Phoenix’s Requiem - Chapter 412
Chapter 412: Ends And Beginnings
“Lie Yun…” Pi Yang glanced at Lie Yun, his heart filled with gratitude—and a little guilt. After all, he was more or less lying to her.
“Miss Lie,” Yun Ruoyan began. “Pi Yang was initially going to hide and live out the rest of his life in peace, but after finding out that Pi Batian had plans to marry you, he was afraid that you would be tricked by the Pi family.”
“Don’t worry, Pi Yang,” Lie Yun replied sternly. “Not only will I not marry Pi Batian, I’ll make sure you get justice for what’s been done to you.”
“Lie Yun, let’s think this through some more,” Lie Fenglan tried to interject.
“Father, this concerns the rest of my life. I need to be in control of at least this,” Lie Yun shot back. “I’ve made up my mind to reject the Pis’ offer.”
Pi Yang noticed that Lie Fenglan seemed a little awkward and was shooting strange glances at him. Thinking momentarily, he realized what Lie Fenglan was afraid of. “Uncle Lie, I know I’m a cripple now, one who isn’t fit for Lie Yun at all. I came here only to inform her about the matter, and I’ll leave immediately afterwards.”
“Pi Yang, I refuse to let you go!” Lie Yun shouted. “We’ve been betrothed, and what kind of person would I be if I annulled that betrothal just because you lost your arms?”
“But without my arms, I’m a cripple! I can’t protect you or make you happy, or—” Pi Yang lowered his head.
“I want to marry you, not your two arms!” Lie Yun insisted. “Furthermore, there’s still a chance of getting your arms back, isn’t there? If Pi Batian could take your arms away from you, why can’t we snatch them back? Don’t worry, Pi Yang. With me around, nobody will be able to bully you.”
Lie Yun’s impassioned words caused Pi Yang to turn away, forcing himself not to cry. In the end, on Lie Yun’s insistence, Lie Fenglan was forced to leave Pi Yang with her. Lie Yun herself penned a rejection letter to Pi Batian.
“Miss Lie, would you be willing to reconsider allying the Lie family with the Fengs?” Yun Ruoyan asked again. It was evident how important her opinion was to Lie Fenglan, and if she could persuade Lie Yun to agree to the alliance, then Lie Fenglan wouldn’t be a problem.
What Yun Ruoyan didn’t know was that Lie Fenglan’s trust in Lie Yun wasn’t just because he pampered her, but also because Lie Yun had been so talented that no decision she had set her mind on, no matter how unfavorable it seemed to Lie Fenglan, had turned out to be a mistake.
“I will form an alliance with the Feng family on one condition,” Lie Yun replied.
“Really? What condition?” Yun Ruoyan asked in surprise.
“When we defeat the Pis, I shall deal with Pi Batian personally. I want to reclaim Pi Yang’s arms myself,” Lie Yun spat out, one word at a time.
With Lie Yun’s agreement to the proposal, Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo rushed back to the Feng city to inform Feng Yanyang of the good news. Pi Yang sent both of them out of the city.
“Lie Yun’s a good girl, and she harbors deep feelings toward you,” Yun Ruoyan told Pi Yang.
“She does, doesn’t she?” Pi Yang sighed. “Even as a kid, all I knew was that she liked to play and hunt with me, but I didn’t expect her feelings toward me to be so strong. That’s why I feel so guilty about tricking her like this.”
“Sometimes lies are better than the truth.”
“In that case, do you like telling lies?” Pi Yang turned to her.
“Of course not. No one likes lies, but if they don’t realize that it’s a lie…” Yun Ruoyan also turned to face Pi Yang. “Lie Yun’s worth protecting with your life.”
Pi Yang pursed his lips, his eyes, directed at Yun Ruoyan, suddenly aching again. The ache quickly subsided, then extinguished itself. “You’re right. The fact that there’s still someone who wants me despite my being a cripple is a gift from the heavens, one that I should cherish with my life. I swear I’ll protect Lie Yun.”
“Good.” Yun Ruoyan turned away with a wan smile on her face. “We’re going to leave now, and you should head back to her too.”
Li Mo, following behind them, strode up to Li Mo. Yun Ruoyan wasn’t short, but she was still dwarfed by Li Mo. His expression was always calm, even serene; even the sky falling might not have been enough to perturb him. By his side, Yun Ruoyan smiled gently, leaning into his embrace, the two of them like a couple that had walked out of a painting.
Perhaps only a man like him is worthy of Yun Ruoyan, Pi Yang thought.
“Pi Yang, take care of yourself. I’ll send someone to bring Housekeeper Hu over,” Yun Ruoyan said, and then she and Li Mo took to the skies.
Pi Yang glanced at their vanishing backs. Parts of his heart felt as if they had been hollowed out, but other parts seemed to have been filled up in exchange.
Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo returned to the Feng city, where they immediately reported news of the pending alliance to Feng Yanyang, leading to jubilation all around. After a few months of losses to the Pis, the tables would finally turn with the addition of the Lie family to the Feng alliance.
It was under this festive mood that the spring festival commenced in earnest. On the eve of spring, Yun Ruoyan, Li Mo, the Lin sisters, Zhuo Yifeng, and Qin Feng all gathered to celebrate the coming of a new year. A year ago, none of the gathered crowd could have anticipated that they would all be gathered in a manor in another dimension, eagerly anticipating the dawn of spring.
Lin Tianming glanced at his relatives arrayed around him, his eyes slowly brimming with tears. No longer did he have to remain in that icy, damp prison, living like a chained beast.
“Uncle, please accept my toast.” When Yun Ruoyan saw Lin Tianming’s watery eyes, she immediately tried to divert his attention.
Lin Qingchen clicked her tongue. “Uncle, you can’t drink too much alcohol. It’ll be bad for your legs’ recovery.”
“It’s alright, Qingchen. Today’s a day for celebration, and I want to have a cup with Ruoyan.” Lin Tianming accepted the cup of alcohol in Yun Ruoyan’s hands and downed it in a single gulp. He had Yun Ruoyan refill it, then handed it to Li Mo, who sat by her side. “Your Highness, I wasn’t able to be present for your wedding with Ruoyan. Please accept this cup of wine as a belated blessing.”
“Thank you, Uncle.” Li Mo smiled and downed the cup of wine.
“Li Mo, Ruoyan.” Qin Feng also tipped a cup of wine at both of them. “I wasn’t present at your wedding either, so let me give you both a toast as well.”
Lin Qingxue was the only one who noticed Zhuo Yifeng, sitting alone and drinking wine despite the festive cheer all around him. Zhuo Yifeng noticed Lin Qingxue’s gaze, but he ignored it. Lin Qingxue was a good girl, but Zhuo Yifeng had only ever viewed her as a sister. He couldn’t fall in love with her, and he didn’t want to hurt her by trying.
“Ah, what a pitiful and lamentable man you are!” Just as Zhuo Yifeng was downing another cup of bitter wine, the voice in his head spoke up. Zhuo Yifeng ignored it and continued to drink.
The demonic spirit seemed to be particularly afraid of silence, and would often try to talk with Zhuo Yifeng about the most mundane of things. Zhuo Yifeng used to be quite patient with it, but after all this time, he had gotten far too tired of the spirit’s ramblings to respond.
“The person you like doesn’t like you back, and you don’t like the person who does like you… is there a more lamentable fate in this world? But if it were me, I could easily turn this fate around.”
“I can’t explain it verbally. Instead, give me control of your body, and I’ll resolve all your troubles within a day—no, it won’t even take a day!”
“Heh. You’re just trying to trick me, but I won’t fall for your lies.” Zhuo Yifeng had gulped down seven or eight cups of wine in a row, trying to combat his worsening mood, but he felt as though he was falling into even greater depression. “I’ve already given up on Yun Ruoyan,” he emphasized. “She’ll never be mine, so no matter how much I like her, I won’t act on it.”
“Is that so?” The demonic spirit chuckled in malice, then stopped talking.
Despite his drunkenness, Zhuo Yifeng’s hearing was as clear as ever. Those words of congratulations toward Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo, as well as the blissful smile on Yun Ruoyan’s face, stabbed his heart like shards of ice. Out of nowhere, Zhuo Yifeng suddenly felt an overwhelming desire to claim Yun Ruoyan for himself.
In his daze, he suddenly saw Li Mo’s figure, smiling and chatting by her side, replaced by his own. He looked at himself exchanging knowing, blissful glances with each other, thanking those who were congratulating them.
“This is what your heart desires,” the malicious voice suddenly spoke, causing Zhuo Yifeng to jolt up in shock. He immediately shook his head, but Li Mo’s face still seemed to be Zhuo Yifeng’s own.
In shock and fury, Zhuo Yifeng stood up from the table so suddenly that the other guests all quieted down and looked toward him. “I’m sorry, I’m not feeling too well… I don’t think I can take the night shift, and I’ll… be in my rooms.”
Zhuo Yifeng rushed out of the garden. “What trick are you trying to pull?” he thundered mentally as he stumbled back to his own rooms.
“Heh heh, I’m just showing you your deepest desires. Face it—you won’t be able to forget Yun Ruoyan, and there’s nothing you want more than to replace Li Mo. In that case, go kill Li Mo and snatch Yun Ruoyan for yourself!”
“Kill Li Mo?”
“Right, kill him. He’s the one who snatched away your precious woman, after all.”
“Snatch Yun Ruoyan?”
“Of course! You need to claim your woman for yourself.”
“I’ll certainly kill Li Mo—after all, he’s my enemy. But Yun Ruoyan doesn’t like me at all, so what’s the point of claiming her?” Zhuo Yifeng laughed self-deprecatingly at himself.
“You’ve never confessed to Yun Ruoyan, have you? How do you know she doesn’t like you back?” the demonic spirit retorted anxiously.
1. This refers to Chinese New Year.