The room was plunged into a deathly silence. After a long while, Song Zining said bitterly, “Qianye, no matter how bad the Empire is, it's still our human race's…”
Qianye shot to his feet and pointed at Song Zining. “I risk my life for my brothers and friends, not the Empire! Today…”
Song Zining laughed wryly while Ji Tianqing tugged at Qianye's hand with all her might, finally managing to drag him back to his seat. Qianye wanted to shake her hand away, but his strength became his weakness this time. Qianye sensed that her origin power distribution was fairly odd—she was using the entirety of her strength to bind Qianye and leaving none for her own defense. Shaking her hand away would result in breaking the bones in her hands.
How could Qianye have the heart to do so? In the end, he was pulled back to his seat.
“Let him finish.” Ji Tianqing's voice was fairly soft and not at all like her usual self.
Song Zining had also thrown caution to the wind, roaring, “You can ignore the empire, leave that business to me, but for whom did I come to the neutral lands!? For whom did I move my entire Ningyuan Industries here? Why would I pick an alloy formula instead of other great benefits?”
Qianye had nowhere to vent his anger, so he slammed the table instead.
Ji Tianqing knocked on the table, saying, “Now's not the time to be confessing to one another, get to business.”
Song Zining took a deep breath. “There's nothing else to discuss if we can't restrain Luo Bingfeng. Everyone will die under his finger. That's why I made plans to contact Mister Rui. Not only will he provide intelligence on the city lord, but will also launch a sneak attack at the right moment.”
“Sneak attack? Against Luo Bingfeng?” Qianye's words were full of mockery. Although he and Ji Tianqing had never fought against Luo Bingfeng, they knew full well about how terrifying the man was. Considering how strong the city lord was, Rui Xiang might not be able to wound him even if he were to just stand there.
Song Zining said, “Of course not Luo Bingfeng, but that woman beside him.”
Qianye fell into a moment of silence. “Good plan.”
Song Zining nodded. “This is Mr. Rui's plan, I won't take credit for this.”
Qianye finally shot a glance at Rui Xiang. The latter immediately trembled upon coming into contact with those blue eyes.
Qianye said word by word, “What if you don't attack at the critical moment?”
“That's impossible. Humph, this Luo Bingfeng is someone I've been meaning to get rid of. How can I let go of such a good opportunity? The previous matter with the seventh young n.o.ble was just a misunderstanding. Now that he's willing to forgive past matters, going so far as to offer ample rewards, how can I not do my utmost? That woman is Luo Bingfeng's weakness. That's why I must attack personally and witness that treacherous Luo Bingfeng's despair. He probably never thought there'd be a day like this when he berated me back then.”
Rui Xiang became a different man at the mention of Luo Bingfeng, his tone full of detest and extreme hatred. Qianye couldn't help but feel curious because Rui Xiang had suffered several times in his hands, quite miserably in fact. So, why did Rui Xiang hate the city lord more instead? The latter couldn't even leave the city, otherwise, Qianye wouldn't have been able to block the gates.
Either way, his hatred seemed rather genuine, and the intelligence he provided on the city lord was unexpectedly quite detailed. Qianye was still angry, but as an expert, he began to enter a state of contemplation as he listened to the information.
“What you need to be most aware of is Luo Bingfeng's Death Stare. Reportedly, he managed to kill a young void colossus back in the day and somehow transplanted this power into his body. Weaker enemies would die just from him staring at them.”
Qianye nodded. He had personally experienced this attack back then. In terms of power, though, it was so much weaker than the mysterious ent.i.ty in the depths of the Eastern Sea and far from being able to kill Qianye. It was believable that the power came from a colossus cub.
“As for that woman, I only know that she appeared beside him all of a sudden. She rarely takes action in person, so I have no idea what she excels in.”
Ji Tianqing said, “Then, how can you be so sure you can kill her?”
Rui Xiang flickered his black crystal sword proudly, saying, “My sword was bestowed by a heavenly monarch, empowered with his strength. It is invincible! Even Luo Bingfeng will end up with a see-through hole in his body, let alone a mere woman.”
Qianye frowned. From what he remembered, this black crystal sword was merely sharp and st.u.r.dy. He hadn't expected that it had been reinforced by a heavenly monarch.
Bewildered, Song Zining asked, “This sword doesn't have the origin power of a heavenly monarch, does it?”
“It doesn't at the moment, but it will tomorrow.” Rui Xiang was clearly implying something.
Song Zining and Ji Tianqing exchanged glances.
Zhang Buzhou, who was reportedly in isolated cultivation, was going to reinforce Rui Xiang's blade at a critical moment. At this point, who would believe that the heavenly monarch knew nothing about what was going on? The reason behind all of this was something worth contemplating.
The group then discussed some details regarding the operation, including how to communicate and attack, etc. After everything was settled, Rui Xiang immediately said his goodbyes and left in due haste.”
After the old man was gone, the room once again became quiet. In the end, it was Song Zining who broke the silence. “Qianye, this isn't just related to the bigger picture, but it's also to reduce casualties. Anyone who can help us is a friend, as long as they can help us restrain Luo Bingfeng, no matter what he did in the past.”
Song Zining said frankly, “I've grown up.”
Qianye was just about to say something when Ji Tianqing pulled him away. “Let's go, I have something to say to you.”
Qianye nodded in agreement. It was true that he couldn't speak to Song Zining in a friendly manner considering how frustrated he was. Since Ji Tianqing had something to say, it was somewhat better for her to convey the message.
Ji Tianqing sighed lightly after exiting the room. “Don't blame him, there's really no other way.”
Qianye remained silent.
The girl continued, “I know you don't like this method, that you'd rather die with the enemy than to work with a lowlife like Rui Xiang. But, you're a warrior hero and Zining is a commander. His planning will decide the life or death of many other people. That's why he can't act based on camaraderie alone. He needs to achieve the best result even if the means isn't to everyone's liking.
“Qianye, you naturally won't recognize the empire, but Zining does. So, he has to share this burden as well. I think that, in the future, his responsibilities will not be inferior to the Marshals Lin and Zhang.”
Qianye finally spoke, “Divination isn't omnipotent, and no one can scry everything. Zining's current plan has a loophole, people like them are simply overconfident.”
Ji Tianqing inquired, “What's wrong with it? I can't think of a better plan than this.”
Qianye said calmly, “Even if we fight Luo Bingfeng head-on without Rui Xiang's help, the city lord might not have the time to look elsewhere.”
Ji Tianqing was startled as she meditated on those words, feeling increasingly shocked as she did so. She was just about to ask when a blue light flickered through the darkness, and the temperature suddenly dropped to a freezing point.
At the end of the corridor, Li Kuanglan was scanning Ji Tianqing and Qianye with eyes full of lightning.
Immediately sensing the killing intent, Qianye followed Li Kuanglan's gaze and found that he was still holding Ji Tianqing's hand.
Frowning, Qianye let go. He didn't really feel that it was anything inappropriate since Ji Tianqing had been using this method to suppress his sanguineous threads and prevent him from attacking Rui Xiang. Otherwise, the threads would arrive instantly within a hundred meters, and the old man would never be able to escape no matter how fast he was. One had to remember that Life Plunder was no ordinary move.
Ji Tianqing had used her own safety to keep Qianye bound because she understood the power of his attack. There was no other way but to hold onto him.
Li Kuanglan's sudden appearance and overflowing killing intent meant that she wasn't here for trivial matters.
Qianye shot a glance at Ji Tianqing. He felt that the two of them probably shared a more-than-simple relations.h.i.+p, perhaps more than just friends. Hence, he immediately released his hand in order to prevent a misunderstanding. The three were all experts in the martial arts—there was really no need to say anything because each could understand things at a mere glance.
Qianye looked straight at Li Kuanglan but found that something wasn't quite right. Li Kuanglan's killing intent was growing stronger and stronger, and it was aimed at Ji Tianqing. The latter stood with her head raised, as though she were a kid who had been wronged but refused to utter a word about it.
Qianye was confused, unable to figure out the relations.h.i.+p between the two. Could it be that Li Kuanglan was venting her anger on Ji Tianqing because she didn't want to act up against him?
That didn't sound so right, either, after some thought. If Li Kuanglan and Ji Tianqing were in some sort of relations.h.i.+p, he should be the one being targeted instead. Besides, he wasn't really sure how much respect he could garner to be able to make Li Kuanglan back off. His relations.h.i.+p with the Li family young miss wasn't all that great, to be honest.
The more he thought about it, the more confused he became. He felt that this kind of situation was even more difficult than dealing with a divine champion. In the end, he had no idea where to start or what to explain.
Li Kuanglan snorted and said with a cold voice, “Good, very good!” With that, she disappeared immediately, leaving Qianye utterly bewildered.
“What's good?” Qianye asked.
”Nothing, good means good!” Ji Tianqing laughed like a blossoming flower. Her change in expression was enough to leave people sighing in admiration.
Qianye shook his head, deciding not to think about all this. “I'm going to leave for a while, I'll be back tomorrow. Will I be in time for the showdown?”
“Yes, we need at least three days to prepare. Where are you going?”
“Wander about randomly.” That was what he said, but his lonesome expression revealed some of his worries.
Ji Tianqing wanted to ask more about it, but she was hesitant. In the end, she only gave him a nod.
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