Phoenix’s Requiem - Chapter 238
Chapter 238: Mr. Dragon
Yun Ruoyan told Lin Zainan that she was helping Li Mo with a certain task in the capital, and was coincidentally free to visit him.
When Yun Ruoyan demonstrated her newly acquired fireball technique, Lin Zainan was particularly impressed. “While I was young, I focused so much on pillmaking that I delayed my studies as a blademaster. In the end, I was never truly able to fly on my blade, and I know next to nothing about external spiritual techniques. Ruoyan, you’ve had impressive successes as a pillmaster and blademaster, and I’m sure your future will be bright.”
Yun Ruoyan smiled and poured her grandfather a cup of tea.
“If your mother were still around, I’m sure she would also be very pleased with your performance.”
Lin Zainan’s words were a perfect segue into the thrust of Yun Ruoyan’s inquiry. “While my mother was pregnant with me, did she often return to the Lin manor?”
“Yes, she did. Back then, your grandmother was still alive, and I was often out wandering the continent and searching for rare herbs. Your grandmother often claimed that your mother loved sitting in the peach blossom grove, staring at the peach blossoms for hours on end.
“Grandfather, except for my father, do you know of any male friends that my mother was close with during my pregnancy?”
Lin Zainan stilled at the unusual question.
“I’m sure that a woman as beautiful as my mother would have had quite a number of suitors, especially before marrying my father,” she hastily added.
“She did!” Lin Zainan sighed. “Once your mother came of age, matchmakers filled the entrance of the manor for days! We arranged for her to meet with quite a number of scions from other noble families, but none managed to catch her eye.”
Lin Zainan placed his teacup on the table and closed his eyes, recollecting the events of yore. “What was most surprising to me was that she would actually choose your father.” Lin Zainan sighed once more, his face filled with remorse. “If I’d known, I wouldn’t have organized that peach blossom gathering!”
“Peach blossom gathering?” Yun Ruoyan’s eyes lit up: this was the first time she’d heard Lin Zainan mention something like this. Based on Lin Zainan’s tone, it seemed very likely that it was during that gathering that Lin Yuemei became besotted with Yun Lan.
“Grandfather, can you tell me more?” Yun Ruoyan pressed.
About eighteen years ago, days after Lin Yuemei had come of age, preparations for her betrothal were under way. At the time, the Lin family’s name was burgeoning, and Lin Yuemei’s beauty was famed even beyond the capital.
Lin Zainan had returned to the Lin manor in the deep of autumn, when the vibrant flowers and trees of spring and summer had all but withered away. Because the Lin family’s peach blossom grove was nourished with spiritual energy, the Lin manor still seemed to be in the height of spring.
As a result, he and his wife decided to organize a ‘peach blossom gathering’, inviting all the noble scions whom they considered suitable prospects for Lin Yuemei.
The day of the gathering, Yun Lan appeared.
“Grandfather, as far as I know, the dispute between the Lin and Yun families had existed long before the gathering. In that case, why did you still invite my father?”
As far as Yun Ruoyan knew, her parents’ relationship had once been forbidden by Lin Zainan. It was only after Lin Yuemei’s stubborn insistence that Lin Zainan had finally relented; even then, however, Lin Zainan had never been pleased with Yun Lan.
“Of course I didn’t invite him! But I couldn’t stop him from attending with another guest,” Lin Zainan grumbled. “At the beginning, your mother didn’t seem all too interested in him. Instead, she seemed more enamored with that…”
Lin Zainan furrowed his brows and thought for a moment. “…with another young master, Young Master Long.”
“Young Master Long!” Yun Ruoyan’s heart thumped. “Who is he? Is he from the capital?” As Yun Ruoyan tried to remember if there were any noble families in the capital whose surname was ‘Long’, Lin Zainan replied, “No, he came with another guest, and your father followed him here.”
Lin Zainan noticed that Young Master Long and Lin Yuemei seemed particularly compatible, so he had him secretly investigated. Allegedly, he had been staying in the Yun family, his origin and whereabouts both a mystery.
Lin Yuemei was the sole daughter of the Lin family, and Lin Zainan naturally wasn’t about to betroth her to a strange man of unknown origin. He forbade her from interacting too intimately with Young Master Long, but Lin Yuemei had claimed that they were only ever friends.
“That Young Master Long was truly of noble bearing and disposition, and even both your uncles were interested in him. They would frequently tour places together, and I couldn’t very well forbid solely your mother from going,” Lin Zainan continued. “But what I didn’t expect was that your father would go along on these excursions as well, and what I really didn’t expect was that Yuemei would end up with him!”
Based on Lin Zainan’s tone, it seemed as though this Young Master Long was incomparable to even Yun Lan—this despite the fact that Yun Lan was quite notable within the capital for his cultivation and ability!
Could this Young Master Long be her father? If the demonic dragon elder’s words had been truthful and Yun Ruoyan really was the last descendant of the demonic dragon bloodline, then she was no daughter of the Yun family, no daughter of Yun Lan himself.
Would this Young Master Long be descended from dragons? Could he have been the man that Lin Yuemei had bade her call ‘Father’?”
“Ruoyan, what’s the matter?”
Lin Zainan interrupted Yun Ruoyan’s thoughts, and she looked to him somewhat vacantly.
“Ruoyan, are you alright? Is there something that’s troubling you?”
“No, I’m alright, Grandfather.” Yun Ruoyan shook her head and smiled. “I’m just interested in this Young Master Long.”
“Frankly, this Young Master Long was quite strange.”
Yun Ruoyan craned her neck forward, not wanting to miss a single word.
“After your father and mother got married, he suddenly vanished. A man like him seemed like the type that would be known across the continent, but I had never heard of him before or since, as if he had completely vanished from the mortal world…”
Leaving her grandfather burdened with yet another bundle of mystery, Yun Ruoyan returned to the Slaughtering King’s manor. There, she coincidentally ran into her brother, Yun Moxiao, and beside him was none other than Li Luo.
“Thank you, Sister Li Luo. I was just about to ask you to inform my brother that I’m here!”
“I did so on His Highness’ command,” Li Luo replied, smiling.
On the other hand, Yun Moxiao made a mock-angry expression. “Ruoyan, isn’t it too irresponsible of you to return to the capital and not send word home? You’re not even married yet!”
“Brother, can we talk about something else?” Yun Ruoyan stuck out her tongue and coyly changed the topic, then dragged Yun Moxiao toward Li Mo’s residence.
“I’ll prepare some tea.” Li Luo smiled, then headed to the kitchen.
Yun Ruoyan saw Yun Moxiao’s gaze follow Li Luo until she was out of sight. Nudging her brother, she asked, “How’re things going with my sister-in-law?”
Yun Moxiao blushed furiously. “What sister-in-law? We haven’t done anything yet! If she hears what you’re calling her, I bet she’ll start ignoring me!”
“Oh? Why haven’t you done anything with her yet, Brother? You—”
Yun Moxiao hissed and clamped her mouth shut. Not too long later, the two siblings arrived at Li Mo’s quarters, an elegant wooden estate bordering a pond and other accoutrements of natural beauty. Most of the lotus flowers in the pond had withered, but there was a golden-backed carp swimming lazily in the crystal-clear water.
“This is the Slaughtering King’s residence, isn’t it?” Yun Moxiao glanced suspiciously at Yun Ruoyan. “You’re staying here too?”
Yun Ruoyan nodded. When she noticed her brother’s frown deepen, she hurriedly added, “What are you thinking? There are countless rooms available here! I sleep over here, and he sleeps all the way over there, in that corner.”
Yun Ruoyan gestured with her fingers. “There are four rooms behind us, so nothing’s going to happen!”
Yun Moxiao sighed. “Ruoyan, you’ll only be fourteen this year, and of age the next. Make sure you’re not being taken advantage of, alright?”
Especially to a man so powerful that even he couldn’t do anything about it.
“Yes, Brother.” Yun Ruoyan nodded. Although Yun Moxiao could be quite a nag at times, he truly cared about her. In contrast, Yun Lan couldn’t wait to cart her off to Li Mo.
As they talked, they entered one of the guest chambers, and Li Luo brought them tea.
“Sister Li Luo, my brother will be staying for lunch today, if that’s alright,” Yun Ruoyan stated.
“It’s no trouble at all.” Li Luo glanced at Yun Moxiao and smiled, then left to prepare lunch.
“See? Sister Li Luo’s being so nice to you. You have to reciprocate!”
Yun Moxiao appeared to be fully focused on his tea. “She’s more grateful than anything else, really. After all, her senior brother’s now working for my master in the army, and I was the one who recommended him for that position.”
Yun Ruoyan thought back to the beastkin man who was missing one arm.
Yun Moxiao had a sip of tea, then smiled brightly. “But I have patience in spades.”
“Brother, can you help me investigate a man?” Yun Ruoyan suddenly began.
“A man whose surname is Long. He appeared eighteen years ago in the capital, and was close to both our parents. After that, however, he seemed to vanish into thin air,” Yun Ruoyan introduced. “I need to know if he’s interacted with anyone else except our parents.”
When she saw the doubt in her brother’s eyes, she continued, “Please don’t ask me why, and please don’t reveal it to anyone else, either. When time comes, I’ll give you the details.”
Yun Moxiao nodded. That his sister had started keeping secrets of her own was a sure sign that she had grown up, but Yun Moxiao didn’t realize how many, nor how important, Yun Ruoyan’s secrets were…
1. ‘Long’ (龙) meaning ‘dragon’.