Chapter 22 — Setting Up a Scapegoat
Yun Wu reined in her expression and unceremoniously but swiftly tucked the block of jade and the map fragment into her bosom before finally sparing him a glance, “Nothing. Where to?”
Her smooth maneuvers made him laugh helplessly, and then he prompted her to follow him. As she trailed after him, she eventually came to realize how he was able to enter the Forbidden Grounds.
In a dark corner near the threshold, she saw a man-sized hole with an appearance akin to a cave entrance. It was likely Long Qingxie’s handiwork. Only, contrary to her expectations, the tunnel actually extended all the way to the back mountain, below the cliffside she had once fallen from.
The distance between the Forbidden Grounds and the end of the tunnel could be easily inferred from the fact that they were able to continue walking for over half an hour without stopping.
This man, just how long did he spend digging this tunnel?
His actions… she couldn’t say she felt nothing, but she couldn’t afford to feel anything beyond that either.
Night-time, three days later.
On the east side of Yun Manor, within the Master Chamber, Liu Qingyue was taking off her clothes, preparing for bed.
Whooosh… A silent breeze whirred in from the window, extinguishing all the lamps and lights in the room, sinking it into abrupt darkness.
Liu Qingyue’s brows creased, and she scoured the room with her dark gaze, then she shifted, and a long sword appeared in her hand. Utmost caution and wariness could be seen on her face.
For her to react with such keen vigilance at figuratively the mere rustle of leaves in the wind showed that she was an unusually guarded person.
“Who is it?” She looked into the darkness, set on finding whoever was making trouble—if there was even such a person. However, the room was dead silent. Still, she had a bad premonition that danger was approaching.
Just then, a figure leisurely walked out from the darkness.
“Who are you? You have the audacity to intrude this madam’s room—how bold!” Although Liu Qingyue spoke in a cold voice, every bit the authoritative attitude of a Yun Manor Madam, she was slowly inching towards the doorway.
Whoosh! A silver needle flew out and stabbed into the wood of the doorway, immediately stopping Liu Qingyue in her tracks. A gentle voice —analogous to a ghost’s— brushed by her ears, laughing. “Great Aunt, where do you think you’re going? We haven’t seen each other in so long, do you dislike me that much?”
Liu Qingyue froze, and surprise flickered in her eyes. Her voice trembled slightly, “You… it’s you? How are you still alive?”
The poisonous dart she had thrown out for good measure before leaving would’ve been enough to kill Yun Wu; to say nothing of the man-eating vines that were also there. Yet now… what happened?
Cold light shone in Yun Wu’s eyes as she strolled out from the cover of darkness and curved her lips, “That just goes to say… I wasn’t meant to die that day, so tonight, you will take my place.”
At her words, Liu Qingyue’s body trembled, but immediately after, her eyes flashed with murderous light, and killing intent swathed her heart.
“Hmph, you think a little good-for-nothing like yourself is qualified to speak such words? You’d better be sensible and hand that small wooden box back to me, then seeing we belong to the same family, I’ll spare you. Or else…” her voice trailed off with a laugh, having made obvious her threat.
If it were before, in a head-on confrontation, Yun Wu indeed wouldn’t have been strong enough to face Liu Qingyue. But today, aside from her expertise in killing, she had also reached the early stage of Rank Five. If she wanted to kill a third rank Practitioner like Liu Qingyue, it would be as easy as turning her hand.
Alas, Liu Qingyue still believed Yun Wu was a good-for-nothing. Yun Wu gave a sardonic smile, looked at Liu Qingyue as though she was looking at a retard, and said disdainfully, “Family? So you’re actually thick-skinned enough to use that word? Well, aren’t you just laughable? You’re nothing more than someone else’s dog; a dog who takes herself too seriously. If I don’t return the wooden box to you, then I’m afraid I wouldn’t be the only one wanting your life—that master of yours would want to take your lousy life too, am I right? Someone with a life as cheap as yours… you really think you’re worthy of calling yourself my kin?”
Yun Wu’s sharp, knife-like words caused Liu Qingyue to bristle with anger. “Shut your mouth. A good-for-nothing slut like you is unqualified to talk about my master. Let me tell you, my master…” Then, she blanched and glared at Yun Wu.
“You, you little slut, you tricked me.” Liu Qingyue wasn’t too dumb. When infuriated, she was able to immediately react and stop herself from revealing any more. Yun Wu’s eyes darkened, and she gave Liu Qingyue a sideways glance.
“Oh? Looks like the one who entrusted you with the task of poisoning me was indeed your master.”
“Hmph, you don’t need to know about that, but since you’ve unexpectedly figured out what you weren’t supposed to know, you won’t be alive for much longer.”
Frigid killing intent surged within her eyes as she lifted her hand, enveloped it in yellow battle spirit1, and in a flash, sent a long sword towards Yun Wu’s heart.
Yun Wu’s eyes flared, and she curled her hand into a fist. Her body emitted dazzling magenta light as she met Liu Qingyue’s attack with her own.
Bang! The long sword broke, subsequently causing Liu Qingyue’s eyes to quickly widen and fill with astonishment and dismay. Unfortunately, before she could speak, Yun Wu’s dark silhouette had already reached her side, striking a chill to Liu Qingyue’s heart.
“Speak, who is your master?” Yun Wu held the broken end of the sword between two fingers as she pressed it firmly against Liu Qingyue’s smooth throat.
At this moment, Liu Qingyue was completely frightened.
Magenta-colored battle spirit?
From the ancient times to now, there had never been a magenta innate color before.
The instant Yun Wu made her move, she made it known to Liu Qingyue that she, Yun Wu was on a much higher level of strength.
How was this possible?
Within the short span of a month, the incurably poisoned good-for-nothing had survived the man-eating vines of the Forbidden Grounds and came out capable of utilizing battle spirit.
Could it be… the Forbidden Grounds…
“You… how could you have such power?”
Hearing Liu Qingyue’s stunned voice, Yun Wu laughed coldly. “That, I’ll have to thank you for. However, if you insist on refusing to answer my question, I wouldn’t mind letting that daughter of yours into the Forbidden Grounds to have a taste. I can assure the man-eating vines and numerous giant pythons will torment her until even her bones will cease to exist.”
The last part of what she said revealed that within the Forbidden Grounds, there were not only man-eating vines but also pythons… Liu Qingyue paled.
“No, you can’t do that, she’s your blood sister, you’re both of the Yun family….”
Yun Wu snickered, “Blood sister? Liu Qingyue, do you hear yourself right now? That day, when I was tossed into the crown prince’s resting chamber and killed by my so-called blood sisters’ whip and knives, did you ever think that I’m of the Yun family? That I’m also their blood sister?”
Her sudden icy laugh sent endless tremors through Liu Qingyue’s heart…. Because in it, she sensed the towering killing intent of someone who would stop at no cost to pay back those who had hurt her.
“It wasn’t me, it wasn’t me who threw you into the crown prince’s chamber, you can’t…”
A weapon shot through the air. Chilling light, quick as lightning, flew in through the window, causing Yun Wu’s expression to fall. She could do nothing but dodge the attack. Liu Qingyue, on the other hand, failed to do so. The dagger pierced through her head, and the impact pushed her body back and pinned her corpse to the back wall.
If Yun Wu hadn’t dodged, that knife would’ve penetrated through her brain first, followed by Liu Qingyue’s.
What a swift and ferocious attack.
The perpetrator was definitely stronger than her. She flipped her hand over and manifested three needles —each coated with highly toxic poison— and sent them in the direction of the attack.
No movements! That person left already?
She wasn’t sure, but she was able to confirm one thing—Liu Qingyue wasn’t the only one in the manor who wanted her life. In the end, just how many people were hidden within the General Manor of the Yun family, and how many secrets did it hold?
Yun Wu glanced at Liu Qingyue, who had her eyes open till death. There was no trace of compassion in Yun Wu’s bottomless orbs. Instead, her lips lifted into a bloodthirsty sneer.
Hmph, even if that person hadn’t intervened, I would’ve killed her anyway.
Looking at the situation now, the matter with the wooden box could no longer be concealed. In that case, Yun Wu would like to see just who was hiding behind-the-scenes, wanting to end her life. One day, she would tear everything up by its roots…
The next morning!
A scream suddenly sounded from the east wing of the manor. Before long, a panic-stricken figure emerged from the Master Chamber, her face blanched with terror.
“Third Miss, what’s wrong…” The guards hurriedly rushed into the courtyard, but upon seeing Yun Lingshui2 holding a bloodstained knife, dragging her blood-soaked attire against the ground as she crawled out of the doorway, the guards all froze in place.
“What’s the matter? Why is it so noisy this early in the morning….” Fifth Madam Liu Qinshui3, who was located nearby, rushed into the courtyard and saw the bloodstained Yun Lingshui. Liu Qinshui’s expression flickered, and she sounded concerned as she asked, “Lingshui, what happened to you?”
It seemed as though Yun Lingshui had gone through something terrifying; her eyes were dull, and her body trembled. “No, it wasn’t me, I didn’t kill….”
All of a sudden, an alarmed voice cried out, “Fifth Madam, look…”
Everyone present looked over, and they all gasped. They saw Liu Qingyue’s corpse hanging inside the Master Chamber, her two eyes wide open, staring at them in a way that suggested she had died a grievous death.
“The Head Madam is dead…” Nobody knew who said it, but once the words were out, the scene erupted into chaos and fear. The guards quickly ran out of the room and went straight for Old Master Yun’s Meditation Terrace.
Flustered footsteps could be heard approaching from afar. Yun Qi’s eyebrows knit together. He had given instructions, making it clear that unless something big happened, nobody was allowed to interrupt his meditation.
Yet so early in the morning, footsteps seemed to be getting louder and louder, and he even heard a frantic cry. He was forced open his eyes, stand up, and walk to the entrance. The door was just opened when the guard outside spoke in a trembling voice. “Old Master, the Head, Head Madam was murdered…”
“What murder? Speak clearly.” Yun Qi stepped out into the courtyard, frowning. The guard immediately reported the happenings of the east wing, “Earlier this morning, I heard the Third Miss screaming, and when I rushed into the courtyard…. I saw the Third Miss crawling out of the Master Chamber, holding a bloodied knife, her body completely covered in blood…. And… the Head Madam looked like she had been slashed several times over with a knife, dripping with blood, she….was dead….”
VIN: Bloody Yun Wu has returned! This is taking framing to a whole new level… I like it.