Phoenix’s Requiem - Chapter 14
Chapter 14: You’Re Becoming Unbearable
Once the three matches were over, those who had passed the first trial would be eligible to enter a secret patch of imperial territory, and only those who were able to emerge unscathed after ten days would be qualified to enter Kongming Academy.
As Lin Qingchen defeated her opponent, the first trial came to an end. Yun Ruoyan, who had been waiting by the side of the stage, walked forward and followed her two cousins home.
Lin Zainan was still in his chambers, struggling to find a cure for Yun Ruoyan’s poison. Only when his two granddaughters ran in to find him did he slowly walk out from his study.
Yun Ruoyan quickly strode forth to help support him. “Grandfather, you really don’t have to work so hard on my behalf.”
“No matter what, you’re still one of my direct descendants. I’m just trying to take care of you in place of your mother.” Lin Zainan smiled.
“Then, shall I have a meal with you today, Grandfather?” Yun Ruoyan smiled back at him.
“A meal?” Lin Zainan glanced at Yun Ruoyan. “It’s not
a meal, is it?”
Yun Ruoyan stuck out her tongue. “I really can’t trip you up, Grandfather! I have something I’d like to discuss with my two cousins.”
“What’s the matter, sister? Couldn’t you have told us on the road back here?”
Yun Ruoyan touched the tip of Lin Qingxue’s nose. “It’s a secret, so of course not!”
Compared to the Yun household, the Lin manor was far more quiet: the male descendants of the family had all either left or passed away. As night rose, all Yun Ruoyan could hear was the scratching of brooms against the courtyard. Compared to the Yun manor, where she couldn’t get even an iota of rest, this place was serene and restful.
And although there were few members remaining in the Lin household, they didn’t skimp on food at all. Not long afterwards, a sumptuous dinner had been laid out in front of them.
Only after the four of them had finished their dinner did they move to a pavilion and begin discussing important matters in earnest.
“It won’t be long until we’re all summoned to the palace for the next stage of the selection process, so I have some information for my cousins.” Yun Ruoyan sipped her tea.
“Some information?” Lin Qingxue puffed out her cheeks, somewhat confused. “Sister, have you been in the imperial territory before?”
Lin Zainan and Lin Qingchen both looked towards Yun Ruoyan, clearly also curious.
The imperial territory was closely guarded, and under usual circumstances, not even the nobles and aristocrats themselves could get close to the land, let alone someone like Yun Ruoyan.
They were really curious how Yun Ruoyan came by such information.
Yun Ruoyan rubbed Lin Qingxue’s head as she explained, “A few days ago, I had a fortuitous encounter with an old matron. Her son was apparently an imperial guard responsible for the territory, and that’s how I came by this information.”
“Is this source reliable? Could it be someone else’s ploy against you?” asked Lin Zainan.
“I’ve already investigated that woman and her son, and there’s no problem. Don’t worry, Grandfather, this information is reliable.”
Lin Zainan thought for a little before nodding.
Seeing that Lin Zainan had let down his guard, Yun Ruoyan quickly sipped some tea with a guilty conscience.
In truth, there wasn’t any such woman, nor any such imperial guard. The reason she had information about the imperial territory was because she had entered it in the past.
In the past, although she had failed the initial selection for Kongming Academy, she had close ties with Pei Ziao, whose father was in charge of securing the territory. Once, Pei Ziao had brought Yun Ruoyan inside. He even explained the general layout of the area and the traps hidden within to her, as well as what sorts of things she shouldn’t touch or take.
She couldn’t guarantee that she still remembered all of what he’d said, but anything would be better than nothing in this scenario.
And she was happy to share what she knew with her two cousins, because she didn’t want them to get hurt at all.
“Within the territory are numerous traps…”
It was more than an hour later before Yun Ruoyan finally finished speaking. In addition, because Lin Qingchen and Lin Qingxue were both curious and wanted to know more, it was already the middle of the night by the time Yun Ruoyan finally dragged herself from the pavilion to leave.
Seeing how dark it was, Lin Zainan quickly rushed his granddaughters to bed before sending Yun Ruoyan out herself.
When they were finally at the door, as she was saying goodbyes to her grandfather, he frowned. “Ruoyan, tell me the truth. How did you come by this information?”
Yun Ruoyan stilled before smiling. “It seems that I can’t trick you after all, Grandfather.”
Lin Zainan looked toward her, waiting for her next words.
“Grandfather, don’t worry. What I’ve said was all entirely truthful. It’s just that I can’t tell you about my sources.”
Lin Zainan stroked his beard. “I believe you, of course, it’s just that…”
“What’s the matter?”
“Ruoyan, I feel like you’re becoming more and more unreadable to me by the day.” Lin Zainan gazed at Yun Ruoyan piercingly. “Given how detailed you were with your descriptions just then… Ruoyan, have you entered the imperial territory before?”
Yun Ruoyan hesitated once more before responding honestly, “Yes, Grandfather.”
Lin Zainan nodded without asking any further questions,and arranged for two servants to send Yun Ruoyan back home.
It was only when Lin Zainan’s silhouette had vanished entirely from her sight that Yun Ruoyan was able to let out a deep breath.
Was she becoming unreadable?
Sometimes, even she didn’t understand herself. She wasn’t particularly vicious, but neither was she a paragon of virtue. She knew how hard the road ahead was, and the easiest way to make life simple would have been to cure her poison and leave the Yun family for good. However, she had forced herself to face Pei Ziao, to face Yi Qianying, and she was determined to beat Yun Ruoyao once and for all.
“Hey, hey! Miss Yun!” A familiar voice broke Yun Ruoyan’s train of thought.
The black-clad man appeared in front of Yun Ruoyan’s eyes once more, shocking the two Lin servants. If not for Yun Ruoyan’s timely block, the two of them would likely have long since drawn their swords at the stranger.
“It seems like we started off on a bad note last time, so I’m here today to make it up to you.” The man smiled widely. “I searched all over the Yun household for you and couldn’t find a single trace, so I dropped by the Lins to have a look, and I really did find you!”
Yun Ruoyan raised an eyebrow. “No one caught you?”
“They didn’t even discover me~” The man laughed as he stuffed two bottles into Yun Ruoyan’s hands. “Here are some top-grade pills for recovering your
As soon as he finished speaking, the man vanished once more!
Yun Ruoyan frowned. She hadn’t even planned on accepting the gifts, and now…
She poured out the pills from within the bottles. Underneath the moonlight, she could clearly see five small green pills, recognizable from a single glance: pills of life quintessence!
Yun Ruoyao had gone to the palace once in her previous life. When the household found out that the empress dowager had bestowed upon her one such pill, there had been an uproar for more than two weeks.
But this man had given her five of them, just like that!
Yun Ruoyan quickly stored the pills in the bottle once more. She didn’t know that man at all, and there was no way she could accept such a precious gift from him. She’d have to return them at her first opportunity.