Chapter 14: Flames of Fury

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Cornelian!

The fiery veins of the cornelian gem were exactly the same as the veins on the surface of the blade. 

Jiang Ling lifted her wrist and lightly pulled up her sleeve.
That blazing cornelian gem, as red as dripping blood, ignited in her chest the flames of fury.

The He Xi of her dream, with her black eyes, gradually merged with the He Xi she knew, becoming indistinguishable. 

“It’s her!” Jiang Ling squeezed out the words from between her teeth.
Her chest was tight, but the warmth that trickled out of her dantian made her forget about her injuries. 

“Who?” Liu Qi asked. 

“I’m going to kill her!” Jiang Ling seemed to have lost her reason, her state of mind overcome by resentment. 

She snatched the ‘Qian Shui’ blade from off the ground and rushed out of the hall. 

“A Ling!” Yun He wanted to follow her but was stopped by Liu Qi.
At this moment, the one closest to Gu Yun was Yun He.
Liu Qi had his second disciple, Yu Qiuyi, bring some skillful disciples to go follow Jiang Ling. 

Jiang Ling did not know where she found the strength, but ever since she had awoken, she felt different from how she had before.
Her dantian felt warm, as if she had endless strength.
In no time, she had reached the bottom of the mountain, but once she reached the ferry crossing, she found there were no boats and the river was frighteningly wide. 

The gray light of dawn crept up to the horizon of the east; it would soon be daytime. 

No, if it is daytime, then people could leave the city! Jiang Ling, with no care for the condition of her body, stepped lightly across the surface of the river, sending out rippling waves that broke up the moon’s reflection. 

“Sect Leader.” The disciples sent to investigate hurried back and spoke a few sentences next to Liu Qi’s ear.
Upon listening, Liu Qi’s expression shifted, and he said to the Qingshan disciple: “Everyone, descend the mountain with me!” 

It was Manichaeism.
Manichaeism had returned once again.
They stole the Ming Blade’s ‘Moon,’ harmed and killed their disciples and elders, and settled both new and old scores in one strike!

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When Jiang Ling arrived at Jiangdu Town, the gates had not yet opened.
The town’s gates may not be able to stop someone proficient in the martial arts, but they could block the way for camels. 

As expected, the camels were still there.
Jiang Ling flew into the inn through the window in the back courtyard. 

Peng——The door to He Xi’s room was abruptly slammed open by Jiang Ling. 

He Xi had already been prepared to wait for the gates to open to make her journey back to the western regions, and she nearly jumped out of her skin by the sudden bursting open of the door.
She fixed her gaze on Jiang Ling.
Wasn’t she injured? How did she appear here?

“Jiang Ling, how did you get here?” Even a gallant swordsman would need at least two incense stick’s worth of time to get to Jiangdu Town with their qinggong, and when factoring in Jiang Ling’s heavy injuries and coma, which would require her to rest for a time, it was impossible for her to come to the town before the sun had even risen. 

Jiang Ling’s eyes were red as she stared into He Xi’s amber irises.
Regardless if black or amber-colored, her eyes had a soul-snatching beauty.
However, even people as vicious as snakes could be beautiful.
She swept her gaze around He Xi’s room once again and saw that her things had been arranged.
It appears that she was just planning to leave. 

“Have your goods been packed?” With tears in her eyes, Jiang Ling advanced two steps to question her. 

“Yes.” He Xi stood up straight and returned Jiang Ling’s gaze. 

“You’re leaving? Not planning to say goodbye to me?” Jiang Ling bit down on the inside of her cheek and forced the words out from the gaps between her teeth. 

“I apologize, but something came up.
I must leave.”

“You won’t give me an explanation?”

“…” 

Jiang Ling took her silence as a tacit agreement.
The flames of fury within her heart intensified. 

She drew out ‘Qian Shui’ and pointed its tip directly at He Xi.
Seeing that He Xi would not elaborate any further, she giggled twice, a trace of cruel viciousness flashing through her eyes before she moved to stab He Xi without care for the consequences.
Like a thunderbolt, she unexpectedly mustered a Sword Energy, and He Xi’s heart would be pierced in an instant. 

A Na heard Jiang Ling’s movements from the neighboring room and rushed over.
Upon seeing the situation, he drew his sword and moved between the two of them, deflecting Jiang Ling’s blade. 

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He Xi’s skills were, naturally, not lacking.
She retreated out of the broken window. 

A Na blocked the strike and raised his hand to stretch out his palm toward Jiang Ling.
Jiang Ling did not want to get further entangled with him, so she dropped her body down and moved her feet dexterously, sliding out from beneath A Na’s palm and flying out the window to chase after He Xi. 

He Xi had already had an appreciation for Jiang Ling’s martial arts skills, and in one moment, the point of her sword had arrived to the space between her eyebrows.
As her Sword Energy met the precious red stone on her forehead, it shattered into pieces in an instant.
The force of the Sword Energy blew across He Xi’s forehead like a breeze.
Her pupils shrank, and she braced herself against its strength with both palms.
At the same time, she gathered her internal force and poured it into the sword.
Jiang Ling’s internal force was already thin, and due to her injuries and relentless pursuit, she was exhausted.
She could not withstand He Xi’s internal force.
She only felt a pain blossom in the webbing between her thumb and forefinger, and she could no longer hold the hilt of the sword.
Without care for the stabbing pain in her hand, she tightened her grip on the sword’s hilt, wanting to advance its tip a bit further.
A little further—just that little bit—and she could avenge Gu Yun!

At that moment, A Na came with two others.
The entirety of Jiang Ling’s attention was focused on He Xi, and with her injuries, her five senses were dulled; she had no awareness left for the people who had come up beside her.
A Na reached out and grabbed Jiang Ling’s ankle, and with his strength, pulled Jiang Ling out of the air and down onto a small vendor’s stall.
The stall was splintered into pieces where it stood. 

He Xi and A Na landed steadily on a rooftop facing the street and watched Jiang Ling calmly. 

“Cough cough” Jiang Ling crawled out of the destroyed vendor’s stall supporting herself on a wooden pole.
The tremors in her hands made her unable to hold ‘Qian Shui’, and with a clang, ‘Qian Shui’ slipped out of her grip.
The breath within Jiang Ling’s chest was tumultuous, and it was difficult for her to draw breath.
She covered her chest, fighting to breathe.
Slowly, she raised her head to look at He Xi on the rooftop.
Defying the dawn’s light, Jiang Ling squinted her eyes, but could not see He Xi clearly. 

“I hope you will be happy,” that day of the lantern festival. 

Ah, truly ridiculous.
You killed my shixiong.
How could I be happy?

A hatred grew in Jiang Ling’s heart once again and the corners of her eyes reddened.
As the breath in her chest scattered in disarray, the pressure made Jiang Ling’s vision go dark. 

He Xi sensed that something was wrong with Jiang Ling, but just as she was going to fly down to check, she saw Jiang Ling cough out a mouthful of blood then collapse to the side of the road, unconscious. 

A Na landed on the ground and walked up to Jiang Ling.
He raised his blade, wanting to finish her off. 

“ A Na.” He Xi called A Na to a stop. 

“It’s so early, who’s making such a ruckus?!” The store’s attendant opened a window to hurl out a few choice words.
As he looked, he saw a person collapsed by the side of a road beside a ruined vendor’s stall.
“Someone jumped off the building!”

The caravan, fully stocked with its wares, had long since left the city. 

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When Yu Qiuyi arrived, Jiang Ling had already been taken into a room by the innkeeper and called for a doctor. 

The innkeeper had gotten up because of the attendant’s cry that someone had jumped off the building.
He had been so shocked that he had walked outside with his clothes in disarray.
Luckily, the little lady who had jumped was still breathing, or the stir of her death would have made doing business difficult.
Moreover, this little lady’s belt was embroidered with bamboo, so who knew if she was a disciple of the Qingshan Sect.
As such, he rushed to call a doctor over.
By the time Yu Qiuyi and her party had arrived to search, it was already noon.
When he knew that the little lady’s shijie had come, he ushered them into the inn. 

“You are the little lady’s shijie?” The innkeeper said trepidatiously.
While the Qingshan Sect’s reputation had always been good in the past, it was their disciple who had jumped and fallen into a coma, after all.
He was afraid to court further incidents. 

“Yes.” Yu Qiuyi looked over Jiang Ling’s injuries.
She had a few scrapes and bruises, but nothing which was too concerning. 

“I don’t know how, but this morning, this little lady fell beside my inn, and the second story window was broken, too.” The innkeeper explained, “But this little lady was not staying at the inn.
What in the world happened?” The innkeeper did his utmost to deflect the blame from himself. 

“The room on the second story.
Who was living there before?”

“A little lady from the western regions.
She was about the same age as you, and she lived with the rest of her caravan here at the inn.
They stayed here for a while and purchased things like silk, porcelain, and medicine.”

“A western caravan?” Why did this girl, Jiang Ling, run over here to find a caravan of the western regions? Yu Qiuyi did not understand. 

“They finished their business yesterday and left the city this morning.”

In the space of half a day, the caravan had long left Qingshan Sect’s sphere of influence. 

A person wearing the garb of the central plains, his head covered with a cloth, caught up to the small group of camels and found He Xi. 

“Miss, I’ve already checked.” Although that person was wearing the clothing of the western regions, one could tell from his appearance that he was truly from the central plains.
It was A Na. 

“Mm, I know.” He Xi sighed with a trace of helplessness. 

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No wonder she had been covered in killing intent. 

This journey into the central plains had originally been to purchase some valuable medicinal materials for shifu, as well as to retrieve the Ming Blade’s ‘Moon,’ which had been left behind. 

She had never expected to encounter Jiang Ling by a tea shop in Yuzhou.
In the early morning light, the girl had stared at her with her fawn-like, dewy eyes.
In actuality, she had known where the inn was, but she could not resist going over to talk to her.
The embroidered bamboo patterns on her waist belt had told her that their objectives were the same. 

He Xi had thought that she had made the first friend of her life, but she had ruined their friendship herself just like that.
Those red eyes of hers, He Xi would never forget.
Her eyes had been full of hatred; she hated her. 

As she sat on her camel, she glanced at the blade’s case, then lifted her gaze to the sun.
The Sun and Moon would be together at last.
The autumn sunlight would not burn one’s skin, but the piercing light made He Xi unable to open her eyes.
She stretched out a hand to block the sunlight.
Her wrist was bare, a bracelet missing. 

He Xi dropped her hand and stared at her own palm. 

That day, He Xi had not thought that Jiang Ling would suddenly appear, and moreover, that with Jiang Ling’s skill, she would completely lack internal force.
When she had realized Jiang Ling’s problem, she retracted the majority of the force in her palm strike, but for someone without internal force, the move was fatal.
Yet, after not even a night had passed, she had woken and caught up to her. 

Jiang Ling, who are you?

Jiang Ling laid on the bed, her brow creased tightly and her forehead covered in beads of sweat.
Her lips mumbled unintelligibly, like she was trapped in a nightmare. 

Yu Qiuyi kept watch by her bed, lightly wiping the sweat off her forehead for her.
She let out a gentle sigh.
Everything had been fine yesterday, so how had all of this happened?

“Shijie.” A little shidi walked into the room and said softly: “The Sect Leader has descended the mountain and will be in Jiangdu soon.”

“Mm.
Go prepare for his arrival.
Let them know we’re here and that we’ve found Jiang Ling.” If even the Sect Leader had come down the mountain, this was no small matter. 

Liu Qi had long sent the majority of the disciples to the area surrounding Jiangdu Town to pursue the caravan.
He did not know for what purpose the Manichaens had stolen the blade; was it to declare war on Wulin of the central plains, or was it merely to retrieve a precious blade left behind seventeen years ago?

He knew that it was too late to discover anything, that it was already too late to go to Jiangdu Town, and that they would have to search elsewhere to intercept them.
But, because of that Jiang Ling, he could not rest easily.
Gu Yun was gone, and if something happened to Jiang Ling too, then he would no longer have the face to look at his shifu and shidi. 

Only when the disciple dispatched by Yu Qiuyi arrived and told him that Jiang Ling was at an inn and without serious harm was he relieved, at last.

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