Phoenix’s Requiem - Chapter 351
Chapter 351: Li Mo’S Decision
Yun Ruoyan tossed and turned that night in an uneasy repose. She dreamt that Li Mo and the Lin sisters had been trapped in a damp, dark prison. Li Mo was gravely injured, and no matter how she called out to him, he wouldn’t wake up.
“Li Mo, Li Mo!” Yun Ruoyan murmured his name in her dreams.
“Hey, little rabbit, wake up!” Xiao Qing nudged Yun Ruoyan awake. She jolted up and glanced around warily to find the sky dimly turning bright. Women all around her were getting out of their bedrolls. “We’re about to leave. Pack up; we have a long day of travelling ahead.”
The carriage set off, and after an entire day’s worth of rushing, the twenty-women, four-carriage team finally arrived at the Pi city during the evening.
Yun Ruoyan drew the carriage’s blinds and looked outside. Not a hundred feet from them were the tall gates and castle walls of the Pi city, spanning farther into the distance than her eyes could make out. Both the gates and walls were a deep, dark red, as if the building materials had been steeped in blood. In the evening light, they shone with an imposing, eerie light.
The gates hadn’t yet closed. There were still a few carriages and people entering and leaving the city, though far more were entering than the other way around.
A Fei rode forward on a horse, had a short conversation with the guards, and hurried back. To Madam Hong, she reported, “It’ll cost a hundred spirit crystals to enter the city.”
“What? A hundred spirit crystals?! Wasn’t it only fifty last time?” Xiao Qing exclaimed. “The Pi family already monopolizes the spirit crystal veins, so why won’t they go easy on us?”
Yun Ruoyan saw a woman’s slender arm hand a dense cloth bag to A Fei, who rode back to the city gates and handed it to the guards. By the time the carriages successfully made their way through the gate, it was late at night.
Yun Ruoyan stared outside the carriage during the entire process, glancing at the architecture of the city and the travellers on the streets.
“Is this your first time in the Pi city?”
“Yes, Sister Qing,” Yun Ruoyan replied, not hiding her curiosity.
“The Pi city imposes a night curfew, so when it’s completely dark, there won’t be anyone outside,” Xiao Qing replied. “On the other hand, it’s very lively and crowded during the day. When you accompany A Fei out to shop for food and miscellaneous items, you can visit the city’s attractions as well.”
Just then, the carriages turned past a corner and headed into an inn, one filled with all sorts of carriages.
“Alright, little rabbit, get ready to depart.”
“Sister Qing, how long will we be staying here?”
“Three or four days at the least. Maybe longer, if we can find business,” Xiao Qing replied.
“Oh, is that so?” Yun Ruoyan began to think about how she would sneak into the Pi household to find Li Mo and the Lin sisters in order to save them.
Four streets away from the inn was a large, well-guarded compound—the Pi manor. Within the manor was a prison specially for keeping slaves.
“Walk forward! Don’t dawdle!” About a dozen cultivators were herded into the prison as though they were cattle. Zhuo Yifeng carried Li Mo on his back, while Lin Qingchen and Lin Qingxue held hands as they continued forward with trepidation. The other cultivators were all cultivators in beast pelts; one man was carrying Xue Ji, and two were holding the fatty up.
There were already a few slaves in the prison, and the already cramped surroundings grew even more crowded.
“Alright, don’t try anything funny. Tomorrow, we’ll provide all of you with tokens of your identity.” Saying that, the swordsmen responsible for guarding the prisoners turned to leave. The slaves who were already imprisoned seemed particularly distant, not approaching, challenging, or even talking to them.
The two groups of slaves, old and new, split the prison down the middle, leaving a small gap of empty space between the two groups. After the entire day of battle, Zhuo Yifeng, the Lin sisters, and the other cultivators were all exceptionally weary. Zhuo Yifeng put Li Mo down. Lin Qingchen stepped forward, took his pulse, and fed him a spiritual pill.
Lin Qingxue glanced inquisitively at Li Mo’s direction, but Lin Qingchen only shook her head. Li Mo’s spiritual vortex had received a rather serious blow, and his spiritual energy reserves were all but exhausted. He was in a deep coma—not life-threatening danger, but it wasn’t clear when he would awaken.
“Ouch!” Just then, a pained grunt broke the silence in the cell. “Can’t you be more gentle?”
It was the fatty who spoke. The two men carrying him had unceremoniously dumped him on the ground, causing him to suck in a deep breath and to narrow his beady little eyes into slits.
“Pretending to be unconscious so we’ll carry you? Scram!” one of the men carrying him hollered. There was a bite mark on his neck: he was one of the cultivators who had been bitten by Zong Yang while he was inflicted with the corpse poison.
“I just woke up,” the fatty claimed, rubbing his buttocks. He turned to Xue Ji, who was still unconscious. “How is she?”
“We’ve fed her some spiritual pills. Her body’s injuries will naturally recover with time, but her face…” The moment the battle between the cultivators and seven delegations ensued, those cultivators draped in beast pelts had swarmed the Pi delegation as one in an attempt to protect Xue Ji.
The other men were all infuriated upon hearing this, but they couldn’t do anything about it.
“Let me have a look at her,” Lin Qingchen suddenly spoke up. “I’m a physician.”
The hulks immediately made way for Lin Qingchen, who walked over and carefully inspected the wounds on her face. “The injuries on her face are severe, but I coincidentally have some herbs that should be particularly effective at treating external injuries. It should at least improve her appearance, although I can’t guarantee that it’ll be fully restored.
She then took Xue Ji’s pulse and was amazed to find that her damaged spiritual vortex was rapidly recovering, and her spiritual energy reserves were likewise restoring themselves.
“Did you feed her some panacea? How is she recovering so quickly?” Lin Qingchen asked.
The hulks were naturally grateful that she could help restore Xue Ji’s appearance, but the sudden question caused them to hem and haw.
“What’s there to hide? We’re all slaves now!” the fatty cried out, handing Lin Qingchen a stone that was snowy white all over. “Here, girl, look at this.”
Lin Qingchen took the stone and gasped. It was emanating spiritual energy, which was slowly seeping into her body.
“A spirit crystal, able to help one cultivate and restore one’s spiritual energy,” the fatty explained. “One of my ancestors brought this back from the Mingyuan continent, but we only had two such crystals. One was with me, and the other with Xue Ji.”
“Something so miraculous…” Lin Qingchen murmured. “There have been quite a few students from our academy who have entered the Mingyuan continent, but I’ve never heard of the existence of such a stone.”
Lin Qingchen handed the stone back to the fatty.
“No, take it.” The fatty refused the stone. “You have an injured cultivator on your side too, don’t you? Maybe this will help.”
“My gratitude.” Lin Qingchen applied a light layer of ointment on Xue Ji’s face, then brought the spirit crystal to Li Mo. “Master Mo, please wake up quickly…”
Lin Qingchen placed that spirit crystal within his robes. The moment it touched Li Mo’s body, it began sending stream after stream of spiritual energy into Li Mo. Like rain falling on arid ground, the spiritual energy rushed into Li Mo’s body, and he innately began to absorb and absorb as much of it as he could…
The next day, Li Mo’s spiritual vortex had mostly recovered; by that night, so had his spiritual energy reserves. Li Mo finally awoke to find himself alone in the prison cell, the other slaves all having been taken away.
He could feel the spirit crystal against his body, and he retrieved it where Lin Qingchen had put it against his robes. The snowy-white stone which had been glowing with spiritual energy had now turned a drab grayish-white, most of its energy having filled Li Mo instead.
“So this is a spirit crystal…” Li Mo held the small stone in front of his eyes, inspecting it carefully. He had heard both Empress Xue Tong and the first elder describe how miraculous it was, but not every shard of crystal contained such potent spiritual energy. Clearly, the shard in Li Mo’s hands was of particularly high quality.
Footsteps came from the distance. Li Mo hid the stone and lay down, pretending to be unconscious. The footsteps stopped by the front of the jail cell.
“Why isn’t he awake yet? He’s not dead, is he?” the swordsman responsible for watching over the prisoners mumbled to himself. He opened the door to the cell and walked in toward Li Mo, who quickly thought of two options: first, to knock the man down and find Yun Ruoyan through the connection to his spiritual sword, and second, to stay and wait for an opportunity to strike. After all, he was now in the Pi household, and Qin Feng, the Lin sisters, and Zhuo Yifeng were all trapped here with him. If he left now, it would be far harder to return to save them.
The guard kicked Li Mo’s body, then felt his neck to ascertain that he still had a pulse. After doing so, he turned and walked out of the cell.
After a short deliberation, Li Mo decided to stay. Although he wished Yun Ruoyan could be by his side, he believed that it would be safer to rescue everyone in one go.
Only when he sensed that the guard had left did Li Mo slowly open his eyes.
All the slaves had been gathered by a training ground within the Pi manor. Standing over them all was a richly dressed youth, the second young master of the Pi family, Pi Yang.
“Young Master, all the slaves are gathered here,” the middle-aged Pi housekeeper explained. “Actually, for so minor a responsibility as dealing with the slaves, there’s no need for you to handle everything personally, Young Master. If you’d rather hand the responsibility to me…”
“Father and Brother have gone to inspect the spiritual crystal veins and have tasked me with dealing with household matters, so I naturally have to try my best,” Pi Yang replied.
“Housekeeper Hu, you may begin.” I wonder whether Yun Ruoyan will appear to try and save that dark robe and her cousin?
He glanced at all the gathered slaves, then noticed that Li Mo wasn’t present.
“Housekeeper Hu,” he called out. “Where’s that dark robe?”