Phoenix’s Requiem - Chapter 304
If he had never met Lin Yuemei, Yun Lan would have taken Madam An as his wife according to his family’s plans, then taken Qin Jianmei as concubine following his own wishes.
However, at a flower-viewing party two months after meeting Qin Jianmei, Yun Lan met Lin Yuemei. When Lin Yuemei walked out from amidst the peach blossoms dressed in a dark red brocade, it was love at first sight. He knew his emotions were misplaced, but he couldn’t bring himself to forget about her. Even when he found out that she already had a man of her dreams, his feelings for her didn’t change.
When Lin Yuemei went on excursions with his good friend, Long Yin, they would frequently bring him along. Yun Lan looked on helplessly as the girl of his dreams flirted with his friend, his spirits falling but his emotions yet unchanging.
But just as Yun Lan thought that he wasn’t fated to be with Lin Yuemei, Long Yin suddenly vanished. To make Lin Yuemei give up on him, Lin Zainan began making plans for her wedding. While Lin Yuemei was distraught, Yun Lan jumped in to save the day, caring for her as meticulously as he knew how.
Initially, Lin Yuemei was unwilling to marry him, but when Yun Lan promised not to touch her for two years and that he would divorce her immediately if Long Yin were to make a reappearance within those two years, Lin Yuemei finally acceded.
At the same time, Yun Lan manipulated the Yun family into agreeing to the marriage between him and Lin Yuemei, though he was forced to take Madam An, with whom he had a prior engagement, as a concubine as well.
In the end, just as he had wanted, Yun Lan married Lin Yuemei. What he didn’t know was that, the day he married Lin Yuemei and took Madam An as concubine, a fair maiden stood crying the entire night long outside the walls of the Yun manor.
Yun Lan had intended on watching Madam Qin and Li Mo duel quietly, but after hearing her ambitious claims, his eyes began to spark with killing intent.
“If you want your daughter back, unsummon this puppet immediately. Otherwise, you’ll never see your daughter for the rest of your life.”
“Such big words,” Qin Jianmei scoffed, laughing in her anger. “But just as you intend on coercing me with my precious daughter, so can I threaten you with your precious woman!”
Qin Jianmei pointed a finger at Yun Ruoyan, and the demonic puppet immediately spat out black and red mists at her. As they intermingled in mid-air, they turned into over a dozen claws that pounced on her.
“Protect Miss Yun!” Su Nan commanded, and his five men formed a barrier encircling her.
Li Mo frowned. As an eighth-rank blademaster, Yun Ruoyan had a relatively advanced cultivation on the Chenyuan continent, but facing something like a demonic puppet, which wasn’t native to the Chenyuan continent, was still a highly dangerous prospect.
Li Mo was about to turn around to save her when, with the flick of a hand, Qin Jianmei surrounded him with the demonic claws that had retreated to the side.
Su Nan and the guards that he commanded all boasted a cultivation beyond Yun Ruoyan’s, but the demonic claws were so unusual and present in such great quantities that the guards couldn’t handle them all.
Two of the guards were trussed up by several of the claws, then tossed aside. One claw caught Su Nan’s wrist, and the other tried to take his blade away. With a shout, Yun Ruoyan drew her Scarlet Eye.
In order to combat the demonic claws, Su Nan and the others had to infuse spiritual energy into their weapons. Even so, the damage that they caused was minimal. On the other hand, Yun Ruoyan’s Scarlet Eye immediately caused a sizzling sound as soon as it made contact with one of the claws.
“Miss Yun, your sword can extinguish demonic aura!” Su Nan exclaimed.
“In that case, let me attack them,” Yun Ruoyan volunteered, charging ahead and chopping through the horde of claws that flocked toward her.
When Yun Ruoyan had cleared away most of the claws in her vicinity, she noticed Li Mo once again being surrounded by claws.
“Su Nan, take care of yourself!” Yun Ruoyan grit her teeth and rushed toward the demonic puppet, intending on relieving the pressure on Li Mo.
“You’re asking for death!” Qin Jianmei shouted, commanding the puppet to strike her with its fists.
Yun Ruoyan dodged the attack with an elegant vault, then hacked at the puppet’s gigantic fist with her sword. The moment the Scarlet Eye met the puppet’s fist, it was as though a red-hot brand had landed on flesh.
The puppet was evidently able to feel pain, because it howled and flung Yun Ruoyan aside. She landed on the ground gracefully, holding up the Scarlet Eye in front of her as she defended against the puppet’s onslaught.
The pain seemed to have honed the puppet’s will to fight, because even without Qin Jianmei’s command, it focused all its attention on Yun Ruoyan. Without the puppet’s control, the demonic claws that had engulfed Li Mo were weakened significantly. With his newfound freedom, Li Mo looked below him to see Yun Ruoyan facing off against the demonic puppet.
“You fool, get back! You’re not its match!”
But it was already too late. The demonic puppet suddenly opened its mouth wide at Yun Ruoyan, releasing two gusts of demonic aura in rapid succession, one black and one red. Four red and black claws clawed at Yun Ruoyan. She cut one down, but the other three attacked her simultaneously.
They caught her neck, wrist, and one ankle.
With a snap, one claw broke her wrist, causing the Scarlet Eye to clatter to the ground as the other three claws held her body up in mid-air.
“Cease your resistance, or I’ll kill her now!” Qin Jianmei threatened. Li Mo had no choice but to surrender, allowing the claws to capture him as well.
Within the suite, Yun Moxiao was so dismayed by Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo’s capture that he announced, “Father, I can’t wait any longer!”
He kicked the door to the suite open and rushed out into the hall, yellow sword aura appearing by his feet as he rushed toward Yun Ruoyan.
When Qin Jianmei turned and saw Yun Moxiao, she stilled for a moment before smiling brightly once more. “Good timing! Once I kill you, Ruoyu will have one fewer competitor in the Yun family.”
Yun Moxiao unsheathed a sword by his waist as he chopped at the claw clutching Yun Ruoyan’s neck. As she struggled, Yun Ruoyan yelled out to Yun Moxiao, “Watch your back!”
Yun Moxiao turned around to see a red sword composed of demonic aura about to stab at his chest. He thought that he was about to perish, but moments before that sword struck his chest, it vanished.
At the same time, the claws surrounding Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo all vanished. Yun Moxiao caught the falling Yun Ruoyan, then landed on the ground with Li Mo.
By the other end of the room, Qin Jianmei opened her eyes wide as she glanced at the sword that had skewered her heart. She turned disbelievingly toward Yun Lan, his face a frozen mask.
“Jianmei, how did you end up in such a wretched state?!” Yun Lan exclaimed, his voice shot with disappointment and coldness.
“How did I end up in this state?” Qin Jianmei laughed as she parroted Yun Lan’s question. “You dare ask me that?”
The steel through her heart felt as cold as ice. Light shrunk from her. Qin Jianmei found herself back in her bleak memories, trapped in silence and smothered by the dark.
“Beat her, beat her up! She’s a demon!” came the voices of a few raucous kids. They surrounded her and yelled out, “She’s from that shamanic tribe, and they’re all demons! We won’t play with her!”
The children left, leaving a heartbroken little girl sobbing quietly to herself.
When a middle-aged man appeared in front of her, the little girl looked up even as tears fell from her eyes like beads strung on a necklace. “Father, we’re not demons! Father, tell them I’m not a demon!”
Qin Jianmei awaited her father’s consolation, but all she received was a slap to her face.
“How many times have I told you not to tell others that we’re from that shamanic tribe?! Now we’ll have to move all over again!”
The man pulled her up roughly and dragged her away.
The scene disappeared, quickly replaced by another. A handsome youth stood on a bridge with a shy girl.
“Jianmei, you like me, don’t you?” the youth asked.
“I… I…” The girl hesitated and lowered her head, unused to the youth’s scrutiny.
“You must,” the youth continued, before she could respond. “Otherwise, why would you blush the moment you saw me? Do you blush when you look at other young men?”
“N—No, I don’t.” The girl continued lowering her head.
“No what?” The youth continued. “You don’t like me, or you don’t blush?”
“I… I…” Even the tips of the girl’s ears had turned red as she tightly clutched the hem of her dress.
The youth smiled and tugged on her hands. “Jianmei, if you like me, would you like to get married? However, given your status, you could only be my concubine. Would you accept that?”
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