few hours to catch up, but that didn’t matter because they knew the destination.
“They have to be on their way to the pirate’s hideout.”
“Yeah, but where is it?”
“I don’t know, but I overhead the Bohai people say the pirates who kidnapped the princess were from the Red Skull group.”
It would be easy to find them now that they knew the name of the pirate group. Every pirate group had their own islands where they lived when not sailing. They also stored all their stolen loot there. In short, it was their lair.
To find where the pirates stayed, they would need a guide familiar with the nearby waters. They had several candidates on board. The captain alone had over fifty years of experience sailing the waters around the area.
The captain’s first reaction to the group’s desire to travel to Red Skull’s hideout wasn’t great. He thought they would die.
Red Skull members killed without blinking. So many had died at their hands. Who would want to voluntarily go to them? Wouldn’t it be equivalent to seeking death?!
“Masters and misses, it’s better not to go. Red Skull isn’t a group you should provoke. I heard their leader is a swordsman of a powerful sect. There are more than three hundred Red Skull members in total. Every one of them is skilled with the sword. You, with so few people, wouldn’t that just be walking to your deaths?!”
The old captain was worried about them, but he was most worried about his crew. He did not want to take his men to accompany these young masters and misses to death.
“Do not worry Captain. We just want to know where the pirates keep their lair. You won’t have to lead the way.” Ming Xi never expected the captain to bring them.
The team could escape if they offended the pirates, but the captain and his family lived in the area. He and his family wouldn’t have a future if they offended the pirates.
The captain wasn’t embarrassed by Ming Xi’s read of the situation, on the contrary, he was quite relived. As long as he didn’t have to take his crew to their deaths, he didn’t care.
There was no reason to die needlessly. The captain could tell the group was adamant about finding the pirates. He wouldn’t try to dissuade them, instead he opened a map chart and pointed to the islands the Red Skulls used as a lair.
“It’s here, called Demon Wind island. It’s named after their first leader. The current leader is the fifth generation – Demon Wind’s great, great, great, great, great grandson.
“Demon Wind island . . .”
It was a hand drawn map chart made by the old captain. It was relatively accurate even when considering the possible deviation errors. The information would be useful for finding Yanran and Oleen.
They knew where the lair was, but they couldn’t all go and chase after Yanran and Oleen. They still had their mission to complete on Sanye Island after all. The team needed to figure out how to split up.
Ultimately Ming Xi decided to bring Feng Wu and Jier with him for the rescue. Feng Wu and Jier were both masters of powerful artifacts, so their combat powers were off the scale. Why would anyone with access to weapons of mass destruction not bring them with?
Milty wasn’t strong enough so Ming Xi refused her request to go with the group.
“Why can Feng Wu go? She’s a grade lower than me. Isn’t she weaker than me?” Milty pointed at Feng Wu, dissatisfied with the selection.
Feng Wu blinked without replying.
“If you can defeat Feng Wu, you can come.” Ming Xi stated simply.
Was he suggesting she couldn’t beat a freshman? Milty was angry at being looked down on upon so she called Feng Wu out.
Feng Wu readily responded. She knocked Milty out in two quick moves but it wasn’t surprising. Students in Milty’s division weren’t especially strong in physical combat.
Milty didn’t understand it but she realized how weak she was after losing to a freshman like Feng Wu. She practiced like crazy in the days afterwards. Her practice wasn’t wasted. She made it into the top ten the next year, but that’s not important right now.
She agreed to go to Sanye with Ink and Leo for the original mission.
Ming Xi tasked Leo with taking care of the group, then he got off with Feng Wu and Jier at the next trading port. He watched as the ship took the other three team members away, before turning around and leaving.
Devil Wind island was five days away from the trading post. The team rushed to the island on the boat Ming Xi bought.
In the meantime Yanran’s group had split up, with Ilis traveling back to Bohai to report. They had discussed the plan before they left the ship that night.
Yanran was sitting on the boat looking sadly around her. Oleen was distressed. “What’s wrong Yanran?”
“Nothing, I’m just worried the seniors will worry about us running off the way we did.” Yanran was feeling dispirited. She didn’t know where they were going or how strong the Red Skulls were.
The princess’s bodyguard weren’t stupid. How would anyone help them if they knew how strong the Red Skulls were? They’d purposefully left Yanran and Oleen in the dark the entire trip. The only thing they shared was that the Red Skulls were a relatively large pirate group.
A gentle smile appeared on Oleen’s stern face once he heard her reply. He confidently said, “Don’t worry, Senior Ming Xi is probably already on his way.”
“You mean Senior Ming Xi is coming?!” Previously Yanran didn’t think Ming Xi would follow them. They had purposefully disregarded his orders and acted on their own. No one would fault him if he left them behind.
“Silly girl, your mother is a teacher at Xingguang Holy Academy. Senior Ming Xi will have to come, even if it’s just to give her face. Besides . . .” He knew Milty wouldn’t leave him behind. Of course knew he couldn’t say the words out loud to the girl he liked, so he stopped talking.
Yanran was relieved after hearing his explanation and didn’t notice the strangeness in his voice.
Ming Xi wasn’t to be underestimated; he was the fifth-year class president after all. It would be easier to rescue everyone with him around.
“In that case, everything will be fine. Princess Hailin and the others who were kidnapped are just too pitiful. No matter what, I hope we can rescue them.”
“Yanran, you’re such a kind girl!” Oleen gazed at Yanran in a daze. In that brief moment, he felt like he could do anything for her.
Ming Xi didn’t know it, but Oleen had banked on Yanran from the beginning. According to his calculations, he fully expected Ming Xi to follow Yanran. He also understood his fiancé; she would never leave without him. Wonder if the others on the team would care if these two lived or die it they knew.
Oleen was clever. He had everything calculated from the start. What he didn’t consider was how strong the Red Skulls were. He wanted to make Yanran happy, so the pirates weren’t even a consideration. This would doome him to a tragic end.
Ming Xi and his team were nearing the end of their five-day journey and were closing in on Demon Wind island, but they hadn’t run into Yanran and Oleen. Out of desperation, Ming Xi had no choice to but find a way to get onto the island.
“We’ll be spotted if we sail the boat any closer.” Jier cautioned. He stopped the boat not daring to steer any closer to the island.
“That’s troublesome. Do you want to swim over?” Ming Xi asked.
Swimming from their current location to Demon Wind island wouldn’t be easy. It would take them several hours at least. Not to mention, they could be spotted the moment they got ashore. After swimming for so long, they would be exhausted and be at a disadvantage in a fight.
“If you have a teleportation spell, we could get to the island easily.” Jier said hopefully.
“No, teleportation spells are easy to use, but their destination is random. What if we land in a group of pirates?”
Ming Xi rejected the idea immediately. Before they knew it, a half hour had passed and they entered the waters surrounding Demon Wind island without a solution.
Feng Wu was sitting at the stern playing with the water while they were talking. If either Ming Xi or Jier were to walk over to her at that moment, they would see a school of fishes surrounding her feet. There were all kinds of large and small fishes.
Ming Xi and Jier failed to notice them because the fishes didn’t emanate killing intent. The two guys kept talking completely unaware of the trailing school.
Feng Wu was happy to make so many new friends in the water. After she had had enough, she walked over to the guys. She heard them talking as she approached.
“Or swim there.” Ming Xi said.
“I’m not good with water.” Jier was a fire mage, so he naturally disliked water. He did not want to spend several hours swimming.
“Can you put up with it?” Ming Xi understood Jier’s situation, but they couldn’t use a teleportation scroll unless they wanted to attract unwanted attention. They had no other recourse but to go with the most primitive solution.
The rejection came firmly, “No, I don’t want to.”
“What are you talking about?” Feng Wu asked as she walked over. She blinked her big eyes at them.
“We’re talking about how to enter Demon Wind island without attracting attention. Xiao Wu, you came at the right time. Let’s think of a way together. We can’t sail over, use magic, or any teleportation scrolls. Not to mention swimming isn’t the best idea.”
Ming Xi: Why don’t we just fly over?
“We can have my friend take us.” Feng Wu offered. Her friend was really good. Just now he had offered to take her to bottom of the sea to play. He would definitely be able to take them to the island.
“Friend?” Ming Xi and Jier didn’t understand.
“New friends. Come, I’ll show you.” She led them to the stern of the boat.
As they approached the stern, both boys realized they were surrounded by sea monsters. So many gathered around the boat but they didn't make a sound, nor did they project any hostility.
Beasts didn’t normally get along with each other, nor were they normally so docile. But here they were, beasts of all sizes and varieties, amiably floating beside the boat . . .
Never mind making noise, the water beasts hadn’t released a single strand of killing intent. They hadn’t released their minds to search the area either. No wonder so many were able to gather around the boat without the boys noticing. It was incredible.
“These are your friends?” Ming Xi knew Feng Wu had an affinity for plants, but he never expected her to have the same affinity for animals as well.
“Yes, they’re all new friends.” Feng Wu looked at her new friends happily.
“Xiao Wu, just now, what you meant by having your friend take us to the island, you meant these guys will let us ride on them?” Jier pointed at the congregation of beasts. They seemed friendly at the moment, but he’d be a fool to think he could treat them like harmless rabbits.
“No.” Feng Wu shook her head. She pointed to a huge gray water beast.
It was a very big beast . . . and looked powerful. Jier and Ming Xi recognized it instantly - it was a deep sea magic lion. It might look like an oversized regular sea lion, but it was an amazingly powerful attacker.
“This is my friend Lion Lion. He has a really big belly. If we hide in his belly, we won’t have to worry about being discovered.”
Feng Wu hooked her fingers in a come hither motion. The lion swam over and carefully rubbed its huge face against Feng Wu’s happily.
Ming Xi and Jier exchanged glances. It looked like a good idea. After agreeing, they found a spot to stop the boat. Then with the help of Feng Wu’s new friends, they entered Lion Lion and made their way to his belly.
Lion Lion happily flicked his tail before swimming toward the island.
While the three were rushing toward Demon Wind island breezily, Oleen and Yanran’s group were having a much harder time. They wanted to sneak on the island, but as soon as they docked their boat at a hidden reef, they were spotted and captured by a large gang of pirates.
In that moment, Oleen realized he’d made a mistake. These weren’t ordinary pirates, but were the infamous Red Skulls. The bodyguards had deceived them.
With a “bang!” Oleen punched one of the princess’s bodyguards hard in the face. The guard spat out a mouthful of blood after slamming into the wall.
“What the hell?! That was uncalled for! Why’d you hit Ogg?” He glared at Oleen angrily. He was itching for a fight, to get justice for Ogg, but the bodyguard named Ogg stopped him.
“Don’t Bancrofth. It won’t do us any good. We shouldn’t have hidden it was the Red Skulls.” Ogg smiled wryly. He wasn’t a fool; he understood why he got punched.
But there was nothing they could have done. They would have faced severe punishment if they returned to Bohai without the princess. On the other hand, if they rescued the princess, not only would they not be punished, they would most likely be promoted.
They had originally wanted to return to Bohai and report the kidnapping. Going to rescue the princess alone, without Bohai aid, wasn’t a possibility before, but they never expected to be rescued by such an outstanding group of youngsters. The kids were all top students from Xingguang Holy Academy. The possibility of rescuing the princess before the royal family got involved suddenly became a viable possibility. Students from Xingguang were not to be underestimated!
The idea of a rescue refused to budge once they discovered their saviors’ identities. That was why they requested the kids save their princess.
They never expected the one in charge of the group would refuse. Instead they were promised nothing more than a boat and sufficient food and water to return to Bohai.
Though their plan was ruined, all was not lost. Amongst the group was a kind girl who wanted to help them. They hadn’t wanted to drag her down with them, but they had no choice. Losing the princess . . . their punishment could be as harsh as death.
They weren’t going to refuse help, even if it was just from one person.
After the girl agreed, another boy also joined in.
It was obvious the boy only cared about the girl’s safety, otherwise there was no way he would have agreed to help them.
Regardless of the boy’s reason, he had agreed to help, and that was good enough.
They knew Oleen wasn’t like Yanran. If he knew they were facing the Red Skulls, he would have immediately taken Yanran back. So in order to save the princess and the rest of their people, they decided to conceal the identity of the pirates.
Unfortunately their rescue ended before it even started.
“Oleen, don’t fight! How can you be so impulsive!” Yanran shouted. She looked at Oleen incredulously.
270: Entering Demon Wind Island
Oleen had followed her to rescue these people so she had thought he was a kind-hearted person. She would never have been able to bear Ming Xi’s laissez-faire attitude towards the life and death of other people otherwise.
“Yanran, do you not understand what they did? They deliberately concealed the identity of the Red Skulls and deliberately brought us here with them to die!” Oleen’s originally handsome face distorted. He was uncomfortable Yanran was still protecting them despite what had happened.
The words startled Yanran. “What?! No! That’s impossible. Why would they do that?”
They had no quarrel, so in her mind there was no reason for them to do something like that. What good would it do them to harm her and Oleen?
“Yanran, you are too kind. You don’t understand how sinister a heart can be.” Oleen smiled coldly. “Isn’t it obvious? They did this because they wanted free help to rescue the princess in order to atone for their mistakes.”
Oleen grew up in a big family, so he had experience with plenty of intrigue. He hadn’t thought much about the bodyguards because he had been more worried about Yanran, but with the appearance of the Red Skulls, he had no choice but to consider it.
The two bodyguards flushed in embarrassment now that their plan was revealed.
Yanran turned around in disbelief and saw the embarrassed faces of the two men behind her. As stupid as she was, even she realized she’d been manipulated.
“You . . . you guys went too far!” Yanran yelled. She’d lived in a simple environment all her life, so she never thought there could be such bad people in the world.
Her mother, Xing, had protected from such things. Apart from teaching Yanran swords skills to improve her health, she never allowed Yanran to come into contact with anything foul. As a result, Yanran was a very simple-minded girl. It never crossed her mind that there could be people who would purposefully harm others without reason.
Yanran’s eyes turned red at being deceived for the first time.
The two bodyguards bowed their heads at Yanran’s sad face. They genuinely liked Yanran. She was as beautiful as a goddess and incredibly kind-hearted. They had never wanted to cause such a sad expression to come to her face.
“Yanran, don’t worry about them anymore. Senior Ming Xi should be coming to rescue us soon. We’ll leave with him, and these guys can solve their own problems. They can rescue the princess on their own.”
Oleen wasn’t so virtuous that he would answer a wrong with forgiveness. He was calculating. The only reason he didn’t punish the two bodyguards for what they had done was because he didn’t want to kill them in front of Yanran. If not for her presence, they would have been dead ages ago.
“But . . .but Princess Hailin is innocent. We can’t leave her to die.” Yanran shook her head. She just couldn’t convince herself to leave when she thought about the poor princess.
Oleen felt helpless. “Yanran! You’re too kind. They schemed against you like this and you still want to help them?!”
Experiencing Yanran’s kindness only reminded him of Milty. Milty was too jealous and narrowminded. She violently warned off any girl who showed the slightest sign of interest in him. Her brutality and unruliness repulsed him. He had never loved her, in fact he hated her. If she had half the gentle, kindness Yanran had, perhaps he wouldn’t have hated her so much.
“I’m sorry Miss Yanran. We should not have deceived you for our own selfish gains. We are indeed bad men. That you would still consider saving the princess despite everything, we are truly ashamed of ourselves.”
The two men looked at Yanran with shame in their eyes, but it wasn’t just shame. There was a tint of infatuation and admiration as well.
Yanran replied with a soft and gentle smile. “Don’t do this sort of thing again. No matter your reason, it’s wrong to deceive people.”
Oleen stood to the side gazing at Yanran with admiration and pride as she completely forgave the two men. This was the woman he fell in love with. She was so special, so kind, so utterly fascinating . . .
It was impossible for them to know what was going in the central prison on the island. Ming Xi, Jier and Feng Wu didn’t know that Yanran and Oleen were waiting for rescue. Had they known, they may have just turned around and left the two ridiculous people behind.
With Lion Lion's help, they were able to reach shore without disturbing anyone.
Night fell quietly on the island as three watchmen were peeing into the bushes.
“Old A, what do you think the captain wants to do? He actually kidnapped a princess of Bohai. Was the princess that good? If a master from Bohai were to come for her, we’d be cannon fodder for sure.”
“Who said that? Old B? The captain . . .we don’t know what he’s thinking. Things have gotten strange since he came back from his last trip. He was really clear about us not hitting any royal ships, so how come he personally made an exception to this one?”
“Do you think Captain encountered something outside? Otherwise how could there be such a drastic change?” Old C wondered.
“Well one thing’s for sure, if Captain did encounter something outside, he’s not going to tell us grunts.”
“I heard four more people came in today.”
“Yeah, it’s true. I was there when we captured them. There was this one incredibly beautiful girl with them, way more beautiful than the princesses of Bohai. Say, do you think the captain will let us play with her once he’s done with her?”
“Dream on. The captain’s going to keep that kind of beauty exclusively for himself. Us grunts aren’t going to get any of it.”
“Yeah, that kind of beauty isn’t for us. Now the maids around the princess . . . they aren’t sky shatteringly beautiful, but they are elegant and pretty in their own way. Why can’t Captain let us have the maids?”
“Don’t think about it too much. But listening to you talk just reminded me of something,” Old B said as he raised his pants back up.
“What is it?” Old A and C asked. They also hurriedly yanked their pants up and belted their waists properly.
“The captain didn’t have the stunning beauty brought to him. Isn’t that strange? If this was before, catching someone this excellent, the captain would have already had his way with her. But the beauty has been in custody for a while now, and he still hasn’t called for her. Don’t you think that’s weird?”
“Could it be Captain suffered some unspeakable injury the last time he went outside?”
The three exchanged meaningful glances all men understood.
“It’s possible, otherwise how could the captain turn into a monk?”
The three were chatting so animatedly that they didn’t notice danger approaching. By the time they realized something was wrong, it was too late. They saw a brief flash of light, but otherwise felt no pain, before slumping into an eternal slumber.
Ming Xi looked at the three corpses on the ground. “Put on their clothes.” He spoke as he put his sword away.
Jier and Feng Wu nodded. They pulled off the clothes from the dead men before walking behind a bush to change.
Upon coming out of the bushes, Ming Xi and Jier could pass as pirates, but Feng Wu . . . was an exceedingly amusing sight. She looked like a child who’d stolen some adult clothes.
“Xiao Wu, you can’t go like that. One look at you and they’ll know something’s wrong.” Jier snickered at her comical image.
“Ahem.” Ming Xi cleared his throat. “Jier is right. Xiao Wu, please wait here and think of another way to get inside. If you can’t find a way in, just circle back and wait for us in the cave.” He was trying very hard to not laugh at her.
Feng Wu glanced at them unhappily. These were the smallest clothes of the bunch. What was so funny? These guys were being bad.
The pirates on Demon Wind island were all tall men. Even the shortest was a full head taller than Feng Wu. It was a joke for her to disguise herself as a pirate by wearing their clothes, what with her tiny physique. It was too much of a difference, even illusion magic couldn’t fix it.
While Feng Wu was stymied by her size, Jier and Ming Xi successfully used simple illusion to alter their appearance to look exactly like the men they were impersonating.
Jier and Ming Xi walked into the luxurious castle built by the pirates.
“Old A, Old C, you guys went with Old C to pee. How come only the two of you are back?”
How unlucky, they were caught by the originals’ colleagues as soon as they entered the castle.
Jier turned to look at the guy asking them the question. He was a rough looking sort, with a scar across his face. Worse yet, he seemed to be familiar with the original pirates.
They would have to take on the persona of the people they were impersonating. If they couldn’t do it, then they would have to run like the wind.
“Old B said he had a stomach ache. He went to do some business behind a bush. We didn’t want to be smelling it so we came back first.” Jier tried his best to imitate the original’s voice, hoping the guy in front of him wasn’t too perceptive.
“Old B deserves it. Who told him to eat extra meat so late in the evening? It’d be a wonder if he didn’t have diarrhea.” The man gloated as soon as he heard the reason. “Alright, if you two got nothing to do, you can come with me. Captain needs some help. Two of you together should be enough.”
Captain? Ming Xi and Jier exchanged a helpless look. They couldn’t kill the guy and escape; there were too many people around. They had no choice but to follow and see this captain person. Hopefully their captain wasn’t some powerful big shot with the ability to see through their disguise.
They followed behind through a corridor until they reached an inconspicuous room. Once inside, the guy turned a torch. One of the large slates on the floor slowly shifted to reveal a secret staircase.
Ming Xi and Jier carefully hid their surprise. The guy went down the stairs first while Ming Xi and Jier followed behind. Neither boys ever suspected there would be a secret underground on the island. Each had their own thoughts about where it would lead.
Ming Xi and Jier: Is this the way to the dungeon? Did we luck out and find the place already?
They kept their guesses in their hearts and kept walking. The passage was wide enough to allow three people to walk abreast. They occasionally stopped to greet people they knew who were also walking through the tunnel. Fortunately, the disguise fooled them and no one suspected.
They walked for more than ten minutes, meeting many people along the way. They knew there were more people gathered in front of them because they could hear snippets of conversation and the sounds of movement.
It seemed like the island was more mysterious than expected. The public perception was that there were three hundred pirates on the island, but it seemed like those three hundred people were only there for show, as a display for the outside world.
As for how many people were actually on Demon Wind island, who actually knew?
They finally stopped at a stone room after walking around some more. The guy told Jier and Ming Xi to wait outside for a bit while he went in to brief those inside. They agreed.
Shortly afterwards, the guy returned and brought them inside with him.
“Captain, these are the two I was talking about. This is Old A and C. They came to the island ten years ago. Their strength is average but their abilities are good. It shouldn’t be a problem leaving it to them.”
The guy signaled Jier and Ming Xi with his eyes. They immediately went over and copied his attitude, nodding and bowing to the captain.
“Hello Captain, I am Old A and this is Old C. Whatever you need, we can do it for you.” Jier acted like a sycophant in front of the captain.
“Yes.” Ming Xi let Jier take the lead. He wasn’t good with these kinds of situations.
“It’ll just be the two of them then? Ibak, tell them about the situation. Remember to take good care of the captain’s affairs. You’ll be rewarded handsomely once everything is settled.”
The somewhat overweight captain waved his hand like he was shooing at some flies. They were dismissed.
Jier and Ming Xi finally learned the name of the guy they were following – Ibak.
After they left the stone room, Ibak took them aside to start getting things in order. “Alright you two. This is your chance to get in. You’ll definitely benefit if you do things well.”
The two of them acted appropriately humble and thanked Ibak for helping them. After being properly praised, Ibak finally told them what their task was.
The task itself wasn’t hard per se, nor was it easy. Turned out the captain was just a lusting slimeball who’d taken a fancy to one of the maids serving the princess.
She was a high-ranking maid who served in the palace as one of Princess Hailin’s personal attendants. Of course she was very beautiful. The captain liked her at first sight, but he couldn’t do anything because the leader gave orders not to harass any of the ladies.