Although Uncle Li was confused and petrified from the illusionary technique, Xiaobao saw everything clearly.
Before entering Li Manor, Liu Sumei had released a technique, a powerful illusionary technique which enveloped the entire mansion. It was evening and there was still some sunlight left. Had it been night time, one can clearly see that Li Manor was shrouded in a dome of faint green light.
When Liu Sumei walked in, she released a second technique, which was released when she played her guqin. Each technique was not powerful enough on its own against Uncle Li, but when combined, they pack quite the punch!
The first technique induced Uncle Li to enter a hallucinatory state. He would not completely lose his grip on reality, but if there were any external disturbances, or if his own internal spiritual base provided a strong reaction, the first technique would have failed.
However, Liu Sumei entered the mansion at the right time, and made a match with Uncle Li.
What Uncle Li did not know was, from the moment he agreed to the match, he had already been under the effects of the technique, as his first line of defence had already been weakened. Although he made sure to prepare himself and to be cautious, because the first technique had diverted his attention elsewhere, he was weak against the second technique!
Uncle Li, who suffered the effects of both techniques, was analogous to a fish on the chopping board, completely oblivious to the fact that he was already dead meat. If Liu Sumei wanted to kill Uncle Li, she needn’t kill him herself, but she could’ve manipulated him into doing the dirty deed to himself.
But Liu Sumei decided against it, as they say, if one must beat a dog, they must account for the owner as well. If she really killed Uncle Li, she’d have to face the might and wrath of the Zhan family.
In Daqi, being an enemy of the Zhan family is an unpleasant matter. Thanks to their lust for vengeance and violence, if one finds themselves within the family’s crosshairs, even the mightiest cultivator would beg for their mercy.
Xiaobao watched the scene unfold as Liu Sumei manipulated them with her song and guqin. She needn’t throw punches or kicks, or spill a drop of blood. With just a simple poem, she rendered the enemy useless!
‘Who knew that… illusionary techniques would be so cool!’ Xiaobao thought to himself as he watched the technique’s effects take place.
Little Bell chuckled and asked, “Why? Wanna learn?”
Xiaobao nodded eagerly. “Yes! Yes!”
“Alright, come to the Phoenix Hibiscus Court and I’ll let Senior Sister teach you!”
Xiaobao was surprised. “You guys are from the Phoenix Hibiscus Court? No wonder you guys are so good! But… why are you guys …performing here?”
Little Bell rolled her eyes and dodged the question. She pointed at Madam Xie and the rest. “Hey, you forgot about them?”
Xiaobao acted as if he just snapped out from a dream. He rushed towards Madam Xie and the rest, and removed the bags over their heads and the rope that bound them.
Realising that they had been saved, they were overjoyed. Green Bead sobbed on the spot and hugged Xiaobao. She cried, “Xiaobao, thank God you came, I thought… I…”
Xiaobao patted her back and let go, he smiled. “It’s alright, sister. It’s alright.”
Green Bead rubbed the tears from her eyes and rushed to free the others. Asparta hugged Xiaobao after being freed, and said with conviction, “Xiaobao, you saved Agatha. From today onwards, you’re my patron and brother!”
Xiaobao nearly suffocated from Asparta’s embrace. He wasn’t used to such methods of love. After he struggled free, he replied, “That’s no problem, we’re family after all.”
Asparta looked at Agatha, and laughed, “Right, a family!”
Madam Xie felt greatly relieved from escaping death. With teary eyes, she assessed Xiaobao and stood up with his help.
She nodded and spoke, albeit chokingly, “Good, you’ve done well, Xiaobao.”
Xiaobao’s eyes teared up too. He got down to his knees and kowtowed, “You’ve suffered, madam! I should’ve arrived earlier, I deserve punishment!”
Madam Xie held his hand and held back tears. “Nonsense, had it not been you, we would’ve faced certain death.”
“I deserve punishment because I could’ve done better. I’ll always be a member of the Li family, be it in this life or death. No matter where I go, I’ll always think of home.”
Madam Xie’s tears rolled down her cheeks. She rubbed her face dry, and said, “Alright, good boy! Oh, we have to free the head of the family!”
Xiaobao quickly freed Li Chun, but upon removing the bag, they found him snoring. He had fallen asleep!
The family looked at one another. But someone snorted, and everyone laughed, partly fuelled by the relief of escaping death.
After calming down, Madam Xie said, “Alright, carry him up so he can rest. Oh right, where’s our rescuer?”
“They’re…” Xiaobao turned to look, but there wasn’t anyone else in the hall.
“They left? But they were just here!” Xiaobao exclaimed.
Green Bead asked, “Xiaobao, where’d they go? Why did they help us?”
Xiaobao shook his head. “It’s Liu Sumei from Falling Blossom House. She’s a cultivator of the Phoenix Hibiscus Court. As for why she helped us, I’m not sure.”
Madam Xie thought about it for a while, and then she sighed, “There are many inexplicable matters. When the time comes, we must greatly thank this Miss Liu. Oh right, why did you return, Xiaobao? If not, we might have…”
Madam Xie didn’t dare finish the sentence, as she felt the chills from the thought of her possible demise.
Xiaobao proceeded to tell the story of his return and Chengfeng’s time at the Spiritual Mountain Sect. By the time he finished, it was already midnight. Green Bead had lit a candle, who huddled to listen too.
After hearing the whole story, Madam Xie sighed. With watery eyes, she said, “My son is working hard. As his mother, I mustn't lag far behind.” She turned to Green Bead and requested, “Green Bead, bring me my box.”
Green Bead returned into the house, and brought out a small wooden box. Madam Xie took the box and rested it heavily on Xiaobao’s hands. “Xiaobao, you’ve followed my son on his cultivation journey. This is your good luck, it is also his fortune, and also the Li family’s fortune. My son’s safety and the Li family’s future, rest in your hands.”
Xiaobao wanted to kneel, but Madam Xie stopped him. As she placed it in his hands, Xiaobao felt a weight to it, like some sort of pressure forcing onto his hands.
Xiaobao promised softly, “Don’t worry madam, I won’t disappoint!”
Madam Xie put a hand on his head. “Good boy, go rest. Now that you’re home, rest for a few days.”
Xiaobao shook his head. “With Master at Spiritual Mountain Sect, I have to head back soon to help him. I’ll leave tomorrow morning.”
“I’m glad for your initiative. Green Bead and I will send you off tomorrow morning.”
Xiaobao nodded and went to rest in a room. Throughout the night, Xiaobao tossed and turned as a thousand thoughts occupied his mind. He thought about the fight between Liu Sumei and Uncle Li earlier, the brewing storm in Spiritual Mountain Sect, his future with the Li family. He might’ve been crazy, because he only managed to fall asleep when the sun’s almost up.
After getting up and showering, Xiaobao left for Spiritual Mountain with Madam Xie’s and Green Bead’s blessings.
His horse rode at breakneck speed. Soon, he had reached the bottom of Spiritual Mountain. He made his way up to Hidden Sword Court. But before even reaching the accommodations, he saw a familiar figure, accompanied by a girl next to him.
Xiaobao saw them, and rushed towards them in glee. He shouted, “Master, I’m back!”