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The Dragon

The Dragon By Nov 06, 2023 11 Comments
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Previous: Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Open Battles and Hidden Agendas

After Gu Shuangqing left, Gu Fuyou sat in a daze on her bed for a while. Touching her bruised cheek, the burning pain had subsided, but her heart still ached sharply. With tears threatening to fall, she said stubbornly, “Why is it always me who has to give in first?”

Gu Fuyou crawled to the edge of the bed, took a storage bag hanging nearby, and pulled out a talisman. Holding her knees, she stared at the talisman for a long time, murmuring to herself, “I promised you I’d talk to him, but I messed it up. It’s so hard. If I were like you, things would be different. If you were me, you would definitely talk to him without fighting…”

She laughed lightly, tears streaming down. Wiping them away with the back of her hand, she choked up, “Senior Sister Zhong, I want to see you.”

She tightly gripped the talisman and began to call out, “Nan…”

She was about to call the person she missed so dearly but suddenly stopped herself. Zhong Michu, having just returned to Xuan Miao Sect, had her own matters to attend to. Summoning her might disrupt her affairs. Besides, they had agreed to only call each other in extreme circumstances. She had unintentionally summoned Zhong Michu once before, and while she might have overlooked it that first time, what if she did it again? Would she be angry?

Gu Fuyou put the talisman down, suppressing the urge to call. Yet, the more she tried to push away the thought of seeing her, the stronger the urge became.

“I can come see you. I can!” Gu Fuyou exclaimed, the idea becoming more solid. “I want to see you! I should be the one to come to you!”

It was a restless night, the weight of her troubles as heavy as the night itself. As dawn broke and the sun began to rise, a new day started. Despite the fresh start, there was no peace in the city lord’s mansion.

Early in the morning, rogue cultivators caused a commotion outside the city. Gu Shuangqing led some cultivators to subdue them. At the same time, envoys from the Xu Ling Sect visited, six in total. The leading one was the chief alchemist, Du Pan. He was received by Gu Wanpeng himself. The matter of a marriage proposal was discussed, with Du Pan being both soft and hard. But Gu Wanpeng wasn’t swayed.

While they were talking, a sudden loud noise came from outside. Du Pan set down his teacup and glanced sideways at Gu Wanpeng, who walked to the door and shouted, “What’s going on?”

Someone rushed in to report, “City Lord, there are rogue cultivators causing trouble within the mansion.”

A sly smile appeared on Du Pan’s thin face, “On our way here, we saw the young City Lord heading out, mentioning some disturbances outside the city. Did those troublemakers follow him in?”

Everyone went out to see flames in the east garden and disturbances at the main entrance. Gu Wanpeng’s eyes narrowed coldly. Someone had broken the defensive formation of the city lord’s mansion—a formation he had set up. Whoever managed to breach it must possess cultivation comparable to his.

The rogue cultivators causing the disturbance were three in total, with the most powerful among them having a cultivation level at the peak of the Golden Core Stage.

And there were two more hidden.

“No need to mind us, City Lord. It’s crucial to deal with those rogue cultivators first.” Du Pan smiled, “Do you need our assistance?”

Gu Wanpeng, hands behind his back, instructed his subordinates, “Attend to this matter immediately.”

The cultivators of the city showed strong skills and cooperation. Although the east garden was ruined, four rogue cultivators were subdued.

Gu Wanpeng and the members of Xu Ling Sect observed from a distance. Out of the corner of his eye, Gu Wanpeng gave Du Pan a cold look, while also sensing something amiss inside the mansion.

Du Pan remarked, “Your subordinates are quite skilled.”

With a somewhat forced smile, Gu Wanpeng replied, “They are in the city lord’s mansion after all. They’re nothing compared to the Xu Ling Sect.”

Du Pan no longer mentioned the matter of seeking a marriage alliance. After some polite chatter, he prepared to leave. Gu Wanpeng made a show of trying to persuade him to stay, but after Du Pan politely declined, he departed with the other five from Xu Ling Sect.

As they were exiting, they ran into Gu Shuangqing. Du Pan greeted, “Young City Lord.”

Gu Shuangqing responded with a gesture of respect, “Elder Du is leaving now?”

“Yes.” Du Pan slightly bowed and passed by Gu Shuangqing. Gu Shuangqing looked back at him leaving, then at the five people following behind him, feeling an indescribable strangeness.

Gu Shuangqing headed towards the guest hall. Seeing the damage at the front door and the eastern courtyard, he inquired of his subordinates and learned that a rogue cultivator had broken into the residence. As he approached the guest hall, Gu Wanpeng stood at the entrance, his head raised and eyes closed. Suddenly, he opened his eyes and in a flash, moved to the western garden, where a cloud of black mist was seen receding in the distance.

Gu Wanpeng shouted, “Where do you think you’re going?”

With both hands pointing forward, a light, like electricity, shot directly into the center of the black mist. Suddenly, the sky darkened, and the clouds transformed into a massive hand pressing down towards Gu Wanpeng. Gu Wanpeng commanded his spiritual sword, splitting it into thousands of images, forming a dragon-like figure that bit at the descending cloud layer.

The two forces clashed, shaking the heavens and earth. The cloud layer tore open, revealing a hole in the sky, with a stream of light pouring through. The black mist used this momentary delay to escape further. Gu Wanpeng couldn’t catch up anymore. He recalled his spiritual sword, staring thoughtfully at the blood on it.

Gu Shuangqing and the subordinates had rushed over, asking, “Father, are you alright?” From that brief encounter, it was evident that the intruder had a cultivation level comparable to Gu Wanpeng’s, which surprised him.

Gu Wanpeng looked towards the nearby courtyard, his expression grim. Gu Shuangqing also looked towards the courtyard wall, frowning, “They were targeting Ah Man.” That courtyard was where Gu Fuyou stayed.

Gu Wanpeng pushed the courtyard door open and entered, “That person used a searching technique earlier. I fear he was looking for her. I only noticed him when I sensed his spiritual energy.”

Turning around, he inquired, “Ren’er, has there been any disturbance in the city’s defense formation?”

Gu Shuangqing understood what Gu Wanpeng meant. He said gravely, “Father, the city’s defense formation hasn’t been damaged. Apart from the six people from Xu Ling Sect, no one else with such a strong cultivation level has entered the city recently.”

Several subordinates expressed their confusion, “Did this person appear out of thin air? Even a cultivator in the Hallow Void stage can’t bypass the defensive formation and enter directly.”

Gu Wanpeng nodded, “Exactly.”

Everyone was puzzled. Gu Shuangqing asked, “Do you have a clue, Father?”

Gu Wanpeng chuckled with a hint of sarcasm, “Ren’er, you might not know, but Du Pan has a unique skill. The puppets he crafts can deceive the eyes, and his puppetry technique is exceptionally refined.”

Understanding dawned on Gu Shuangqing, and he finally realized what was strange about the five people following Du Pan. Those five wore bamboo hats, but members of Xu Ling Sect typically dress in splendid robes and jade crowns: “Father, are you suggesting that person silently entered Xiaoyao City because he walked in openly? They’re from Xu Ling Sect!”

There’s no need to break the city’s defenses; the Xu Ling Sect entered Xiaoyao City openly and honorably. All six of them entered the city, and then secretly replaced the real persons with puppets. Du Pan visited the city lord’s mansion with the puppets, allowing the real people to remain hidden, ready to act. When the time is right, they would use diversions to draw attention, while the others stealthily carried out their real mission.

Looking at it this way, the bamboo hats were used to cover the dull expressions of the puppets.

“The people from Xu Ling Sect are cunning and treacherous. On the surface, they seem very friendly, but secretly they use such means. They really give me the chills,” the subordinates commented. “City Lord, since you already had suspicions, why didn’t you expose them and let them create chaos?”

Gu Wanpeng responded, “If I don’t allow them to make some mistakes, how can I lure the enemy deeper and expose their true intentions?”

Gu Wanpeng entered Gu Fuyou’s room, with his subordinates lingering in the courtyard and Gu Shuangqing standing near the door. Upon glancing around, he noticed that nothing in the room had been disturbed. It was clear they had come looking for someone, and upon finding the person absent, they had fled.

Gu Wanpeng noticed the messy quilt on Gu Fuyou’s bed, which had fallen to the ground. He snorted and muttered, “What a mess.” He walked over and folded the quilt.

Outside, Gu Shuangqing chuckled, but then his expression became serious. “Father, they first mentioned a marriage proposal. But now, they’re orchestrating this elaborate plan and even involving a Hallow Void stage cultivator. And all this done in secret? The Zuo family wouldn’t go to these extremes just over Zuo Tianyi’s death. It’s just not like them.”

Gu Wanpeng stated, “They are determined to have this girl.”

Gu Shuangqing replied, “The story that Zuo Tianlang likes Ah Man is for outsiders. Outsiders might believe it, but to us, it’s a complete lie. They want to hide the real reason they desire Ah Man.” he laughed and sighed, “Ah Man secretly returned to Xuan Miao Sect last night, making them miss their target. I don’t know if we should praise her or scold her.”

Gu Wanpeng said after a moment of silence, “Ren’er, arrange for the interrogation of the other three captives. See if they can reveal anything.”

“Yes,” Gu Shuangqing acknowledged. As he was turning to leave, he caught a glimpse of Gu Wanpeng, who seemed tired, as he sat down by a table without any intention of leaving soon. Gu Shuangqing sighed internally and led the subordinates out.

After leaving Xiaoyao City, Du Pan and his party went straight to Cong Mountain, a few dozens of miles away. Standing on a cliff, they could still see the city in the distance.

He stood at the edge of the cliff with the other five behind him, motionless. After a short while, a dark cloud flew towards them from the direction of Xiaoyao City, followed by a streak of green light. They landed on the cliff, materializing into two figures.

Du Pan greeted, “Elder One, Elder Six.”

Both individuals appeared unremarkable at first glance. However, with a flick of their sleeves, they each held a wooden mask in their hands. As they put them on, their faces transformed, exuding an aura of ethereal beauty.

Elder Six stated, “Gu Fuyou isn’t within the City Lord’s Mansion, and there’s no trace of her within the city.”

Upon seeing a red mark on the Chief Elder’s arm, Du Pan inquired about it. The Chief Elder replied, “Gu Wanpeng is cautious. He noticed our presence. I fear we’ve aroused his suspicions this time.”

Du Pan waved his hand, and the five figures standing behind him shrank into palm-sized wooden puppets, returning to his grasp. He remarked, “I think he’s figured out some clues from these. We’ve wasted a trip, and it’ll only make him more cautious in the future.” Du Pan smiled grimly, “Being gentle is not Xu Ling Sect’s style.”

Elder One concluded, “Let’s return and inform the Protector.”

The two nodded in agreement. The three of them returned to Xu Ling Sect, soon reaching the Thirty-Three Skies, and went directly to the Zhuling Platform in Lihen Tian. Both Law Protectors, Zuo Yuezhi and Zuo Qingfeng, were present. They stood on the last step, one on the left and one on the right. After listening to the three’s report, Zuo Qingfeng, with his arms crossed, said, “Elder brother, Gu Wanpeng is cunning and always on alert. We can’t get to Gu Fuyou without confronting him. With him around, there’s no way to proceed unnoticed. We have to be ready to use force.”

Zuo Yuezhi stroked his beard, deeply concerned, “Indeed, the situation has greatly changed. If the Dragon Clan is also after the Qilin marrow, this matter becomes gravely serious. We cannot delay any further. We have to strike first.”

A few days ago, when Zuo Tianlang returned, he casually mentioned his encounter with Gu Fuyou in the canyon race. Zuo Tianlang said that there was a long creature beside Gu Fuyou, which rode on clouds and mist. A single roar made hundreds of beasts submit. Zuo Yuezhi was somewhat alarmed, thinking from Zuo Tianlang’s description that it sounded like a dragon. He hoped it was just a long worm, but upon asking the guards beside Zuo Tianlang, they confirmed that it was indeed a divine Dragon.

Du Pan, with his skinny head, swayed slightly, “Law Protector, the young master said that the beast doesn’t have dragon horns and is just a long worm. I also have some doubts. Dragons rarely leave their territory. How did Gu Fuyou get involved with them? Divine Dragons are proud and domineering. If the Dragon Clan really came for the Qilin marrow, they should have directly captured her and taken her to Penglai Palace. Why would they deign to carry her and play with her?”

Zuo Yuezhi remarked, “Dragons have a keen sense of smell and are adept at treasure hunting. They might have noticed Gu Fuyou’s anomaly before others, hence the contact. As to why they would be willing to carry her, it’s puzzling. But whether or not it is a dragon, we’d rather believe it exists than not.”

Zuo Qingfeng added, “Elder Brother, from the beginning, we shouldn’t have hesitated. We should have taken decisive action and kidnapped Gu Fuyou! It’s not too late to act now!”

Zuo Yuezhi hesitated. The Chief Elder stepped out and said, “Law Protector, I have something to say.”

Zuo Yuezhi urged, “Please speak, Elder.”

The Chief Elder warned, “The Dragon Clan is not of our kind, and their intentions will differ from ours. If they obtain this treasure, it will be like a tiger growing sharper claws. Its immense power could restore the Dragon Clan to their peak strength from tens of thousands of years ago. By then, even if all four continents join forces, they won’t be able to resist. If the Dragon Clan is ambitious, our tens of thousands of years of effort will be destroyed overnight. The four continents will again be ruled by the Dragon and Azure Phoenix Clans, and humans will once again become subservient slaves.”

He emphasized, “Law Protector, if it comes to the worst, even if Xu Ling Sect cannot monopolize the Qilin marrow, even if we have to share it equally with the other three continents, we must not let it fall into the hands of the Dragon Clan and Azure Phoenix Clan!” The Grand Elder’s final words were powerful, addressing Zuo Yuezhi’s concerns.

Zuo Yue Zhi’s expression turned serious, his gaze firm, “What the elder said is very true.” He waved his hand and shouted, “Summon the cultivators to return to the sect! Send out spies to trace Gu Fuyou’s whereabouts and keep an eye on both Xiaoyao City and the Dragon Clan’s movements!”

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Previous: Chapter 43

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Anon
Anon
8 months ago

It’s p cute that Wanpeng went to fold the quilt his daughter left on the ground

Shakthivel
Shakthivel
8 months ago

Thanks for the chapter

HONEYBEE
HONEYBEE
8 months ago

“there was a long creature”
Maybe you meant “dragon-like creature”? I know Long is Dragon is Chinese and it makes more sense that a “long creature”

Alex POTUS
Alex POTUS
8 months ago

Hey, Xu Ling Sect. I don’t trust you bastards at all. I prefer the rule of Dragon than your ruling.
I am willing to be dominated by our talented, powerful, and beautiful lady dragon 😍😈

Khriss
Khriss
6 months ago

Owo MC’s life just got very complicated. How fun! Good story! Thank for the chappies and translation!!!!

MatrixM
MatrixM
3 months ago

Ohhhh that’s what the smell is!

rie
rie
3 months ago

i despise xu ling sect so baddd

Kat
Kat
2 months ago

Ugh this slow burn is such a torture. It’s so hard to read that the enemies are scheming in the dark while our mc and her family is clueless AF! And the way they talk about fu you like she isn’t a person but an object. :/

Last edited 2 months ago by Kat
Quiet Reader
Quiet Reader
1 month ago

Honestly, I hate both Xu Ling Sect AND the MC’s father. The fact he’s willing to put his own DAUGHTER in danger is already a red flag for me personally. I understand his line of thinking but like, despite KNOWING what they were planning, he still decided to go through with it. Shitty father but great leader I suppose. TBH, I don’t think he even deserves a redemption arc, he AND Xu Ling Sect can die in hell. May you not have peace, you scums of the earth.

Hatimo
Hatimo
28 days ago

I hope Zmc will realize gfy identity soon