Ji Shao told Shao Xuan about the person, letting him decide if he wanted to meet him.
Ji Ju’s old friend was a Yi clan member named Yi Jie, also Yi Cong’s grandfather. He had sustained a severe injury during the Yi battle and was brought by Ji Ju over here to recuperate. Remaining in the Yi family in his condition was certain death.
He brought Shao Xuan to the room, opened the door to reveal an old man with a head full of white hair lying on the bed. He did not look well at all, frail and breathed shallowly.
Seeing Shao Xuan enter, Yi Jie struggled to sit up. Even sitting up required a huge effort.
Shao Xuan studied Yi Jie’s expression. There was no hate in his eyes, just questions.
As if seeing Shao Xuan’s puzzlement, Yi Jie grinned. Due to the pain from his injury, the smile looked ugly, turning even more eerie with his complicated feelings towards Shao Xuan.
Yi Cong died at Flaming Horn. Shao Xuan partially contributed to Yi Qi’s death. However, the Yi family itself had not been strong enough to defeat Yi Xiang. Without Shao Xuan, even more Yi clansmen would have died.
“I want to ask about Yi Cong.” Yi Jie struggled to speak, he spoke very slowly and softly. But every word was enunciated clearly so Shao Xuan could hear him.
Shao Xuanw as only here because of his relationship with Ji Ju. Yi Jie had helped Ji Ju many times, especially in searching for crops, so they had a great friendship. Shao Xuan did not expect Yi Jie to bring up Yi Cong so calmly.
Although surprised, Shao Xuan told him what happened to Yi Cong, from the moment Yi Cong agreed to go to Flaming Horn as a captive, then the deal they had afterwards.
It could be considered suicide because Yi Cong could have lived if he wanted to. Yet he chose death.
Yi Jie closed his eyes, listening to Shao Xuan’s explanation as he hid his emotions. When Shao Xuan finished, he opened his eyes. They were calm again.
Heaving a long sigh, Yi Jie said, “Did you do another reading for your trip to King City?”
Shao Xuan looked at him in surprise but did not deny. “Yes.”
“What did you find?” Yi Jie paused, knowing he was being too vague. “About your journey back.”
“I did not yield any results.”
“Failed readings? Or they were successful but showed no results?” Yi Jie asked.
“The latter.” Although his knots were successfully made, he could not interpret the knots, they were a mess.
Now that his knot divination abilities had improved, he could even predict Robber Seven’s location, yet could not predict what would happen on his journey back home. Shao Xuan had been confused and knew something was wrong. So far he had not found the reason.
During his previous readings, the knots did not reveal any threats that were beyond their capacity to handle. However, as the date of departure approached, the readings still read the same, which was completely different from Shao Xuan’s gut feeling.
Shao Xuan’s instinct told him there were going to be dangers. Compared to the knots, he trusted his instinct more. He had relied on instinct to avoid dangers throughout his life, knot divination was just a skill he picked up from another tribe and the Yi family was definitely better than him at that.
This was also why Shao Xuan did not want to stay in King City for long. In the beginning, he planned to only let the Flaming River people take a good look at King City because it would be beneficial to their future expansions. To flame their ambitions, he must first broaden their minds. They must have a practical vision of what they could become or their plans would fail.
However, the feeling of discomfort intensified the longer he stayed, making Shao Xuan change his mind. After the feast, he told Gui He and the rest to return to their accommodations instead of bringing them to visit this famous Golden Grain Fields because he wanted them to prepare for a possible early departure.
“The unknown is the most dangerous thing of all! Be very careful this time!” Yi Jie stared straight into Shao Xuan’s eyes, emphasizing every word. “Only Yi people can change divination reading outcomes!”
Yet not a single Yi family member currently in King City could do it.
Yi Xiang of the desert!
That was Shao Xuan’s first thought. He had thought of many possibilities after he felt that the return journey would not be smooth, thinking about how he should face Yi Xiang in the future. Yi Jie’s words now confirmed his suspicions that the threat would be Yi Xiang.
Yi Jie could not do much to help either. Similarly, he could not obtain meaningful insight in his readings. But as a member of the Yi main family, he knew more than Shao Xuan. He understood that someone might be deliberately ruining their results.
“The child was named Yi Ce? Good, very good.” There were tears in Yi Jie’s eyes but he did not carry on. Knowing that Yi Ce was living a good life in Flaming Horn was enough. He was a Yi person, despite being unable to conduct readings now, he could predict many things based on what Shao Xuan said. He did not need to ask many questions to know how Yi Ce was doing. The objective of this meeting was complete.
Shao Xuan knew that Yi Jie had said what he wanted to. Yi Jie was only concerned about Yi Ce.
He did not stay for long, planning to rush back to check on Flaming Horn. Ji Ju did not insist either, sending people to escort Shao Xuan into the city. Now that the city gates were closed, without Ji Ju’s people escorting him, Shao Xuan might not be able to enter.
After he left, Ji Ju thought for a moment and asked Yi Jie, “You really don’t mind that yi Cong died?”
Ji Ju knew how much Yi Jie cared about Yi Cong. Among the aristocratic families, the Yi family did not care much for family bonds and blood relations. Out of so many offspring, the only reason why Yi Jie cared for Yi Cong was obviously because of his talent. Yi Jie personally raised Yi Cong and had high hopes for him. Yi Jie even wanted Yi Cong to try competing for the patriarch’s position.
While Yi Cong’s death was pitiable, a portion of the Yi youngsters were privately delighted. They had one less competitor, they no longer had to live under his shadow.
Very few people knew that Yi Cong had brought his son out of the family to Flaming Horn.
Yi Jie only knew of Yi Cong’s arrangement afterwards. In the beginning, he did not understand but after some thought, he did. He absolutely understood why.
“It would be a lie to say I don’t but, comparatively, I agree with Yi Cong for doing this. If it were me, I would have done the same,” said Yi Jie.
He had only seen his great-grandson a very brief moment after his birth, so naturally he was not as attached compared to Yi Cong, whom he raised. However, the more he thought about it, another emotion surfaced to replace all his hatred, grief and pity.
“Why?” Ji Ju did not understand. Yi Cong could have lived! If he did, Yi Ce would have a guardian on Flaming Horn. As long as he was alive, he would be able to return to King City again. A good example would be after this peace deal between King City and Flaming Horn. If Yi Cong were alive, he could negotiate with Flaming Horn for his return.
“You don’t understand,” said Yi Jie softly. “I heard the Flaming Horns only reared beasts by selecting motherless cubs who had strayed from their herd. The earlier they were taken from their herd, the better. That is the only way the tribe will trust and care for it.”
Ji Ju scoffed at this remark. Who would compare their own great-grandsons to a wild animal?
Yi Jie did not care. He was just explaining the situation using the simplest metaphor.
After slowly drinking his bowl of medicine, Yi Jie said, “You know how talented Yi Cong was. Years ago when the former lord sent the troops after Flaming Horn, Yi Cong was there too, then subsequently hit a bottleneck on his return. I did not know why but now, I do.” He sighed, unknown out of pity for Yi Cong or regret.
There was a moment of silence. Yi Jie continued, “The founder of the Yi family was the person closest to the Founder Shaman. Shao Xuan is not the Founder Shaman but must somehow be related. Yi Ce will get his opportunity by staying close to Shao Xuan, the opportunity to alter the future of the Yi family!
Then he will bring the Yi family to glory once more!
“I really want to meet Yi Ce. My pain does not matter, I just need to live until the day Yi Ce returns to the Yi family again!” Manic resolution appeared in Yi Jie’s eyes.
If Shao Xuan died, then his hopes would be dashed. Then, Yi Ce would not become the Yi Ce he hoped for.
All his predictions rested upon the outcome that Shao Xuan would return to Flaming River safely.
That was why Yi Jie conducted a divination reading despite his severe injuries.
That was why they met today.
Yi Jie was not doing well at all, his conditions worsening after his readings. Ji Ju repeatedly thought that Yi Jie was trying to kill himself, that he would not live long. However, seeing his expression now, it seemed that Yi Jie still had a powerful will to live.
Yi Jie’s furious declarations were made through intense pain. Ji Ju shook his head. The Yi people were all insane.
Within the palace.
Ji Shou explained to Ji Fang the incident on the street in detail, emphasizing that Gan Qie was the other threat he sensed apart from Shao Xuan.
“The Flaming Horns worked very well with the Flaming River tribesmen.” Ji Shou had to admit that he admired it. The six clans of King City used to have great chemistry when building the city but prejudice and discrimination drove a gap between all of them as time passed. The Yi family’s current state was a result of that.
“Yeah, they do work well together. As long as Shao Xuan is around, they will continue expanding,” said Ji Fang.
“Why must there be a Shao Xuan?” Ji Shou was very frustrated.
“Indeed, why must Flaming Horn have a person like Shao Xuan?” Ji Fang agreed but then grinned. “We’ll see if the tribes still have him in the future. It all depends on their journey home now.”
They had signed a deal, yes, but that did not mean other parties would not attack the Flaming Horns. For example, someone from the desert.
Ji Fang had planned to fight the desert people together with the Flaming Horns. However, it would be even better if both parties suffered huge losses in the event of conflict.