Editor: Dhael Ligerkeys
Since kidnapping Feng Yue and bringing her back to the Outpost, Lu Ye had not bothered with her or even ordered someone to keep an eye on her. He would’ve broken her legs if she tried to make an escape or something, but she hadn’t tried to do that. In fact, she hadn’t done anything at all. She just spent all day and night sitting at random places and staring into thin air with a sorrowful expression on her face.
At the Sanctum of Providence, Lu Ye was sitting on a big chair his people had taken from one of the Thousand Demon Ridge sects. He didn’t know which, and it didn’t matter. What mattered was that it belonged to the Crimson Blood Sect now.
Feng Yue was standing in front of him with her hands folded across her stomach. She was the perfect picture of an obedient prisoner right now.
As expected of a medicine cultivator, the puncture wound on her palm was almost completely recovered. It had only been a couple of days, but he couldn’t even see a scar anymore.
“Why is no one coming to ransom you?”
Lu Ye had been waiting for Clan Feng to ransom Feng Yue back. In the Spirit Creek Battlefield, medicine cultivators who had been captured by the enemy could be ransomed for a price, not to mention that Feng Yue was also the Legate of Clan Feng Outpost. He was certain that she was worth a ton of Spirit Stones and Spirit Pills and had been waiting to enter negotiations with Clan Feng since a few days ago.
To his surprise though, the other party hadn’t contacted him at all. He was growing impatient to put it mildly.
Feng Yue looked down at her feet while replying in a voice that was almost too soft to hear, “They probably think I’m dead.”
He could see that the woman was trying to trick him. A personnel on the same level as the Keeper of Seal or the Sect Master had the ability to check the status of their disciples. He was in possession of the imprint of the Crimson Blood Sect. So long as he was still alive, the imprint would never disappear. It was how his Sect Master and senior sister knew he was still alive despite not knowing where he was on the Spirit Creek Battlefield.
Not only that, Feng Yue must have exchanged imprints with her fellow cultivators for communication purposes before. In this case, they did not even need to send her a message to know that she was still alive. If she had died, the imprint would’ve disappeared on its own.
Lu Ye wasn’t the ignorant mining slave he was before. There was no chance he was going to fall for such a cheap trick.
“Who’s the person-in-charge of your Outpost?”
Although most of their Spirit Creek Realm cultivators were dead, Clan Feng must have dispatched some of their Inner Circle or Core Circle cultivators to the Outpost afterward. He would need to speak with the person currently in control of the Outpost if he wanted to get the ransom.
Feng Yue pursed her lips and did not answer.
Lu Ye grabbed the hilt of the Inviolable and pulled it out of its sheath. He made sure to take his time so that she could hear the scratchy noises clearly.
“It’s my third brother, Feng Xiangyang!” Feng Yue caved immediately. The young man before her was the kind of crazy who would stab her without batting an eyelid if she displeased him. Her palm might have healed, but the painful memory had remained as clear as yesterday.
“Contact him and tell him that it costs a hundred thousand Spirit Stones to ransom you!”
Their number of Spirit Creek Realm cultivators had been growing, so the total salary they had to pay per month had increased to several thousand Spirit Stones. He couldn’t rely on Shui Yuan to pay it forever especially since she was hardly wealthy. The Crimson Blood Sect had declined to the point where it nearly ceased to be after all.
Before this, the Crimson Blood Sect had no resource production to speak of. Now, the situation was much better because both of their neighbours, the Redoubt of Wrath and Feng Clan had been crippled. From now on, everything within fifty kilometers of the sect including the leylines and other resources belonged to the Crimson Blood Sect.
Not only that, the disciples had built many farms within the Outpost recently. Hua Ci also planted a ton of herbs and Spirit Plants to improve their income.
It would take a long time before their income grew to the point where it was self-sustainable though. In the meantime, the ransom from Clan Feng would greatly alleviate their financial pressure.
“What? There’s no way Clan Feng is going to pay that much,” Feng Yue exclaimed in shock as she stared at Lu Ye. It took a real heartless person to demand a hundred thousand Spirit Stones for a single medicine cultivator, but then again, a good person couldn’t have come up with the devious ploy to conquer two Outposts in a row with an Insectoid invasion.
“Contact your brother now, or else.”
And so Feng Yue succumbed to Lu Ye’s “gentle” persuasion and contacted Feng Xiangyang.
In fact, Feng Xiangyang had contacted Feng Yue a few days ago and found out about her current situation. He even told her to pass on the message that he was willing to pay a certain amount of Spirit Stones for her ransom. She just hadn’t told Lu Ye about this for reasons.
As for why Feng Xiangyang hadn’t come to the Outpost to give his message in person, it was because he didn’t dare to. Every Thousand Demon Ridge cultivator within five hundred kilometers knew that the area within five kilometers of the Outpost was a death zone. Literally. Once, a Heaven-Grade Eighth-Order cultivator had flown through the area using a flying weapon. Then, a shadow descended from the sky, and the guy was gone just like that!
Therefore, Lu Ye had really misunderstood Clan Feng. It wasn’t that they didn’t want to ransom Feng Yue, it was just that the girl had chosen not to pass on the message for unknown reasons.
“What if they didn’t respond?” Feng Yue sneaked a look at Lu Ye.
The young man unsheathed the Inviolable and placed it next to his feet. He hadn’t spoken, but his answer was as clear as day. Feng Yue hurriedly sent the message.
A while later, she said in a quiet voice, “They’ve responded.”
“What’s their answer?”
Lu Ye asked a little distractedly. It was because he was creating Yin and Yang elements and joining them into a Glyph right now.
“They… they say that their highest offer is… three thousand Spirit Stones…”
The Glyph suddenly crumbled at the last step.
Lu Ye lifted his head and just stared at Feng Yue.
“I’m sorry, but did you say three THOUSAND?”
“You’re useless then.”
Lu Ye was ready to haggle with Clan Feng, but to offer three thousand in response to his demand of one hundred thousand Spirit Stones? An idiot could’ve figured out that they weren’t going to play ball. It would be a complete waste of breath to try any longer.
“Kong Niu!” Lu Ye called out to the young man standing in front of the Divine Opportunity Column.
He looked back at him and responded, “Mhm.”
“Take this woman away and execute her!”
The brawny man stopped whatever he was doing and strode straight toward Feng Yue. The girl could only watch in horror as a massive hand the size of a paper fan grabbed her by the hair, turned around, and started dragging her toward the exit.
Kong Niu was a taciturn man. In the past, he only obeyed to Hua Ci. Now, he listened to Lu Ye’s orders as well.
To say that Feng Yue was flabbergasted would be an understatement. It wasn’t until she was dragged about one-third of the way to the exit before she finally snapped out of it and screamed, “The reason Clan Feng is ransoming me is to pin the blame of losing the Outpost on me! That’s why they’ll never pay you the amount of Spirit Stones you asked!”
Miraculously, the medicine cultivator somehow broke free from Kong Niu’s grip and ran back to Lu Ye. Then, she dropped to her knees and explained in a tearful voice, “There are multiple dissenting factions within Clan Feng, and the one I belonged to was the strongest of them all. That was until I lost the Outpost and greatly undermined their authority. I may be a medicine cultivator, but the crime of losing an Outpost is so great that the only punishment is death. Since they’re going to kill me anyway, why would they spend a hundred thousand Spirit Stones to ransom me? They just want a scapegoat to bear all the responsibility.”
Not far away, Kong Niu stared at the bundle of hair in his hand before turning around. Then, he started walking toward Feng Yue once more.
Lu Ye raised his hand, and Kong Niu stopped just a step or two behind Feng Yue. His shadow covered her entire body.
Lu Ye looked down at the sorry-looking woman in front of him.
“So, you’re saying that Clan Feng won’t pay the sum I want? Not even if I lower it a little?”
“It is impossible!”
This reminded Lu Ye of Dong Shuye. The guy had run away from his sect because he had lost an Outpost, a crime that was only punishable by death for a Seventh-Order cultivator. It was the same for Feng Yue even though she was a medicine cultivator, and the faction she belonged to was in power.
To be fair, she had lost her Outpost, and countless Feng Clan disciples were killed or injured as a result. If they did not punish such an offense, then how could they appease the friends and families of the deceased? How could they placate the masses?
“Then what’s the point of keeping you alive?”
Lu Ye was feeling annoyed to put it mildly. At the beginning, he kidnapped Feng Yue because she was a Legate, and he believed that all Legates were important people in a sect or a clan. While he wasn’t wrong, he hadn’t given it enough thought. Legates existed not just to manage the Outpost, but also to function as a scapegoat if it fell for whatever reason. Clan Feng would like to ransom her, but only so they could execute her and appease the masses. Naturally, they wouldn’t pay a high sum to ransom someone they were going to kill. Their Spirit Stones did not grow on trees after all.
“I’m a medicine cultivator! I can join the Crimson Blood Sect!” Feng Yue said in a hurry. Judging from her appearance, this was what she wanted this whole time.
Lu Ye only scoffed when he heard this though. “You must be dreaming.”
Feng Yue dared to join the Crimson Blood Sect because it was her only chance to live, but Lu Ye didn’t dare to accept her. The reason? He had conquered her Outpost and murdered hundreds of her fellow cultivators just days ago. What if she plotted behind his back after she managed to survive? Was he supposed to watch his back forever?
Plus, changing affiliation costs a lot of Contribution Points. To be exact, it cost a lot of Contribution Points to remove one’s existing imprint… wait a second. Feng Yue is the Legate of Clan Feng, so she has the authority to remove any disciple’s imprint including her own.
The question regarding her loyalty wasn’t difficult to solve either. All he needed to do was to make her swear a Heavenly Oath.
By now, Lu Ye had interacted with Feng Yue enough to figure out her true nature. In times of crisis where her life was on the line, her backbone was as soft as a twig. This was evident from her dropping to her knees and surrendering right before he was about to behead her.
Sure, she was a woman, but she was also a Seventh-Order cultivator. It took a kind of courage to make that kind of decision in the timeframe she had.
On the other hand, there were times she was incredibly stubborn. When Lu Ye had tried to push her into sending false intel and tricking them into coming out of the Insectoid cave, she was immovable even when he threatened to kill her.
In summary, she was a selfish person, but not so selfish that she was loyal only to herself.
Lu Ye slowly bent down and grabbed Feng Yue’s chin.
“How many Contribution Points do you have?”
“Four thousand plus…” The girl knew that this was the point where she lived or died. Naturally, she didn’t want to damage her chances any further by concealing information.
Lu Ye released her and walked up to the Divine Opportunity Column. Moments later, he returned with a Sacred Pact and tossed it into her hands.
Still kneeling on the floor, Feng Yue took one glance at the document and was shocked to find that it was covered in an insane amount of clauses. First, she was forbidden from hurting any Crimson Blood Sect cultivators in any way. Second, she was forbidden from communicating any information related to the Crimson Blood Sect with anyone. Third, she wasn’t allowed to hold resentment toward Lu Ye or the people close to him…
In total, at least twenty clauses had been written in the Sacred Pact.
The more Feng Yue read, the colder she felt. She had no idea how Lu Ye was able to come up with all these clauses in barely a few minutes.
The long story short was that her potential for harm against the Crimson Blood Sect if she were to sign this pact was exactly zero.
“This is an indenture contract, isn’t it?”
Feng Yue stared at Lu Ye with watery eyes. This wasn’t quite what she expected when Lu Ye had tossed her the Sacred Pact.
“Are you signing or what?”