Phoenix’s Requiem - Chapter 164
Chapter 164: Intoxicating Fog
Wang Gang found the voice somewhat familiar, but he couldn’t quite place it. He turned toward the voice to see a crazed woman lying in bed, her face grimy and blood-spattered, her hair fanning out in clumps from her head.
Thinking that he had misheard, Wang Gang was about to turn and leave when she spoke once more. “Find Brother Wang Meng for revenge…”
This time, Wang Gang was certain that he’d heard her words accurately. Mystified, he turned back to the ghastly woman. “Who are you, and how do you know my young master’s name?”
“Brother Wang Kuang has… been killed.” As if she were using all her energy, the woman wheezed out, “I’m… the Yue kingdom’s merchant coalition’s… eldest daughter of the Jin family, Jin Fei’er!”
Wang Meng hadn’t followed Wang Gang in. Instead, he stood in the middle of the filthy yard, his silk robes in almost comedic opposition to the rank, foul air and surroundings. The inhabitants of the compound stared back at him without hiding their curiosity.
He glanced at some of the men sitting by the side of the yard, finding each dirtier and more disgusting than the last. They truly were the lowliest of the low! Wang Meng was a pillmaster, and his nose was quite sensitive as a result. The sour odor of rot and decay was very difficult for him to bear.
He pinched his nose with a hand and called out impatiently, “Wang Gang, what’re you doing?!”
“Young Master,” Wang Gang’s loud voice came from the interior of the room. “Come in, I’ve found Miss Jin!”
“What Miss Jin?” Wang Meng naturally wouldn’t associate Jin Fei’er, who was born with a golden spoon, with such a sordid, filthy place.
“The eldest daughter of the Jin family!” Wang Gang rushed out and beckoned to Wang Meng.
The eldest daughter of the Jin family, Jin Fei’er? Wang Meng frowned as he stepped inside the room.
“Young Master, she’s Miss Jin.” Wang Gang pointed at the woman on the decrepit bed.
Wang Meng walked toward Jin Fei’er, his face cold. Because of Dou Yao’s brutal beating, Jin Fei’er could only open her eyes a slit. Tears leaked down her eyes as Wang Meng stretched out a finger and moved Jin Fei’er’s hair aside to uncover her swollen face. Honestly, he couldn’t make out any similarity between the woman in front of him and Jin Fei’er.
But she opened her mouth weakly once more, and her words were proof enough. “Brother Wang Meng, Brother Wang Kuang was… killed by a group of degenerates… and I’ve also ended up like this, so… please, get us our revenge!”
“You’re really Fei’er!” Wang Meng’s lips trembled.
“I am!” Jin Fei’er forced those two words out of her lips before her breathing became ragged. Her eyes rolled up and her body spasmed, as if she were right about to die.
“Quick, help her up!” Wang Meng extended his hands but, in the end, decided not to touch Jin Fei’er body. Instead, he urgently commanded Wang Gang to do so.
Wang Gang hurriedly supported Jin Fei’er as Wang Meng retrieved a pill and passed it to Wang Gang. “Feed her this.”
After she swallowed the pill, Jin Fei’er gasped for breath, saved once again from death’s door.
“Brother Wang, please help me!”
Wang Meng had Wang Gang hold out Jin Fei’er’s hand as he extended two fingers to feel her pulse. Not before long, he turned to her with a malicious expression. “Who hurt you like this?”
Jin Fei’er’s gaze turned murderous as she looked at Dou Yao, who was squatting by the side of the bed. “It’s him! And Pei Ziao! Pei Ziao was the one who thrust a blade by my heart, and he’s the one responsible for my current condition.”
“What sort of revenge do you want?” Wang Meng asked.
“I want to skin them one inch at a time, cut off their flesh, break their bones, and leave them to marinate in salt water,” Jin Fei’er gritted out, as if she’d practiced this litany countless times.
“As you wish,” Wang Meng replied.
Dou Yao was so scared by this conversation that he fell over, paralyzed. The acrid smell of his urine spread throughout the small room.
“And who killed my brother Wang Kuang?” Wang Meng continued.
At this time, Jin Fei’er’s breathing once again turned ragged. Her eyes rolled up, and she began to spasm.
“Fei’er, quick, tell me who killed Wang Kuang!”
“I… it wa… was Yun… Yun Ruo…” In the end, Jin Fei’er died before she could finish the sentence.
“Young Master, quick, revive her once more!”
“I can’t!” Wang Meng’s hands were tightly clenched as he replied with an ashen face, “Given her condition, it’s a miracle she managed to live this long. Not even a high-grade spiritual pill will save her now.”
Pei Ziao had impaled Jin Fei’er right by the heart, but she had swallowed a high-grade spiritual pill in time to avoid death. However, she hadn’t managed to receive treatment for her slowly worsening injury, and Dou Yao’s spate of attacks on her body had only exacerbated her injuries and stopped her heart.
Wang Meng closed Jin Fei’er’s eyes as he murmured, “Yun Ruo… the Yun family!”
After Lin Qingchen finished treating Duan Tianyun’s wounds, he was assigned to live with the Zhuo siblings. Because all three of them were beastkin, they got along quite well.
As evening descended, Yun Ruoyan and Yun Moxiao headed back to the Yun manor.
On the carriage, Yun Ruoyan asked Yun Moxiao, “Brother, have you returned that sachet to Sister Li Luo?”
“No.” Yun Moxiao shook his head. “I forgot.”
Naturally, Yun Moxiao’s ‘forgetfulness’ was deliberate. After a moment’s hesitation, she informed him, “Brother, Sister Li Luo’s also a beastkin. Her eyes were hidden using a special technique.”
By this point, Yun Moxiao had already guessed of her identity as a beastkin, though he hadn’t been sure how to explain away her eyes. Hearing his sister’s explanation had resolved that last mystery.
When her brother remained silent, Yun Ruoyan nudged him and asked, “Brother, do you like Sister Li Luo?”
Even Yun Moxiao wasn’t certain. The first time he’d seen her, she had been veiled, but her slender silhouette had left him with a deep, unforgettable impression.
The second time he’d encountered her was at the Yuelu Villa. Just like last time, she was veiled. Yun Moxiao followed her into the underground duelling arena and watched as she risked her own life to save her senior brother.
Outside the Yuelu Villa, Yun Moxiao had requested to see Li Luo’s appearance. Even now, as soon as he closed his eyes, he could summon the memory of seeing her face against a starlit night. And today, Yun Moxiao had added Li Luo’s serious expression while cooking, as well as her pained but resolute countenance when Duan Tianyun had harshly rebuked her, to his collection of memories.
Yun Moxiao, who had never felt attracted to a woman so strongly, judged that this was indeed affection.
Yun Ruoyan sighed as she looked at her dazed brother, knowing how hard the route ahead of him would be.
That night, Yun Ruoyan entered the bracelet’s pocket dimension in excitement: Qiuqiu was about to teach her how to concoct a new poison.
“Qiuqiu, that soul-stealing pill was incredible!” Yun Ruoyan became excited as soon as she remembered Pei Ziao’s wooden expression upon being subject to her control. “I want to make a few more pills just in case.”
“Mistress,” Qiuqiu frowned at Yun Ruoyan’s exuberance, and couldn’t help wanting to pour cold water over her plans. “The soul-stealing pill might be powerful, but there are also severe restrictions in play.”
“Restrictions? What sort of restrictions?”
“First,” Qiuqiu explained, raising one clawed talon, “the target can’t have a higher cultivation than you. As a seventh-rank blademaster, your soul-stealing pills won’t have any effect on those who are above seventh-rank.”
Yun Ruoyan nodded. Concocting a soul-stealing pill had drained a considerable amount of her spiritual energy, and the strength of the poison was highly dependent on her cultivation.
If a soul-stealing pill could only be used on targets weaker than she was, then it would likely not be useful in situations that were dangerous to her.
“Secondly,” Qiuqiu continued, “the soul-stealing pill isn’t easy to use, because you have to add it to the target’s food and drink. Such opportunities are few and far between, so the chance of success isn’t too high.”
Indeed, if Pei Ziao hadn’t invited Yun Ruoyan for dinner, she wouldn’t have had an opportunity to poison him.
“Alright,” Yun Ruoyan acquiesced. “In that case, will you teach me how to concoct other poisons?”
Qiuqiu nodded. “Let’s begin. Mistress, the poison I’ll be teaching you about today is meant specifically for those with a higher cultivation than you. The poison is airborne, odorless, and tasteless. It’s particularly difficult to detect, and those who are poisoned will suffer from temporary illusions that prevent them from harming you.”
“What’s the poison called?”
“Intoxicating fog, Mistress.”
As Yun Ruoyan heated the potion further and further, she watched the brew go from red to green, then to yellow, then so faint that it looked like nothing more than clear water.
She turned to Qiuqiu, who motioned for her to continue heating the solution. After about another fifteen minutes, the water-like brew began to give off wisps of white fog.
Qiuqiu then instructed Yun Ruoyan to capture the fog in a clear glass bottle until the solution stopped producing any more fog. She held up the glass bottle and inspected the dense, white intoxicating fog inside.
“Mistress, if you encounter an opponent that you can’t defeat, just wake me up. I’ll release the fog within the pocket dimension, and all you need to do is pull the fog out and send it toward the target.”
Yun Ruoyan went over the motions in her head, finding the strategy to be unusually clean and effective. Her sense of safety increased by one whole step.
The rest of the month passed by in a haze. During the subsequent ten or so days, although Yun Ruoyan trained persistently, she was still unable to have a breakthrough to eighth-rank. Perhaps because she had gone from fourth- to seventh-rank so quickly, her body was still consolidating her growth. She felt as though she would break through at any moment, but it had yet to happen.
Yun Ruoyan was somewhat vexed, because she very much wanted to learn the art of swordflight, so she could travel in the air as freely as did Yun Moxiao and Li Mo.
Qiuqiu told Yun Ruoyan that what she needed was an opportunity.
“What sort of opportunity?”
“An opportunity to give your all in a fight.”