Phoenix's Requiem - Chapter 220: Changing Colleges
“Master and Miss Yun also know about this affair,” Li Mo responded.
“Miss Yun? Why would she know about this?”
“She was the one who found the demonic dragon grave while chasing down a beast, and then Qiuqiu revealed it to her.”
Li Mo had once told his mother that Qiuqiu had formed a pact with Yun Ruoyan.
“They must keep this a secret!” Empress Xue Tong emphasized. She was once the holy maiden of the silver dragon clan, but her consort’s death had left her relationship with the silver dragon clan embittered and utterly ruined. She wanted to seek revenge on the clan, but that didn’t seem possible at the moment.
Originally, she had planned on biding her time until she amassed enough strength to be able to challenge them, but Li Mo’s news was a ray of hope. Even when dead, dragons could revive as long as their draconic souls were still present. The demonic dragon clan had always been hostile to the silver dragon clan. If they were indeed to revive, they would surely end up at war with the silver dragons. If they were to form an alliance with the beastkin, then surely her revenge would be possible!
Li Mo immediately understood his mother’s thoughts. “Yan’er won’t reveal the matter, but Master has always thought the demonic dragon clan an evil existence. After the term begins, he’s planning on calling a meeting of the elders to deal with the problem.”
“No, that can’t happen! If the silver dragon clan were to find out about the matter, the grave would be wiped off the continent. You have to find some way to make your master keep this secret!”
The discovery of a demonic dragon grave was a severe affair indeed, and to make the first elder keep this momentous discovery a secret would require an unrejectable reason. The first elder didn’t know about the existence of Empress Xue Tong’s spirit, and it would be very difficult to convince him to keep the grave a secret without also divulging her presence.
Li Mo’s face turned troubled, but he still nodded.
“No, this won’t do. For as important a matter as this, we can’t have even the smallest possibility of failure. I think it’s time to make my existence known to your master.”
Li Mo looked at his mother in shock. Her white-jadejade-white face was utterly expressionless, as was her voice. Li Mo couldn’t help thinking back to a memory from when he was ten. He had gone hunting, but was badly injured by a rampaging beast midway. Just as he thought he would die, a black-robed man suddenly saved him. That man was none other than the general of the beastkin kingdom, Su Nan.
After Li Mo woke up, he found himself in this underground cavern, and his mother had stood in front of him with the exact same expression.
“Mother, do you really want to meet my master?”
All these years, Empress Xue Tong had insisted that her existence remain hidden from the first elder, but she had suddenly changed her mind. Li Mo couldn’t help but feel surprised.
“The reason I hid it from your master was because I suspected he was the one who betrayed your father to the silver dragon elders!” But in this last decade, I haven’t discovered anything amiss about him. Given how much effort he’s put in to help you, I now believe his innocence.”
Empress Xue Tong’s icy voice let out what seemed faintly like a sigh. “After all these years, I think I should meet him in person.”
“Alright, I’ll inform Master.”
“No, there’s no need. I’ll have a guard inform him. The discovery of a demonic dragon grave, the resurgence of the demonic dragon bloodline… only those with such a bloodline would be able to revive the demonic dragons. You have to find the person who possesses such a bloodline, then help her revive the demonic dragon clan.”
Li Mo nodded and was just about to leave when Empress Xue Tong called him back.
“Is that Miss Yun the human furnace you brought up once?”
“Do you like her very much?”
“Mother, why do you ask?”
“A mother knows her children best. Except for when you brought her up as a human furnace, you’ve never discussed her in front of me. However, as far as I’m aware, she always appears by your side, and you’re always trying to protect her.”
The empress stared pointedly at her son.
“Mother, you’re overthinking things,” Li Mo replied coolly. “Her constitution is very important for my cultivation, and whether or not I’ll be able to become a sword saint might rely on her.”
“Xun Mo!” Empress Xue Tong suddenly called out, her tone severe and more icy than before.
“Yes, Mother.” Li Mo bowed, his face solemn and respectful.
“Do you remember what I always tell you?”
“Not to get emotional, and not to find a partner before I can avenge my father.” Li Mo stilled and hesitated for a moment. “Mother, I’ve always kept your words in mind. Before I avenge my father, I won’t prioritize anything else.”
Only then did Empress Xue Tong seem to relent, sighing. “Matters of love and romance are always the most taxing, and I don’t wish you to be distracted at this crucial juncture. Alright, you may leave.”
Li Mo bowed and turned away. As he reached the stone doors, he couldn’t help turning back to look at her statue again—the warm, gentle woman of his memories was now only a spirit in an icy statue.
“The empress’s personality has changed dramatically over the last decade, but her affection for you has never been in doubt, Your Highness,” Su Nan said, walking next to him. “Please, don’t take her chiding to heart.”
Empress Xue Tong was as strict and severe with everyone else as she was with her son. Trapped though she was in her icy prison, she commanded with an iron fist.
“Zhuo Yifeng has entered the southern college, and Zhuo Lin’er’s studying medicine under Lin Zainan. Both siblings are doing well.” Li Mo changed the topic coolly. Although Su Nan hadn’t brought up his children at all, Li Mo knew how much he cared for them.
A smile lightened up Su Nan’s stern face. “My thanks, Your Highness.”
Li Mo nodded almost imperceptibly before leaving on his sword.
The next day, as Yun Ruoyan cultivated in her cottage, she could hear a number of footsteps approaching her room. Judging from the frequency of the footfalls, there were likely multiple people.
She opened her eyes and got off her bed. As soon as she opened the door, Lin Qingchen and Lin Qingxue appeared in front of her.
“When did the two of you arrive?” Yun Ruoyan looked at her two cousins in excitement.
“We just did. Sister Ruoyan, are you alright?” Lin Qingxue tugged on Yun Ruoyan’s hand as she inspected it for injuries. “I heard you were hurt by Whitey. Have you recovered fully?”
Lin Qingxue hadn’t been present when Yun Ruoyan had been possessed by demonic energy, and she had only heard about the matter afterwards from Zhuo Lin’er. Zhuo Lin’er’s cultivation was too low to fully understand what was going on, and she had thought that Whitey had injured Yun Ruoyan.
Lin Qingchen also walked up and began tugging on Yun Ruoyan’s other sleeve. “Sister Ruoyan, that day… what happened that day?”
Lin Qingchen had seen Yun Ruoyan’s eyes turn red, resembling the eyes that had appeared in her mind whenever she used the ring. When she thought back to the scene, her back turned cold.
Yun Ruoyan didn’t intend on revealing the secret behind the demonic dragon grave to her two cousins, and all she did was sigh. “I overestimated my own capabilities in trying to use the snake ring to control Whitey, and ended up being possessed by demonic energy. However, I’m alright now—Li Mo has already helped me cleanse the energy from my body.”
Yun Ruoyan pulled her two cousins into her cottage, but Zhuo Yifeng stood outside.
“Zhuo Yifeng, aren’t you going to come in?” Yun Ruoyan called out.
Because of his previous roles as servant and guard, he had gotten into the habit of not entering others’ bedrooms. When he heard Yun Ruoyan call out to him, he hesitated.
“Brother Zhuo, come on in!” Lin Qingxue let go of Yun Ruoyan’s wrist and turned back to pull Zhuo Yifeng inside. “Brother Zhuo, look at the scenery over here! It’s amazing, isn’t it? Especially the sea of clouds…” Lin Qingxue showed Zhuo Yifeng around the small cottage, not missing even the small window in the washroom.
“What happened to Whitey?” Yun Ruoyan asked Lin Qingchen.
“It was really weird—once the Slaughtering King took you away, Whitey returned to normal.”
This made Yun Ruoyan much more confident that Whitey’s strange behavior was a result of demonic possession.
Lin Qingchen’s gaze landed on Yun Ruoyan’s hand. “Sister Ruoyan, where’s the snake ring?”
“It was destroyed as Li Mo tried to dispel the demonic energy from my body…”
“I have something I’d like to say to you.” Zhuo Yifeng suddenly spoke up.
“Brother Zhuo, what’s the matter?” Lin Qingxue asked curiously.
Yun Ruoyan and Lin Qingchen also looked toward Zhuo Yifeng.
Zhuo Yifeng’s gaze shifted from Lin Qingxue and Lin Qingchen to Yun Ruoyan. “I’ve decided to leave the southern college and enter the central college instead.”
“What?” the Lin siblings exclaimed as one.
“Brother Zhuo, the central college is well-known to be full of useless students. What would you do there?”
“That’s right, Brother Zhuo! We entered Kongming Academy in order to train and improve as cultivators, so don’t make a rash decision!”
Yun Ruoyan wasn’t as surprised as her cousins: after all, Zhuo Yifeng had pledged revenge on Li Mo, and he surely wouldn’t stay after knowing that Li Mo was the head instructor of the southern college.
Yun Ruoyan thought for a moment, then spoke up. “Li Mo’s not the only instructor in this college, and even if you still want to get revenge on him, you need to learn how to best do so, don’t you? Given Li Mo’s personality, he won’t make life hard on you.”
“I’m not worried that he’ll make life hard on me. Given his power and status, what reason does he have to care about as weak a new student as I am? But I harbor such a deep grudge against Li Mo that it’s very likely only one of us will survive in the future, and I don’t want to be known as someone who would dare to raise arms against my teacher. I’ve already made up my mind, so please don’t try to persuade me.”
“In that case… in that case, I’ll switch colleges with you!” Lin Qingxue blurted out.
“What?!” Lin Qingchen pulled her back in shock.
“I… I…” Lin Qingxue looked at Lin Qingchen and Yun Ruoyan, realizing that she wouldn’t be able to see them much anymore if she followed through with her plan. “I…”