Chapter 26: Undercurrents
Qin Lie reburied Gao Yuan’s corpse and removed all of the nearby traces. After thinking for a while and upon seeing the sky darken, he began walking towards the canyon.
The rain gradually stopped.
When he returned to the canyon, he saw the martial practitioners of the Ling, Feng, and Gao Families still mining along the cliffs. They all looked like chickens which had been dropped into broth, their bodies completely drenched. However, their minds were still exuberant as if the Fiery Solar Jade had invigorated them to the point of not knowing exhaustion.
Even Liu Yan no longer laid within the valley resting like usual. Instead, he had moved to the area where the Fiery Solar Jade had been discovered. His expression was absolutely radiant as he overlooked the people from the Gao, Ling, and Feng Family as they were busily working, making sure that they didn’t hide a piece of Fiery Solar Jade for themselves.
Towards the fire crystals he had always been somewhat inattentive, but that was because fire crystals weren’t worth too much. Since none of the three families had artificers, they wouldn’t steal the fire crystals.
Fiery Solar Jade was vastly different.
The value of Profound Grade spirit materials was just too high. If anyone from the three families stole a Fiery Solar Jade, they could immediately go to any of Icestone City’s auction houses and exchange it for quite a large amount of wealth.
Thus, Liu Yan had to keep his eyes peeled in case someone tried to covertly steal some Fiery Solar Jade.
“Little Ying’er, come and drink a few cups with elder brother in a bit?” invited Feng Lun as he grinned with an undisguised, lusty glint flashing through his eyes as they unceasingly stuck to Ling Ying who was close by. “Big brother is much stronger than Ling Feng, and more capable at taking care of you too, hehe.”
After being drenched by the rain, Ling Ying’s fine figure was completely revealed, her full, curvy body arousing the wild and fanciful thoughts of others.
Grabbing the rope with one hand, her feet moved across the cliff, causing her perky butt to slightly rise. All of the nearby martial practitioners of the Gao and Feng Families couldn’t help but discretely gulp as they wantonly stared at her.
However, the only one who dared speak their mind was Feng Lun. All the Gao Family martial practitioners didn’t say a word.
Feng Lun was Feng Yi’s cousin and had cultivated to the seventh level of the Refinement Realm. Previously, the person who was rude towards Qin Lie and provoked Ling Yushi’s rebuke was precisely him.
After being taught a lesson on the spot by Ling Yushi and then reprimanded by Feng Yi, Feng Lun had stayed quiet for a long period of time. Even recently he hadn’t done anything outstanding. Thus, it was unknown why he would suddenly act presumptuously today.
“Go look after your mother!” Ling Ying was a little prickly rose with her beautiful eyes glaring at Feng Lun as she opened her mouth to unceremoniously insult him.
“Feng Lun! Clean your mouth a little!” coldly shouted the nearby frowning Ling Feng, unable to restrain himself.
“Hehe, your little mouth is very fierce, very interesting! I like it!” A sliver of hostility flashed through Feng Lun’s eyes as he lowered his head and creepily laughed. “I hope you can continue being so fierce, it won’t be any fun otherwise…”
“Shut up!” coldly shouted Feng Yi.
Feng Lun was clearly somewhat afraid of him, as his head shrunk back and he stopped speaking.
At this time, the other Feng Family practitioners beside him all looked interested for some reason as if they were all expecting something out of the ordinary.
“Enough, stop quarreling. Let us end it here today,” chipped in Liu Yan narrowing his eyes. “Not bad, today, your three families have mined a total of eleven pieces of Fiery Solar Jade. Compared to our previous day’s efforts, the value of today’s efforts… is much greater than all of the previous days combined! Everyone rest assured, the pavilion will definitely not treat you wrongly!”
Following Liu Yan’s instructions, the practitioners from the three families began to gradually climb down from the cliffs. After reaching the canyon, many of them began to return to their tents to change into dry clothes.
Ling Yushi wore neat blue battlewear, which had also been drenched by the rain, revealing her alluring and supple body. Feng Yi, who wasn’t too far away, couldn’t help but constantly look over.
Upon seeing Qin Lie’s return, Ling Yushi sweetly smiled. She brushed aside the wet hair from her forehead before saying, “Let me go change clothes with Ling Ying first. In a short while, I will make you something to eat.”
Ling Yushi and Ling Ying shared the same tent. Knowing that the two of them were squeezed into one tent and changing their clothes distracted the minds of many of the nearby practitioners. Sneaky eyes swept over as they all wished for their eyes to penetrate into the tent and experience the wonderful scenery within.
Before long, Ling Yushi and Ling Ying changed into dry clothes and walked out. Ling Feng and the others had also changed their clothes one after another, and before long, everyone grouped together.
“God dammit, that bastard from the Feng Family. I don’t know why he suddenly began mouthing off. A few days earlier, everything was still fine, but now, he dares to act so wantonly with Little Ying!” Ling Xin scowled, then looked towards the Feng Family practitioners in the distance. “Last night, they had someone complain that their body wasn’t comfortable, and that they needed to return home to get treated. From my point of view, that guy didn’t look sick at all. He must have rushed home to report discovering the Fiery Solar Jade.”
Qin Lie’s heart shivered, and he unconsciously looked over towards the Feng Family’s quarters.
“Hehe, look at that fool!” In the Feng Family’s quarters, Feng Lun discovered Qin Lie’s gaze sweeping over them. He grinned and began to laugh strangely, “Him? He’s engaged to the girl young master had his eye on… the Ling Family’s Patriarch has probably been infected by that fool to the point of stupidity.”
“Yeah, it’s rumored that a woman surnamed Du has pressured the Ling Family to the point where they can’t even raise their heads. The Ling Family’s Ling Chenghui… was driven to death by her, and they still didn’t dare to say anything,” whispered someone nearby, continuing the conversation. Sneering, they continued to ridicule the Ling Family’s various disgraces, constantly emitting one disgusting laugh after another.
The two families were separated by quite the distance, but occasionally, some of the chatter from the Feng Family’s quarters would float over, causing the faces of the Ling Family’s people to become increasingly ugly.
“Those bastards of the Feng Family, did they take the wrong medicine these last two days?” Ling Xin immediately stood up, angrily yelling, “First Miss, do you want me to go over and shut them up?”
“Forget about it, they are just whispering behind our backs, there’s no need to care.” Ling Yushi weakly waved her hand, motioning for him to sit back down. Afterwards, with a similar feeling of uncertainty, she said, “Starting from yesterday, those people from the Feng Family have truly begun acting a little strange. That Feng Yi, the way he was looking at me today… was becoming more and more untoward.”
“Does the Feng Family have some kind of problem?” asked Ling Feng profoundly.
“What kind of problems could they have?” Ling Yushi shook her head and continued, “With Nebula Pavilion’s Liu Yan present, what kind of problem could they have? The Feng Family is the same as us, but a vassal of Nebula Pavilion. If Nebula Pavilion wanted to eliminate the Feng Family, it would be but a simple task. Furthermore, Feng Kai is within Nebula Pavilion, what problems could the Feng Family throw out?”
“That’s true.” Hearing Ling Yushi’s reasoning, Ling Feng nodded his head and said no more.
As Qin Lie silently listened, waves began to roil within his heart. He had secretly gained a clue…
Blankly looking at the Feng Family opposite him, Qin Lie became inwardly cautious. It was very possible that Gao Yuan’s death was related to the Feng Family member who had left.
According to common sense, the Feng Family, as a vassal force, would definitely not dare to play dirty tricks right below Liu Yan’s eyes as he was from Nebula Pavilion.
But this time, it was different.
Fiery Solar Jade was just much too valuable. Furthermore, this entire area was a Fiery Solar Jade mine, making its value immeasurable! It was definitely worth it for some people to take the risk!
Thinking upon this further, Qin Lie suddenly discovered his train of thought was becoming nimbler, as if he had experienced this matter over ten years ago, expertly analyzing and deducing everything.
“If I were the Feng Family and had already made the decision to not care about offending Nebula Pavilion with regards to stealing away these immeasurably valuable Fiery Solar Jade spirit materials, what would I do?”
Qin Lie asked himself, searching for an answer in his heart. Afterwards, his psyche shivered, feeling increasingly uneasy.
His conclusion was —— to kill everyone within the canyon who knew about it! The Ling Family, the Gao Family, and Liu Yan, not a single one would be left alive!
Only if everyone was eliminated could they guarantee that no information about the Fiery Solar Jade would leak out. That would then allow them to take full control of the mine and mine all of the Fiery Solar Jade before Nebula Pavilion discovered anything. Afterwards, they could make additional arrangements.
After arriving at this conclusion, when Qin Lie looked over at the Feng Family martial practitioners once more, he discovered that their eyes were all leaking hostility…
If it was truly like this, then in their eyes, the Ling Family had probably become lambs to the slaughter. No wonder their attitudes had become so abnormal, as they were no longer bitterly repressing their hidden desires towards Ling Ying and Ling Yushi, and instead gradually spiralling out of control.
A silent night passed.
The next morning, Qin Lie didn’t go out to cultivate like usual and instead remained within the canyon, woodenly watching the people of the three families atop the cliffs as they mined Fiery Solar Jade together.
He carefully examined the expressions and every minute action of the Feng Family’s practitioners and discovered that as they mined, they seemed to not be as excited and focused as the others from the Gao and Ling Families.
Every so often, the Feng Family’s martial practitioners took advantage of the moments when everyone else was focused on mining to stare at their backs, and within their eyes was indeed killing intent.
It gradually became clear to Qin Lie that the reason why the Feng Family members had yet to make a move was because the strength of their current forces was insufficient.
They were just waiting, waiting for their reinforcements to arrive so they could massacre everyone else within the canyon.
Having roughly figured out the intentions of the Feng Family’s martial practitioners, Qin Lie returned to his usual routine. While the three families mined, he once again began to wander amongst the mountain forest surrounding the canyon.
Only, he didn’t continue with his cultivation of his martial way and instead paid attention to his surroundings from amidst the darkness.
“It is already July. If Grandpa wasn’t mistaken, the Silver Winged Demon Wolves will be returning soon. If there weren’t any Silver Winged Demon Wolves, then it would be best to inform Ling Yushi and immediately leave Celestial Wolf Mountain in case the reinforcements of the Feng Family besiege us. However, with the possible arrival of the Silver Winged Demon Wolves, there are just too many variables…”
Qin Lie secretly planned and prepared by himself, constantly and cautiously wandering around the proximity, secretly observing the situation from the darkness.
And like that, three days passed.
In the past three days, the Feng Family’s martial practitioners were constantly involved in minor conflicts with the Ling and Gao Families. Even Liu Yan was slowly becoming unable to bear it, having already severely reprimanded Feng Yi once for the increasingly unbridled actions of the Feng Family.
But, everyone thought that the excessive actions of the Feng Family was due to the stimulation of having found Fiery Solar Jade.
None of them had thought to think about it further…
Today, not only did Qin Lie secretly observe their surroundings during the day, he also took advantage of the time the Ling Family members were sleeping to slip away at night in order to secretly patrol the mountain forests as well, carefully preparing for the events to come.
After calculating the time, he knew that the reinforcements for the Feng Family could appear at any moment. Thus, he had to be extremely cautious.
At midnight, he hid his body amongst the dense foliage of an old tree. Just as he was resting with lidded eyes, he suddenly heard the sweeping sound of footsteps.
Poking his head out from the cover of leaves, he took advantage of the moonlight to look out over the distance in the direction the noise had come from. His face suddenly drained of color, and his heart felt as if it was about to explode — it was actually Shattered Ice Manor!
He saw fifty to sixty martial practitioners with Shattered Ice Manor’s emblem on their chest steadily and calmly approaching.
They were deliberately taking light steps, making sure no loud noises were made. It was clear that they were preparing to unleash a sudden attack and take advantage of the people sleeping deeply in the canyon to kill them.
The person in front had a haggard face and sinister cold eyes. He seemed like an elder of Shattered Ice Manor and had undoubtedly cultivated to mid stage Natal Opening Realm!
Qin Lie only observed for a few seconds, chills running down his spine. He quickly descended from the trees.
He gingerly moved towards the canyon, afraid of making any sort of noise. Only after he had created a large enough distance between him and the others did he dare to speed up his pace and skim across the ground…