Chapter 222: Trouble, trouble, trouble (3)

Before anyone could react, they had been completely encircled by a platoon of troops.

The soldiers leapt from the dark alleyways branching from various increments of the street, some even bursting out from nearby storehouses to intercept the group’s location.

The forty soldiers angled their weapons towards the heart, the halberd clasped within their hands menacing and gleaming with an obvious desire for blood.

As she blinked, An Fei’s countenance couldn’t help but blanch at the appearance of the platoon that had forced them to a standstill.

Black steel armor that covered the entire body save for an obtuse pair of lips, a longsword sheathed at their waist.

A spiked mace rested at their back, each movement inciting an ear-splitting clatter of metal on metal.

If that wasn’t enough information to cause the young girl to grimace in disgust, the apparent leader of the platoon sported a massive flag that hung behind him, swinging in its full glory despite the lack of a midnight breeze.

A plain flag of scarlet fabric and without any embellishment or decorations, but a single name.

Du.

“Du again…”

Shen Haoren groaned as he palmed his back, biting on his lips as he glanced around towards the sides of the street.

The middle-aged man hummed as he pushed his wife and children to a safer location – sandwiched between the protective triangle of Tang Yunhe, Wen Jiu, and Yang Jian.

“Come, braggarts from the Du Clan!”

Shen Haoren roared towards the encirclement of troops clad in armor, his outstretched right hand clad in a faint sheen of azure arcs of lightning.

The cloudless night sky hummed as the chaotic drum of thunder reverberated throughout, the heavens rousing from their midnight slumber to vent their fury.

“The Du Clan has forced me to leave once, this Young Master wishes to know if they have the galls to attempt a second time!”

“Uncle Shen, there’s no need for you to become so angry. The Du Clan isn’t after such a despicable act as digging up past grudges.”

The voice of a young man echoed behind the platoon’s leader, the latter stepping aside and onto one knee as he dipped his head into a respectful bow.

Watching the following soldiers relinquish their malicious intent and stand at guard, the young girl’s right eye suddenly twitched.

“The Du Clan isn’t after my head, or isn’t willing to dig up past grudges?” the middle-aged man raised an eyebrow, unrelenting in his preparation of manifesting his spiritual artefact.

“That’s rather different from the Du Clan that this Young Master is used to. Brat from the Du Clan, who are you?”

The platoon leader inadvertently coughed as his countenance veiled behind the black steel helmet blossomed with a crimson flush of embarrassment, not daring to glance at Shen Haoren’s physically imposing figure.

Patting the flag inscribed with the Du Clan’s name and stepping forward to reveal his presence, Du Yongkang clasped his hands in an ordinary salute of the jianghu.

“This youngster is surnamed Du, given Yongkang,” the youth smiled, a calm demeanor emanating from his body.

“As for Uncle Shen’s question, the Du Clan is indeed not after past grudges regarding the Shen Family. Instead, we’re after the young girl besides you.”

As if to emphasize his point, the youth extended his finger to point directly towards An Fei’s slightly exhausted countenance.

“Ah, here we go again…”

This time, it was not a mere eight pairs of eyes boring holes into her body from all directions, but a combined total of forty-nine gazes tinged with interest and curiosity.

The young girl finished adjusting her clothing with subtle motions as previously directed by Shen Haoren’s wife, her countenance distorting into a strange expression.

“This Young Master Du here,” An Fei called out with a strange, suppressed voice.

“Did Young Master Du claim that the Du Clan was not here to seek remittance for past grudges?”

The youth’s eyebrows soared towards the heavens, the anger and humiliation at letting a mortal girl escape his grasp brimming at the peak of his heart.

Taking a deep breath to calm his trembling emotions, Du Yongkang stepped forward, grabbing the longsword from a nearby soldier’s waist and pointing it towards the young girl’s throat.

“I previously said that towards Uncle Shen, not you – a mortal girl of no importance,” he scowled, the slightly appealing countenance sneering with malice and a sinister intent.

“You previously attempted to rob from me, and you think you can get away with it?”

Rob?

The young girl tilted her head in confusion, her mood completely unaffected by the lethal length of steel aimed directly towards her throat.

An Fei patted the small fox’s fur with her fingers, her mind flickering with a few crafty thoughts.

“Young Master Du, did you not attempt to capture me because of my raven?” the young girl taunted with a cold smile.

“Young Master Du, you mustn’t be like this, ah. If you desire something, you must say so – there is no need in attempting to kidnap a young girl to exhort her of her treasures…”

“What treasures could a mortal girl possibly posses that could interest my eyes – Du Yongkang’s eyes!?”

The youth tapped his foot onto the ground, his eyes narrowed as he assessed An Fei’s smiling expression.

Realizing that neither Shen Haoren nor Tang Yunhe, Wen Jiu, or even Yang Jian whose Yang Clan posed a terrifying threat to his Du Clan moved in the young girl’s defense, Du Yongkang revealed a glacial smile.

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“You, mortal girl, could never possess a treasure that could tempt me,” the youth sneered as he raised his chin to glare downwards towards the young girl’s bosom.

“However, you do possess another practitioner’s treasure – after all, a spiritual beast would never willingly submit to a mortal. Speak honestly, from whom did you rob that three tailed spiritual fox from!? The Du Clan will spare you if you reveal the truth, and will reward you if you hand it over!”

Shen Haoren’s lips twitched at the youth’s statement, his countenance tinged with indecision as he glanced towards the young girl. Similarly, Tang Yunhe and Wen Jiu could only remain silent as they bored holes into An Fei’s back with their gaze.

It was unfortunate that their clans could not contest with that of the Du Clan’s influence without joining hands; such a risky move was unwarranted nor desirable for any of their families unless it was absolutely necessary, for the price was too high.

Shen Haoren had to answer to his Second Elder Sister regarding the safety of the young girl due to their Patriarch’s divination, whilst Wen Jiu’s heart had blossomed with spring.

It was a tragedy that they could not prioritize their missions compared to their identity as members of the Hundred Clan Coalition – of which their clan’s rankings were decided by a single step.

Thus, one middle-aged man and two handsome men directed their gaze onto Yang Jian’s smooth and steady countenance, their eyes containing a hint of pleading and expectation.

“Brother Yang…”

“Brothers… I am truly apologetic about this matter,” Yang Jian interrupted Shen Haoren’s words, his voice unhindered by any emotional inflection or compassion.

“However much I wish to assist this Young Miss, the Yang Clan would not exert its authority for a mortal in any circumstance. Furthermore, I alone cannot surpass the Du Clan’s influence, nor can us four accomplish such a miracle even after joining hands.”

“This…” Tang Yunhe’e voice cracked with hesitation.

“Young Miss, this Yang’s suggestion is to hand the spiritual fox towards the Du Clan – this would ease the conflict and allow the Young Miss to thrive in Dong Lin City. The Du Clan’s favor cannot be underestimated in any regard.”

Having dispatched his advice, Yang Jian folded his hands and faced forwards, his countenance rigid and unshifting regardless of the aggrieved pleas from his brother’s gazes.

Glancing from the corner of his eyes, Tang Shiqi’s brows flickered as they settled onto the handsome man’s back with an unknown sentiment.

“Uncle Yang, this youngster offers his respect!”

Du Yongkang laughed as he clasped his hands towards Yang Jian, turning his gaze to leer towards An Fei.

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“Mortal girl, your partners aren’t willing to sacrifice their clans to assist you in your predicament. So, what will you do – you aren’t capable of providing the resources to properly sustain the spiritual fox’s development, and our Du Clan’s favor is not one that can be casually tossed and reclaimed – this should be an easy decision, am I correct?”

The young girl’s eyes lowered onto the paved ground, her lips moving without a sound.

As they awaited her decision, the little raven perched on her shoulder suddenly quivered with a cold sensation piercing through his heart.

Roar!

Not again…

- my thoughts:
Oh... the raven's going to suffer unimaginable trauma over his lifespan, ah.
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