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The Dragon

The Dragon By Nov 26, 2023 4 Comments
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Previous: Chapter 79

Chapter 80

Gu Fuyou propped her arm to support her cheek, shifting her feet, drawing Zhong Michu’s attention. She asked her, “What do you think?”

Zhong Michu replied indifferently, “It should be as the master wishes.”

Gu Fuyou smiled, “It doesn’t matter whose instruction it is, as long as the spirit beast is given to me.”

Zuo Shaode noticed her casual approach in asking a slave for their opinion on such a matter, unsure if she was cleverly pretending not to care to gain the upper hand in negotiations, or if she genuinely missed the point of his words. He was inclined to believe it was a calculated move on her part.

Thus, he set aside this topic and changed the subject, “It seems the elder doesn’t favor my grandnephew.”

Mentioning Zuo Tianlang soured Gu Fuyou’s expression, and she mocked, “Does City Lord Zuo himself like your grandnephew?”

Zuo Shaode, sidestepping the question, inquired, “Where did Tianlang offend the elder? He mentioned yesterday he had never met you, suggesting he must have wronged you before your seclusion.”

Gu Fuyou’s expression hardened. Zuo Shaode was very astute. Since she had missed meeting Zuo Tianlang in the Thirty-Three Skies, and given that he was a man who appreciated beauty and would likely remember her face if they had met during her travels, he guessed that she had met him before her seclusion.

She assumed most of her movements had been thoroughly investigated by the Zuo family. If she lied, claiming she hid her identity during her travels and was offended by Zuo Tianlang, Zuo Shaode would immediately verify this, potentially exposing her lies.

She half-truthfully said, “Seven hundred years ago, in Xian Luo, your grandnephew caused quite a stir.”

Zuo Shaode had indeed heard of the uproar Zuo Tianlang caused in Xian Luo seven hundred years ago, notably capturing an entire Dizang beast. So, it was then.

Zuo Shaode’s eyes brightened, slightly pleased, “So the elder has been in quiet cultivation in Xian Luo all these years.” That meant Qingluan and her clan had been out of touch for at least seven hundred years. Coupled with recent information that Jiu Yao was also searching for this Qingluan, it further proved that she was not a pawn of the Azure Phoenix Clan in Nanzhou’s chess game. Zuo Shaode became more convinced of her ambition to reclaim the clan leader’s position.

Gu Fuyou tacitly agreed. Zuo Shaode then said, “The elder dislikes Tianlang, yet seems to get along well with his father, Yuezhi.”

Gu Fuyou, seeing him circling back, laughed, “Zuo Tianlang disgusts me, but his father is barely tolerable. It’s not exactly a great relationship. He just offered me a toast and some spirit treasures as a token of gratitude for saving his great-granddaughter, similar to what you did, City Lord Zuo.”

“But it’s not the same?” Zuo Shaode pressed.

Gu Fuyou, surprised, queried, “Oh? How so?”

Zuo Shaode glanced at Zhong Michu with a smile. Gu Fuyou tapped Zhong Michu’s thigh with her bare toe, signaling her to leave. Zhong Michu withdrew, bowing slightly to both before exiting.

Zuo Shaode then said, “The tokens of gratitude I can offer are different.”

Gu Fuyou chuckled inwardly, sensing the bait was taken. Not wanting to play dumb any longer, she directly asked, “I would like to hear how the offers from you and Zuo Yuezhi differ.”

Zuo Shaode, with a proud smile, chuckled, “When he hosts you, you sit below him. When I host, you’ll sit at an equal position. The spirit treasures he offered were mostly from the tributes of Wantong City. The treasures I could offer are more impressive.”

Gu Fuyou internally amused, noted Zuo Shaode’s detailed knowledge of the affairs in the Thirty-Three Skies, likely due to his many spies: “It sounds more tempting. Unfortunately, one cannot have both the fish and the bear’s paw…” She pondered deliberately, with meaningful intent: “While tempting, but Zuo Yuezhi is the Sect Leader, and you’re a City Lord. There are some things you might not be able to offer.” She made their conversation explicit, bringing their potential deal into the open.

Zuo Shaode smiled and said, “If the elder is willing, those tokens of gratitude can also be presented as gifts from the Sect Leader.”

Gu Fuyou stood up and said, “This would unnecessarily put me at many risks. There’s a shortcut to the Ruizhu Palace in Zhongzhou; why should I take the longer route?”

Seeing that she finally expressed interest in the position of the Azure Phoenix Clan’s leader, Zuo Shaode stopped speaking in riddles. “To deal with external threats, one must first secure internal stability. If Zuo Yuezhi wishes to help the elder attain the position of Clan Leader, it’s essential to have peace in Nanzhou and a firm hold on the Sect Leader’s position, which currently seems impossible. This is the first point; for the elder to aim for the Clan Leader’s position, Zuo Yuezhi must dissolve the alliance between the Azure Phoenix and the Dragon Clan, which is an unequal trade. Zuo Yuezhi is not one to suffer losses.”

By using Nanzhou’s power to reclaim your honorable position, there will inevitably be dissent within your clan, requiring the same power to suppress it. Over time, Zuo Yuezhi’s influence will seep into Zhongzhou. While the alliance benefits both parties, but once it dissolves, it becomes a hindrance. What seems like a detour may well be a shortcut.

Gu Fuyou replied, “I’ve seen the truth of the first point, but if I choose you, City Lord, turning a city lord into a Sect Leader is also currently impossible.”

Zuo Shaode said, “Wantong City is a golden city, richer in resources than those controlled by Zuo Yuezhi. My cultivation level and seniority also surpass his. What I lack is just a legitimate claim. It will take him longer to stabilize his position than it would take me to claim the Sect Leader title.”

Gu Fuyou laughed, “You’re sharing this with an outsider like me, aren’t you afraid I have ulterior motives?”

Zuo Shaode replied, “To achieve great success, one must take risks.” He wasn’t recklessly revealing everything. He could see she had a purpose, and he believed that everything in this world is driven by fame or profit. She was after the Clan Leader position, making a transaction possible; he also noticed her hatred for Zuo Tianlang, pushing her from Zuo Yuezhi’s side to his. He had thoroughly investigated and tested her, and Zuo Tianlang’s arrival was a catalyst, prompting him to show his hand.

Gu Fuyou nodded, “True. As for the second point, my situation would be no different if I were to deal with you.”

Zuo Shaode shook his head, raised a palm, and pressed down two fingers. “It is different. If I help you regain the Clan Leader’s position, I will give you 30% of the high-level slaves from Bailu City. Those slaves, recognizing you as their master, could never betray you, ensuring you need not worry about Nanzhou meddling in Zhongzhou affairs again. I know Zuo Yuezhi; he wouldn’t do this.”

Gu Fuyou scoffed, “Empty promises. Bailu City isn’t even yours yet.”

Zuo Shaode replied, “With the elder’s help, it will be mine soon enough.” Their conversation was now completely open.

Gu Fuyou asked, “How can I help?”

Zuo Shaode inquired, “Does the elder agree?”

Gu Fuyou stated, “Fifty percent.”

Zuo Shaode was momentarily taken aback, realizing she was bargaining for half of the slaves, and he chuckled, “The elder’s appetite is rather large.”

Gu Fuyou declared, “I don’t like to haggle. Will you agree or not, Lord Zuo?”

After a moment of thought, Zuo Shaode conceded, “Alright.”

With the deal struck, they exchanged smiles, their expressions matching but their thoughts vastly different. Qingluan was a pebble thrown into the lake of Nanzhou, stirring ripples that would eventually become waves. Zuo Shaode was well aware of the risk and benefits. A single misstep could capsize his boat, leaving him with nothing, but smooth sailing could lead to great success and fame. Ambitious, he was not afraid of risks, trusting in his ability to seize the opportunity.

After Zuo Shaode and she had agreed on the details of his departure, Zhong Michu returned. Seeing Gu Fuyou lying on the couch, he asked, “How did your conversation go?”

Gu Fuyou, gazing at the blue sky and white clouds, said, “The Zuo family believes everyone in this world chases fame and fortune, unmoved only when the stakes are not high enough. Who knew one day they’d provoke a vengeful spirit from hell, seeking nothing but to disturb the Zuo family’s peace.” She then started laughing foolishly.

That night, a blue shadow quietly left the City Lord’s mansion and headed straight for the teleportation formation of Wantong City. There were guards outside the formation, but they were suddenly blinded by a gust of wind. Gu Fuyou had already bypassed the guards and gently landed on the teleportation platform. She inserted her sword, Yinhen, into the formation; its blade shimmered with a ghostly blue pattern. The formation’s light wavered, now unpredictable. She had secretly tampered with the teleportation formations in the southeast, southwest, northeast, and northwest cities.

Even the cultivators guarding the city at night, who were not low in cultivation, eventually noticed her. One of them shouted, “Who’s there?”

A strike was aimed at the blue shadow, but the figure dispersed into a talisman that slowly floated down from the sky.

The next day at dawn, Gu Fuyou planned to leave for Bailu City. Zuo Shaode had his people in Bailu City and knew that Zuo Qingfeng was in seclusion and Du Pan was in the Wanyao Pavilion.

Currently, Zuo Yuanrong was the only one in charge of Bailu City. Zuo Shaode knew his brother’s character well, understanding both how to win him over and how to deal with him.

Now was a perfect opportunity, and time was of the essence. Zuo Shaode had requested Gu Fuyou to set off for Bailu City immediately, as they had already planned and discussed how to take down the city the previous day.

On the matter of timing their visit to Bailu City, Gu Fuyou sensed her thoughts aligned closely with Zuo Shaode’s.

As she left the city, Zuo Shaode personally saw her off. Gu Fuyou hadn’t seen Zuo Tianlang and thought that Zuo Shaode wouldn’t let go of such a valuable hostage. She wondered if he had already imprisoned him.

After bidding farewell to Zuo Shaode, her group, including Gu Fuyou and Zhong Michu, journeyed towards Bailu City, traveling by wind. Accompanying them was the spirit beast released by Zuo Shaode, which had taken a liking to Gu Fuyou and was notably docile, except towards the Zuo family. Scholar Zhai had named the monkey “Yuan Shan,” a name it responded to eagerly. Serving as a mount, it carried Scholar Zhai in its palm, following behind Gu Fuyou and Zhong Michu.

As they prepared to leave, Zhong Michu suddenly turned back, looking towards the city where Zuo Shaode and his group had already departed. Gu Fuyou, mistaking her gaze as directed at Zuo Shaode’s party, couldn’t see Zhong Michu’s expression due to her mask but noticed a frown and distant stare.

“What’s wrong?” Gu Fuyou asked.

After a while, Zhong Michu sighed helplessly and said, “Let’s go.”

Confused, Gu Fuyou looked in the direction Zhong Michu had been staring at, only to see a few figures flashing by. A look of surprise crossed her face, followed by a light smile. She didn’t bother to investigate further and left with Zhong Michu on the wind.

Bailu City was close to Wantong City, just a half-day’s ride on the wind. They landed outside Bailu City.

Outside Bailu City was a red maple forest. They hadn’t walked far along the forest path when they heard pleading cries. The further they went, the louder the cries became, echoing with deep sorrow. Looking into the forest, Gu Fuyou saw a woman kneeling before someone, her hand resting on her swollen belly, the other grasping the hem of a cultivator’s robe. Her eyes brimmed with tears as she begged, her voice filled with humble desperation.

Gu Fuyou stopped and tilted her head, asking the person beside her, “What’s happening here?”

The cultivator accompanying her, sent by Zuo Shaode to assist but also to watch her, replied, “That’s a slave from Bailu City…”

She glanced at the woman, noticing her slightly protruding belly, and guessed she was pregnant, probably from a forbidden liaison with another slave. Bailu City strictly manages its slaves. Relationships between slaves must be approved by their masters; otherwise, they’re punished. Some just have the fetus removed, while others were killed along with the child. This part of the maple forest was ominously known as “Sancong Forest.”

Gu Fuyou spoke coldly, “So this is Sancong Forest? I’ve long heard of its infamous reputation.”

The so-called Sancong refers to the three masters that the slaves of Bailu City are subjected to before they leave the city. The first is their slave master, the second is the master of Bailu City, and the third is the Sect Leader of the Xu Ling Sect.

It’s said that the maple leaves in Sancong Forest are blood-red throughout the year, perpetually in bloom. This is because they are stained with the blood of countless slaves. All slaves sentenced to death are brought here for execution.

Gu Fuyou heard a woman’s fragmented plea, “I beg you… please… just spare this child…”

In this world, slaves are not considered human.

Gu Fuyou, expressionless, turns away to continue towards Bailu City, saying, “Let’s go.”

The group moved on. Zhong Michu stood still, looking at the woman who was kneeling, deeply bent over to protect her belly, as the wind rustled through the maple forest.

Zhong Michu walks up to Gu Fuyou and boldly creates a barrier to block others from seeing or hearing them. She whispers, “Aren’t you going to save her?”

Gu Fuyou replies, “She’s an insignificant person. Zuo Shaode’s people are still here. What’s the point of saving her? It will only cause unnecessary complications.”

Zhong Michu asks, “Is it that you can’t save her, or you don’t want to?”

Gu Fuyou’s face darkens as she responds, “Does it make a difference?”

Zhong Michu was silent for a moment, then sighed without a sound. She regretted her words, knowing it was inappropriate to ask, yet she couldn’t help it.

Zhong Michu felt both emotional and regretful. The Gu Fuyou of the past hated injustice, whether it was standing up to elders for Yinxue Pavilion, wanting to support Xiao Zhongting and Xiao Yuan, or killing Zuo Tianyi for Ah Meng. She used to be such a passionate person. After going through so much, has she become more composed, or has her heart grown colder?

Zhong Michu stretched out her hand, and a wisp of fine white mist floated from her palm, quietly flying towards the back of the group, disappearing into the unknown.

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Nabong_uwu
7 months ago

T^T Gu Fuyou is so broken, we can’t blame them, but I feel such heartache for her youth aspirations

dadin
dadin
7 months ago

so yheir daughter still follows them with people from the dragon clan ?

Khriss
Khriss
6 months ago

The old Fuyou is dead ;-; long live the kingggg

Hatimo
Hatimo
26 days ago

Fuyou is resolute in her revenge, michu will see this slowly how much Fuyou can do for her revenge