Chapter 2: The Assassins’ Attack… An Assassin Guard

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On April 15, 2015, Posted by , In Gong Hua, By ,, , With 11 Comments

Is an assassin’s training hard?
Maybe? Quite a few died during training, though I don’t remember the exact number.
In any case, the only thing I want to do is kill you!
A human can’t beat someone as strong as you. Even the harshest of trainings won’t be enough!
I… Can I really kill you?
But I have to; I must…
I will definitely kill you! Gong Hua!

—Cas

“Owen brought me along with him to ask for help from West. At the time, West was part of the military, so Owen and I ended up joining the war. We went around the battlefields killing Danyas until the war was almost over.”

At that, Yin Qie Zi smiled scornfully and said, “You know how good I am at killing. Killing ten thousand Danyas wasn’t a problem for me at all.”

“Owen let you kill?” Cas narrowed his eyes in slight disbelief. He had been very young back then. Many years had also passed; thus many things were a blur to him. However, Owen had been his teacher. He still had an impression of Owen’s character.

Yin Qie Zi lightly replied, “Owen wanted to atone for his crimes. He wanted to redeem himself by joining the war and demonstrating meritorious conduct. He hoped our arrest warrant would be revoked because of it.”

Truthfully, at that time, he didn’t understand what “atoning for one’s sins” meant. It was simply because Owen had wanted to join the war. Since he followed Owen everywhere, he also followed him onto the battlefield. To ensure Owen’s safety, he always killed off any enemies that came near Owen. Unwittingly, the two of them had become a lethal weapon in West’s arsenal. They were sent wherever the army was having trouble fighting.

Although he said that he had killed around ten thousand people, it was impossible to count the actual number.

He had even mistakenly killed a Leaf. A female Leaf, who had a head of sea blue hair, named Aquamarine.

He was her Guardian Flower, yet he had killed her. Instead, it was a Danya, their enemy, who kept on swearing he would take revenge for her. At that point, Yin Qie Zi still hadn’t lost his powers. That Danya who went by the name Indigo was strong, but he wasn’t strong enough to defeat a physical spirit. Yet whenever Yin Qie Zi saw the other, he would run away.

Due to that, Indigo became the Danyas’ greatest weapon in dealing with the Flower.

He would go onto the battlefield, but whenever Indigo came chasing after him, he would run away. Those kinds of absurd encounters lasted until the war ended. Since then, he had never come across Indigo again.

Facing Cas, he gave a clear account of when he had killed the Leaf. It was to ensure that Cas wouldn’t use the Leaf Tribe to threaten him. After all, his hands were already stained with the blood of a Leaf.

“You—”

Just when Cas was about to make a sarcastic remark, shouts of alarm unexpectedly erupted in the air. Both of them froze in shock, and then quickly ran over to the prison’s window. But because the window was too small and the lighting too dim, they couldn’t see much of anything besides a few moving shadows.

“Damn it!”

Cas took out a key, turned, and inserted it into the wall. He then gave a kick and a piece of the prison’s sturdy wall relented. Yin Qie Zi stared in surprise at the other’s actions, but then noticed that the wall had given way to a secret door.

Cas bent down, but before he went in, he snarled at Yin Qie Zi, “Stay here and watch the door. Don’t let any Leaves or anyone else leave! You know what will happen if you do!”

His words surprised Yin Qie Zi. He had thought that Cas had merely been waiting here for him. Looking at the situation now though, it seemed the other had been assigned the duty of guarding the Leaves. Cas… Exactly what was he?

Noises of an uproar drifted out of the prison. Most of the noise was made from the clashing of weapons, but an occasional shout was mixed in there. To Yin Qie Zi, those voices couldn’t be any more familiar. Leaves had higher voices than humans. It wasn’t all that difficult to distinguish them.

Should he go in and see what was going on? Yin Qie Zi was somewhat undecided. Then suddenly, someone scrambled their way out of the secret door. He’d thought the person was Cas; he certainly didn’t expect it to be a Leaf, a female one.

Yin Qie Zi stared at her. Normally, it would be quite difficult to tell whether a Leaf was male or female. Regardless of their sex, Leaves all had a delicate and fragile physique. Distinguishing the sex of a Leaf was definitely trickier than distinguishing the sex of a human. From the first glance however, Yin Qie Zi knew the Leaf was female. After all, he had once sat underneath the Spirit Tree and watched Leaves pass back and forth before him. He had watched them for at least a few decades.

The Leaf was slender. Her face was bright and clear, so much that it appeared she was glowing. She also had a head of lustrous, red hair. Her appearance wasn’t all that different from the Leaves in Yin Qie Zi’s memories: beautiful, delicate, and full of color.

The red-haired Leaf was shocked when she saw Yin Qie Zi standing outside. She hadn’t expected someone to be guarding the door. When she got a clearer look at Yin Qie Zi though, she became doubtful. The other was merely a boy; he didn’t look like a guard at all.

The Leaf stared at Yin Qie Zi, sizing him up and trying to guess his identity. On the other hand, Yin Qie Zi was at a complete loss of what to do.

Should he stop her from running away? He then recalled Cas’ warning and his heart sank. He growled out, “The palace is heavily guarded. You won’t be able to run away. Return to the prison!”

The red-haired Leaf did not run away, but she also did not return to the prison. She merely stared at Yin Qie Zi in a daze, or to be more accurate, she stared at his hair with a puzzled expression on her face.

“You—” She started speaking.

At that moment, Yin Qie Zi quickly stepped up and pulled the Leaf over to his side. She was startled by his sudden action, but then noticed that a masked-man dressed in black had appeared at the spot where she had been previously standing.

The masked-man had his sword raised and was about to strike down the Leaf, but unexpectedly, she had been pulled away at the last minute. He quickly changed his target, deciding to take care of the one who had stolen his prey first.

Yin Qie Zi pushed the Leaf aside. He pulled out a short sword and blocked the masked-man’s fierce attack. He applied pressure down the length of his opponent’s blade and nimbly flicked it aside. Not wasting a second, Yin Qie Zi immediately stepped forward and aimed a stab at the other’s chest. Unfortunately, the masked-man swiftly dodged the attack. Yin Qie Zi’s sword merely grazed his shoulder and didn’t cause any major injury.

Seeing this, Yin Qie Zi became slightly irritated. If his own shoulder injury wasn’t affecting his speed, his attack surely would’ve hit the mark.

When he saw that his opponent was quite strong, the masked-man, disregarding his own safety, directly turned to attack the Leaf standing off to the side.

Despite the masked-man’s fearless move, Yin Qie Zi was even faster. He slashed down on the man’s sword and at the same time, analyzed the components of the spirits that made up the blade. As the two of them traded blows, Yin Qie Zi went about breaking the chains that held together the other’s sword. Finally, he forcefully hacked down. The man’s sword split apart with a crack. The blade fell onto the ground, immediately shattering into thousands of silver pieces.

The masked-man’s eyes widened; he couldn’t believe someone who was this adept at breaking spirit chains existed.

His shock gave Yin Qie Zi an opportunity; he immediately swung his short sword up to the man’s neck. The edge of his sword was pressed right against the man’s throat, so that if he dared to move the slightest bit, his neck would instantly be cut.

What if the masked-man stayed still? What should he do then? Yin Qie Zi wrinkled his brows, but he didn’t have to worry for long. His opponent suddenly stepped forward, unhesitatingly slicing his own neck.

Yin Qie Zi stared down at the body that was still twitching incessantly on the ground. He slowly pulled his sword back, his heart perturbed. It was rare to see a suicidal soldier who would kill himself upon the failure of his mission. The people behind soldiers like those were true dignitaries.

“Yin Qie Zi!”

He turned in the direction of the voice and saw Cas coming out of the secret door. An angry expression was on Cas’ face, but when he saw the body on the ground and the Leaf standing off to the side, most of his anger dissipated. The corners of his lips lifted up in a contemplative smile.
“I didn’t imagine that you would actually prevent a Leaf from escaping.”

At Cas’ words, a wave of anger rose up in Yin Qie Zi. He almost yelled out “The one who asked me to prevent the Leaves from escaping was you!” No matter what though, he didn’t dare to enrage Cas. If Cas exposed his true identity, then his plan for revenge would be all for naught. He could only clench his fist and resist from giving into his anger.

Speaking of identity, Yin Qie Zi abruptly remembered his question on Cas’ identity. He asked bewildered, “Why are you protecting the Leaves?”

Cas frowned when he heard the question, but quickly relaxed his expression and lazily replied, “I’m doing it so I can pay for my meals. My employer told me to guard these slaves closely. I’m not allowed to let them escape, and of course, I’m also not allowed to let them die.”

When he finished speaking, he grabbed the red-haired Leaf’s arm. Without an ounce of care, he roughly pulled her to his side. The Leaf gave a shout of pain and staggered over to Cas. The sound of metal on metal sliced the air.

At that moment, Yin Qie Zi noticed that the Leaf’s ankles were shackled. There was no way she could have escaped. Even if he had decided to help her out, there was no way he could have escaped the heavily guarded palace together with a Leaf in shackles.

“Get inside!”

Cas brusquely tried to shove the Leaf back through the secret door. She grabbed onto the stone ledge and refused to let go. With great effort, she turned to look at Yin Qie Zi and asked in panic, “Please, can I ask—”

The Leaf appeared extremely frantic, but Yin Qie Zi was even more frantic inside. He didn’t know whether Leaves were capable of recognizing him. Twenty years ago, Aquamarine had immediately recognized him. He didn’t know whether it was because she had the ability to identify Flowers, or if she had simply recognized him because she had seen him sitting underneath the Tree before.

Before she could finish her words however, Cas kicked her through the door. Aside from letting out a groan of pain, the Leaf had no time to ask any questions.

Hearing the Leaf’s groan, Yin Qie Zi’s hand tightened around his short sword. He coldly stated, “The one you want to take revenge on is me; there is no need to harm the Leaves. I no longer have anything to do with them. I’ve even killed one of them before!”

Cas glanced over at Yin Qie Zi a few times and let out a cold laugh. “You should look at your own expression before you speak. Your ability to lie is worse than it was twenty years ago.”

Yin Qie Zi turned his head away, refusing to argue with the other. He then noticed that he couldn’t hear the sounds of fighting from inside the prison anymore. “Are all of the assassins dead? Are there any left for questioning?”

Cas’ lips lifted in a smile. “Are you that worried about these Leaves? Don’t worry; I’m not the only one who’s looking after them. There are 35 guards, 30 spiritmancers, and 5 spirit charmers situated around here.” Intentionally or otherwise, Cas especially listed off the number of guards assigned around the prison. It was a number Yin Qie Zi definitely couldn’t defeat by himself. Or at least, a number he couldn’t defeat after having lost his powers.

“Can I ask…”

Yin Qie Zi turned in the direction of the voice. The red-haired Leaf had grabbed onto the metal bars that barricaded the prison’s small window and was peering out at him. With a doubtful expression, she asked, “Your hair color is silvery-purple. Do you have any relations to the Leaf Lord—”

“I’m completely unrelated to the Leaf Tribe.” Yin Qie Zi immediately cut her off.

The Leaf stared in surprise, an expression of disbelief on her face. Yin Qie Zi felt her reaction was a bit strange, because as far as he knew, the Leaf Tribe was not one to doubt people. Then again, Yin Qie Zi had forgotten almost everything he once knew about the Leaf Tribe. Most of what he knew now was what he had heard from humans. For example, Mila was the one who had told him that that the Leaves’ staple food was the fruit leaf. Due to that, he wasn’t quite sure if Leaves were capable of suspecting others.

“Hahaha! I can’t believe you’re even stupider than you were twenty years ago.” Cas burst into laughter, and then said in mockery, “She used the Leaf language to ask you that question and then you even replied to her in the same tongue. Even the dumbest Leaf wouldn’t believe you!”

Yin Qie Zi’s eyes widened in shock, finally noticing his mistake. Except the words were already out, and there was no way he could take them back.

The red-haired Leaf stared at Yin Qie Zi. She did not question his answer, but her expression was one of complete doubt.

Cas smirked, his eyes shifting from the Leaf to Yin Qie Zi and back again. This made Yin Qie Zi extremely worried, he was afraid Cas would expose his identity as a Flower. He quickly said, “It’s about time for me to leave. If I don’t leave soon, morning will come, and then I won’t be able to leave.”

Although he said that, would Cas actually allow him to leave? Cas had said that he would make him experience pain and suffering for the rest of his life, and at the moment, there was nothing more painful to him than being exposed as a Flower in front of the Leaf.

At that thought, Yin Qie Zi looked at Cas in alarm. The latter, however, only coldly remarked, “What are you looking at? If you’re going to leave, then get lost.”

Yin Qie Zi stared in surprised at the other. That was the best answer he could’ve asked for. Without any further delay, he immediately turned to leave, lest Cas changed his mind.

“Please wait!”

Hearing the Leaf’s plea, Yin Qie Zi’s footsteps slowed. He wanted to turn around and take a final look at her, but stopped himself before he could fully turn around. He then left without turning his head back.

“Wait—”

“Shut up! If you call after him one more time, I’ll go and beat up every one of your tribespeople,” Cas snarled.

While Cas didn’t know how Yin Qie Zi had lost his powers, it was best if he gave the other no opportunity to regain them. For example, the cries of the Leaf asking for help from the Flower could possibly be one such opportunity.

Cas was also knowledgeable on how to threaten Leaves. Rather than saying he would beat her, it was better to say that he would beat her tribespeople. However, these Leaves were peace offerings under strict protection, so he couldn’t actually lay a hand on them. However, there was no harm in voicing the occasional threat. If he truly wanted to beat them, he would pick a male Leaf and hit him where it couldn’t be seen. Even then, it wouldn’t result in any heavy consequences.

When she heard that her tribesmen would suffer, the Leaf immediately closed her mouth, afraid to utter even a single word. She glanced over at Cas. His ferocious expression frightened her so much that she ducked back inside the prison, afraid to look out the window again.

She rested her back against the wall and slowly slid down to sit. Her head of red hair was made into a mess by the friction, but she paid it no attention. All she had on her mind at the moment was the person who had just left.

That head of silvery-purple hair… Originally, she had thought that he was someone the Leaf Lord had sent to save them. It appeared now though, that she was wrong. She couldn’t help but feel extremely disappointed.

Another Leaf walked up and sat beside her. He asked in a concerned voice, “What’s wrong, ? Did those assassins scare you?”

Yan Er raised her head to look. It was . The two of them looked very similar, both had red hair. If speaking of bloodlines, then Hong Yan was Yan Er’s older brother. The Leaf Tribe, however, didn’t have any concept of family hierarchy. Fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters all called each other by name, regardless of their seniority.

“No. Compared to our current situation, how could those assassins even be scary?” Yan Er then said somewhat disheartened, “I saw someone who had silvery-purple hair. I’d thought he was somehow related to the Leaf Lord, but it turns out I was wrong.”

Hong Yan patted her shoulder and said, “What does it matter? Soon enough, we’ll probably all return to the Tree’s side.”

The word “death” did not exist in the Leaf Tribe’s language. They believed that when a Leaf died, they would return to the Spirit Tree, becoming its branches and leaves. They referred to this cycle as “return.”

Yan Er became even more troubled at her brother’s words.

“Then why haven’t we returned yet? The Continent of Xi Zong no longer has a Spirit Tree and we can’t walk or live on land without a Tree. We could probably have supported ourselves for a year or two, but twenty years have already passed since then. Everyone has gradually become weaker over the years, but no one has returned to the Tree’s side. How is this possible?”

“I don’t know.” Hong Yan was also puzzled. It was probably more accurate to say that every single Leaf still in Xi Zong at the moment was puzzled. Moreover, they were currently caught in a helpless situation. They had no idea when they would return to the Tree’s side, nor what to do at the moment. They wanted to escape from their future as slaves, but they knew that even if they did escape, sooner or later, they would be caught again by humans.

Even though Hong Yan was at a complete loss himself, he still patted Yan Er’s shoulder reassuringly. He consoled her, “Don’t be afraid.”

“I’m not afraid of returning to the Tree’s side, but not knowing when it will happen makes me…” Yan Er didn’t know how to describe her current feelings. It was rare for a Leaf to feel that sort of emotion.

“Restless and apprehensive?”

Yan Er nodded in response and added, “And I don’t feel a true desire to escape. Even if I do, soon after, I will probably have to return to the Tree’s side.”

Hong Yan nodded and looked around at his tribesmen. Most of them had on vacant expressions. Perhaps he also had the same expression. Vacant and at a loss, the only thing they could do was continue to wait; yet they didn’t even know what they were waiting for.

Who was it that wanted to kill them? Yan Er suddenly thought of the question, and then another: Would they come again?

She pondered the matter. Why would it matter if those assassins came again? Would they be ruining anything? Maybe they would return to the Tree’s side tomorrow, maybe…

***

On the way back, Yin Qie Zi had wanted to quickly return to the Warlord’s estate, but there were more guards in the palace than there had been when he came in. It was probably due to the sudden appearance of assassins at the prison.

The heavy security forced him to stop numerous times on his way out of the palace. Every single time he stopped, he had to find a hiding place, either squeezing between hidden breaks in the walls or hiding behind the backs of pillars. The slow pace made him agitated, but there was no way he could speed up.

Using the buildings’ shadows, he finally managed to return to the sewer mouth he had used to infiltrate the palace. Just when he was about to jump in, he saw some people walking his way. Yin Qie Zi quickly hid in the walls’ shadows and quieted his breathing.

As the group of people came closer, their voices also became clearer. Yin Qie Zi found that he didn’t understand what they were talking about. The language they were speaking in wasn’t the human language, nor was it the Leaf language. He couldn’t resist sneaking a glance at them out of the corner of his eye. There were approximately six of them… Wait a second!

Yin Qie Zi stared in surprise, finding the stature of the group to be somewhat strange. They all seemed, seemed a bit too tall.

As the six of them were around the same height, at a distance, there looked to be nothing strange about them. As they got closer though, Yin Qie Zi clearly saw that something was off. The tallest among the group had to be at least over two meters while the shortest was around 180 centimeters. Yin Qie Zi heard a female voice among the group and deduced that the shortest one was a woman. A woman who was 180 centimeters tall?

Right, they had to be Danyas!

Yin Qie Zi moved to hide behind a pillar and snuck a few more glances at the group. Most of them had white hair, streaked with other colors. As it was night, he couldn’t get a clear look at them. Moreover, they weren’t speaking the human language, so he didn’t understand them either. Their height and hair color, however, definitely confirmed his suspicions that they were Danyas.

What are Danyas doing here? Yin Qie Zi frowned, but understood after thinking carefully. These Danyas were probably emissaries who were here to collect the peace offerings.

The Danyas walked by Yin Qie Zi, just ten steps away from the latter. Yin Qie Zi saw that two of the Danyas were women, the other four men. Most of them had white hair streaked mainly with gold, but there were a small amount of other colors mixed in. One of the men had only gold streaks in his hair; with none of the other colors mixed in.

Was he Gold of the Four Colors? Yin Qie Zi frowned at his discovery.

At that moment, the Danya with the purest hair stopped in his steps and looked left and right. His companions also paused. They looked at him in confusion; one of the women even opened her mouth to ask what was wrong, but he lifted a hand and waved her question away.

He then shouted loudly, “I am of Danya. No matter who you are, please come out!”

He had spoken in the human language, appearing very fluent in it and almost had no accent. However, Yin Qie Zi did not do as the other asked. Instead, he slowed his breathing even more and plastered himself against the wall, ensuring that there wouldn’t be the slightest chance of him being discovered.

Jin Qie Er frowned, but couldn’t find any visible problems even after looking left and right. Finally he turned and spoke with his companions. The group of Danyas continued walking and left.

Only when he couldn’t see them anymore, did Yin Qie Zi dare to step out of his hiding place. He turned to look in the direction in which the group had left. That Jin Qie Er probably wasn’t one of the Four Colors. If he were one of the Colors, he would’ve referred to himself as Gold. It was like how that Danya with blue-streaked hair had always called himself Indigo, never using another name.

If that man wasn’t Gold, then Indigo wouldn’t have come, right?

Inexplicably, Yin Qie Zi gave a sigh of relief. He finally slipped into the sewer and swam out of the royal palace. Without stopping to rest, he ran for the Warlord’s mansion. By the time he returned, the night sky was already starting to lighten. It was about time for him to have breakfast with Mila.

He found a hidden corner and wrung out his clothes. He then went into the mansion through the front door, as if he had nothing to hide. In any case, he was currently a guest. He wasn’t worried if he would be seized or have his way blocked. This was much safer than climbing the walls anyways. They did say that the Warlord’s estate was harder to break into than the royal palace.

The palace occupied a large expanse of land, so not every block was heavily guarded. On the other hand, the Warlord’s residence occupied a much smaller piece of land. The Warlord himself was also the head of a spiritmancer regiment. Even Yin Qie Zi, who had scouted the Warlord’s residence for many years, didn’t know how many spiritmancers the estate housed.

Although it was already time for breakfast, Yin Qie Zi headed towards his room instead. He had only wrung his clothes out enough to prevent them from dripping. Under the dusky sky, the guards at the door most likely hadn’t noticed that his clothes were wet. However, Mila would certainly notice that something was off, so he had to change his clothes first. He probably would have to change the bandage on his shoulder too. Due to the fighting earlier and also the wet bandage, his wound was starting to ache again.

When he opened the door to his room, Yin Qie Zi froze in shock. Owen was sitting on his bed, facing the door, looking like he was waiting for him to return. Owen’s expression was also extremely ominous, appearing as if he had some business to settle.

“Ah, so you finally returned! Then I’ll go back to my room to sleep.” Seeing that the situation was about to go rancid, Litelli quickly scampered out of the room without bothering to explain the current circumstances to Yin Qie Zi.

Though even without an explanation, Yin Qie Zi more or less understood. Most likely, news of the uproar at the palace had already spread. He really had wasted too much in coming back. Owen probably suspected that he was the one who had broken into the palace and came to check in on him. In the end, he was still a Flower, the guardian of the Leaf Tribe.

“Where did you go?” Owen asked coldly.

Yin Qie Zi wanted to lie and say he went back to his house to grab some medicine, but he didn’t even have a single jar on his person to back up his lie. Plus, his clothes were still wet.

“You didn’t go to the palace did you? We heard it had been attacked, my father’s already on his way there.” Owen suppressed his rising anger and asked, “Were you the one who attacked the palace?”

“If it were me, do you think I would still be standing here in front of you?” Yin Qie Zi snappily answered.

Owen abruptly stood up and growled, “Who knows? Maybe you had an accomplice? Maybe you’re actually stronger than you’ve led me to think? Maybe you’ve never actually lost your powers? In any case, you refuse to tell me anything!”

Exactly like Owen described, Yin Qie Zi quieted down, refusing to say anything. When he saw that Owen’s expression was worsening with no signs of improvement, he finally opened his mouth to explain. “It really wasn’t me. I only wanted to see them. I didn’t disturb anyone else; otherwise, I wouldn’t have had such an easy escape.”

Hearing that, Owen’s face relaxed a bit. He then suspiciously asked, “Then did you see the attackers?”

Yin Qie Zi hesitated for a moment, but decided to tell the truth. “Yes I did. I even defeated one of them.”

Owen’s eyes brightened at those words and he quickly asked, “Was he strong? But your wound hasn’t healed right?”

Yin Qie Zi pondered over the question. “If using humans as the standard, then his strength would be in upper middle third. Also, he was a suicidal soldier. He killed himself the minute his mission failed.”

Owen stared in surprise at him. “Mission? Did they want to save the Leaves?”

Yin Qie Zi furrowed his brows and replied, “No, looking at the situation, I’d say that they wanted to kill the Leaves.” Did any of the Leaves get injured during the confusion? At that thought, his mood turned gloomy.

“Kill the Leaves?” Owen frowned and mumbled confusedly, “Those Leaves are only peace offerings. They are totally harmless…”

Yin Qie Zi’s expression immediately darkened when he heard Owen’s mumbles. Owen himself also paused in shock. If someone had tried to kill the peace offerings, then did they want to destroy the current peace?

“Does someone want to start another war?” Yin Qie Zi asked quickly, feeling uneasy.

Owen scratched his head, and said while nodding, “Yes, a pro-war faction has always existed in this country. The last war between Zhan Yan and Danya was twenty years ago. Plenty of people are itching for a new war.”

Yin Qie Zi hesitated, but then questioned, “Does that include Warlord Paladin?”

“My father has never said it directly, but he is the head of a spiritmancer regiment. So he would naturally belong in the pro-war faction.” Owen didn’t feel all that disturbed at this revelation. He shrugged and bluntly stated, “Wouldn’t it be strange for the head of a spiritmancer regiment to advocate for peace?”

“The strange ones are the people who want to start a war. War is completely meaningless,” Yin Qie Zi said quietly.

“Battles can hone soldiers. Without war, it would be impossible for a soldier to obtain the title of Warlord. Even climbing to the position of would be a stretch.”

At the new voice, Owen and Yin Qie Zi lifted their heads and looked towards the door. They saw Mila sitting with a smile on her wheelchair. She looked at Yin Qie Zi, her expression seemingly saying that she agreed with his comment of how “war is meaningless.”

Owen said, “Mila, you’re here? It is about time for breakfast, why don’t we eat first?” His last question was directed at Yin Qie Zi.

Yin Qie Zi nodded in response, relaxing a bit. Owen seemed to believe him and didn’t appear all that angry anymore.

The three of them moved to the dining room. The array of dishes on the dining table was rather sumptuous, but Yin Qie Zi only took a plate of fruit leaf. He couldn’t help but feel grateful towards Mila’s attentiveness.

Soon, Mila and Yin Qie Zi finished their meal. Owen was still gorging himself, so the two of them started chatting casually.

Mila smiled as she explained her previous words. “It was due to the war between Danya and Zhan Yan that my father rose to the position of War Marshal. After he represented Zhan Yan and signed the peace treaty between our two countries, he was given the title of Warlord. His promotion was the fastest ever recorded in history.”

Yin Qie Zi asked confusedly, “If they want to start a war merely for their own promotions, then what benefit does it pose to other people? His Majesty the King certainly won’t agree with this, he surely doesn’t need any promotion.”

“Much of Danya is covered with deserts or grasslands. Most of their people raise livestock as their way of living. Due to that, they’ve always had a shortage in grains and other types of foodstuff. It has already been twenty years since the last war. Without war to trim their population, I’m afraid it has grown to a degree that they can’t support. Even if Zhan Yan doesn’t go to war with them now, sooner or later, the Danyas will plunder our country due to shortage of food. So it would be better if we attacked first. If we do, we can take them down before they are prepared.”

At that moment, Mila paused, and then added, “At least, that’s what the pro-war faction has theorized. As for His Majesty the King… Just inside the Zangxia Gates, there is a large area of fertile grasslands. To the north, we have the Southern Gulf Mountains, which are rich in precious minerals. Deeper in, we have the Chushi Forests, where many unique and special spirits live. There are also unconfirmed rumors that one of the beasts’ rulers, , lives there. There are rumors saying that its feathers and blood can be made into a miracle drug that can prolong one’s life.”

Yin Qie Zi understood. The pro-war faction wanted war for their own promotions. The king wanted war to keep hold of his land, and perhaps also catch Soaring Phoenix.

“I heard from Owen that you’ve met another one of the beasts’ rulers, called Nightclaw?”

Yin Qie Zi shook his head. “Beasts don’t have such things as rulers. There are only a few physical spirits. Soaring Phoenix is a bird-type physical spirit, Nightclaw is a beast-type, and there’s also the mermaid of the sea. Soaring Phoenix’s blood truly is special and precious. It can be made into an antidote which works for practically every poison imaginable. As for its feathers, if you break the chains that bind the spirits together, you can add it to armor or weapons. It can be used to lighten the weight of metal armor and weapons. Other than that, I’ve never heard of making the feathers into medicine.”

Mila smiled and said, “It’s only a legend. There are also legends saying that Nightclaw’s eyes can be made into formidable spiritual weapons.”

“I’m not very knowledgeable about weapon-making. Though if someone is capable of getting Nightclaw’s eyes, then they are probably strong enough that they don’t need a spiritual weapon.”

Mila laughed and nodded. “You’re probably right.”

They continued chatting for a while, but Yin Qie Zi couldn’t suppress the unease in his heart. He opened his mouth and asked, “If the king truly belongs to the pro-war faction, then is war inevitable?” More importantly, were the Leaves labeled as peace offerings marked for death?

 

Next: Chapter 3: Left Eye…The Royal Assassin
Previous: Chapter 1: Racing Flames… The Day I Dived into Those Flames
Return: Main Page

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Translator: Nannyn
Proofreaders: Syrra, PiKairi

炎儿, child of flames.
红岩, red cliff.
金泣耳, weeping gold ear.
If you recall, Zhan Yan can bestow its citizens with five different titles, which are Warlord, Marshal, Glaive, Warrior, and Soldier. These titles are equivalent to orders of nobility such as Duke, Marquis, Count, etc. As Zhan Yan translates to the Country of War and Flames, its titles also have to do with battle. The Xi Jiang, Zong Jiang, etc that were mentioned in the previous chapter are strictly military ranks, not titles. Don’t get these two mixed up.
飞凰 (Fei Huang), soaring phoenix/swift phoenix.

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11 Comments so far:

  1. libraryrocker says:

    I want gong hua and cas to get together! I ship them!

  2. KT says:

    Thank you for the chapter! Now we have another character wanting revenge in play; since Indigo is alive I’m sure he’ll come back at some point.

  3. Shruti says:

    Thank you for the update ^^

  4. dinoj says:

    Thank you thank you ! Thanks so much for the chapter! Ah I agree with Jennifer, the chapter isn’t even sad but just reading the name Gong Hua is enough to make me depressed D: poor flower:( thanks again :D

  5. Jennifer says:

    Yay! A new chapter! Thanks you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Mere words cannot express my gratitude. Now, excuse me while I reread this chapter several times while sobbing uncontrollably. This isn’t even that sad of a chapter. Just hearing the words Gong Hua makes me feel depressed… Oh poor Gong Hua.

  6. peeyaj says:

    I am confused.. Isn’t Mila died on Volume 1?

    • Jennifer says:

      Mila did die. However, West named his children after Owen and Mila. This Mila was born two years after the last Mila died.

  7. Krescent says:

    Thank you for the chapter!! I’ve been waiting for Gong Hua!!!

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