Volume 1 –
Chapter 161: Treachery
Yang Qi’s initial thought was that it must be about the deaths of Song Haishan and Gu Fenxian. However, he was still confident that Jiang Fan and the others wouldn’t reveal the truth even if they were beaten to death.
And if the institute had come to suspect him in the matter, they would have sent investigators to talk to him. But they hadn’t. Yun Hailan had come alone.
‘This Yun Hailan is full of craft and cunning. What scam is she trying to run on me now? Let’s see just how strong she actually is. If the right opportunity presents itself, I could….’ His eyes were already flashing with killing intent. If he did get an opportunity to make a move against her, he definitely wouldn’t show any mercy. He had once been in love with her, but now, he didn’t feel an ounce of pleasure when he heard her voice.
It was very telling that he heard her voice before seeing even a flicker of motion to reveal where she was. Her voice projection energy arts were clearly at a very high level. Apparently, she had been watching him, waiting until he emerged from seclusion to send a message.
Smiling coldly, Yang Qi replied, “What schemes and intrigues are you up to now, Yun Hailan?”
“Schemes and intrigues? I admit that I underestimated you before, Yang Qi. But I just want to talk. You were careless in something, are you aware of that?”
“What do you mean?” Although Yang Qi kept his voice even, his heart was starting to pound a bit. It seemed to him that Yun Hailan really did suspect that he was involved in the deaths of Song Haishan and Gu Fenxian. And if the truth got out, it would have severe ramifications. At the very best, he would likely be exiled from the Demi-Immortal Institute.
Considering how crafty he knew Yun Hailan to be, there was no way he would trust anything she said.
“What do I mean?” she said coolly. “Follow my voice to me. I want to talk with you in person.”
“I’m already getting tired of this charade. You deceived me back when we first met, but things are different now. Fine. Scheme away and let’s see what happens.”
With that, he flew high into the sky, piercing through the sea of clouds. Leaving the Demi-Immortal Institute, he eventually reached a wide-open plain of verdant grass.
There was even a little stream off to the side. When Yang Qi realized where he was, his heart skipped a beat; this was the exact location where he had killed Huang Hong, one of Jiang Fan’s lackeys.
Standing next to the stream was a beautiful, curvaceous young woman in blue, looking down at the silver fish dancing in the water.
At first sight, he recognized Yun Hailan.
As he landed next to the stream, his energy arts caused the water to stop flowing, and even froze the fish in place.
“Impressive,” she said, turning to look at him. She was stunning, like a goddess, with her long hair slowly fluttering in the breeze, and a fragrant aroma surrounding her that was intoxicating to say the least.
Yang Qi’s eyes narrowed as he tried to figure out what trap was about to be sprung. “Whatever you want to say, Yun Hailan, say it. You’re an elite student. I’m an elite student. You looked down on me in the past, but now, you have no hope of surpassing me.”
“I really did misjudge you, Yang Qi. How many times have you seized life so far?” She looked him up and down, her eyes sparkling. “I know that you didn’t achieve this with some airmastery plant. You acquired greater good fortune, didn’t you? There’s no other way you could have advanced so rapidly. You’ve helped Li He and your other friends to reach the Lifeseizing level, and I even heard that your father Yang Zhan broke through as well. And imagine my surprise when I caught wind of rumors you felled Blightking Skulkdevil from the House of Shadowblight with a single blow. You’re a Secondary Lifeseizer, aren’t you? Tell me the truth. What good fortune did you come across? How did you get so strong?”
“Why should I tell you?” Yang Qi replied with a chuckle. All of a sudden, he felt very pleased with how things were going. “Who are you to me? What makes you think you have the right to know my secrets?”
Yun Hailan shook her head. Softening her voice, she said, “Looks like you’re really holding on to that grudge, aren’t you? I can tell how much you hate me. Maybe too much for this to be resolved. Are you really sure there’s no way we can get past our misunderstandings?”
From the look of it, she really did want to make things right with him.
“The enmity between us cannot be resolved,” he said firmly. “Not until one of us is dead. I guess you could say that, to me, you’re already dead. Incidentally, it’s fairly obvious you don’t really want to ‘put the grudge behind us’. I’ve gotten stronger, so you want to use me. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to pull the wool over my eyes twice.”
“It’s your hatred of me that has fueled your efforts at retaliation, isn’t it? You were the one who killed Song Haishan. Am I right?” Although she spoke in a soft tone, her words struck him just as powerfully as a bolt of lightning.
“What do you want me to say? Yeah, I’m glad Song Haishan’s dead. And it’s too bad I couldn’t kill him with my own hands.” There was nothing untruthful about what Yang Qi had just said. After all, he hadn’t personally killed Song Haishan. “Whatever freakish hellion killed him sure did me a favor, I suppose.”
“That ‘freakish hellion’ was you, Yang Qi,” Yun Hailan said, her voice suddenly turning quite sharp. “You’re like an open book to me, you know. I understand you too deeply. You’re decisive, and once you choose to do something, you don’t hesitate. That’s exactly why you were willing to throw your clan away to steal that Latent Dragon Pill for me. Right? I’ve already investigated the matter thoroughly, and I know that Song Haishan, Huang Hong, and Gu Fenxian all died on this plain, and—”
“That’s sheer nonsense,” Yang Qi interrupted. “I honestly can’t believe you would stoop so low in your attempt to hurt me. Of course, I know that you’re a despicable villainess. I mean, I nearly died getting that Latent Dragon Pill for you, and even betrayed my clan in the process. Don’t you feel even the least bit guilty for all that? And now, having failed to manipulate me a second time, you want to frame me for a crime? Do you really think I wouldn’t kill you?”
“Don’t waste words trying to deny the truth,” Yun Hailan said, glaring at him. “I know exactly what happened. It started with Jiang Fan and his friends coming to talk with you, right?”
Face remaining completely expressionless, Yang Qi said. “So what if they did? And so what if they didn’t?”
He really was curious to see where Yun Hailan was taking all of this.
“Somehow, they convinced you to come out here. Then, for some strange reason, they decided to go out hunting monsters, and ended up falling into a trap. Meanwhile, you had returned to the institute, almost as if you were hiding. To me, it’s obvious what happened. You killed Huang Hong, Song Haishan, and Gu Fenxian, right here on this plain. Then, you somehow blackmailed Jiang Fan and the others into going out on a supposed hunt for wretch-devils, all as a pretense to explain how those three were killed. That’s what happened, isn’t it?”
The entire time, Yun Hailan stared deeply into Yang Qi’s eyes hoping to get more proof of her theory.
‘This woman is incredible! I can’t believe she figured out almost every detail! I knew all along that she was smart, but I never realized she’s this much of a genius.’ More than ever, Yang Qi felt his heart burning with the desire to kill her.
However, he held back. Obviously, the fact that she was stating these things so outright indicated that she wasn’t worried about him attacking her. In fact, maybe she was just waiting for him to try to kill her. Then she would spring her trap, and he would end up dead.
Keeping a firm grip on his killing intent, he said, “It’s a good thing you were never appointed to law enforcement duties in the institute, Yun Hailan. Considering how you casually make up baseless theories, slander innocent people, and make accusations without any evidence, it’s hard to say how many poor students would have been executed thanks to you. If the only reason you asked me out here today is to blabber this nonsense, then I think we’re done. Just wait until the martial arts competition, then we’ll see if you’re strong enough to justify running your mouth like this.”
Yun Hailan suddenly chuckled. “Calm down, Yang Qi. The reason I wanted to talk with you is to tell you that all of this coincides with my plans. I can tell from the look in your eyes that you did it. And honestly, I’m impressed. If you had been like this back when we first met, things would have turned out very differently. How about this: join me. If you do, I’ll make sure no word leaks about what you’ve done.”
Yang Qi immediately burst out into loud laughter.
“What are you laughing for?” Yun Hailan said, her expression turning cold.
“I’m laughing at the fact that you’re delusional. You think I’m going to start working for you? You think you can use some random bits of speculation as a threat? Even if the entire Rich-Lush Continent was destroyed, and all heaven and earth collapsed, I would never, ever do a single thing for you. The only thing I’m going to do is kill you! I’ll take every chance I can get to do it. And when you finally end up dying, there won’t be any need for an investigation. Everyone will know that it was me. If you have proof to back up your claims, go give it to the institute. Otherwise, leave me alone.”
At long last, Yun Hailan realized that Yang Qi’s hatred for her went deeper than the four seas, and that any efforts to control him would be futile. Not even exterminating his clan would do anything to stop him from coming after her.
All of a sudden, she felt a spark of fear in her heart. ‘His hatred for me is too intense. He’s definitely too dangerous to leave alive. And any thoughts of controlling him are infantile jokes. How could I have missed this before?’
“In that case, Yang Qi, don’t blame me for turning a blind eye to our past affections.” Without warning, Yun Hailan vanished, to be replaced by a conglomeration of vital energy and seawater, which then splashed down onto the grass. The only thing that remained behind were a few echoing words. “I’ll find the proof I need. And then you’ll be dead!”
Yang Qi looked down at the soaked ground, shocked that he hadn’t noticed that the Yun Hailan he had been speaking to wasn’t her true body. Obviously, she had been using some powerful magical item to form a seawater clone of sorts, something that not even a top expert like him could identify.