Chapter 27 – Guilt
It seemed to be particularly dark this evening.
Unlike the previous few days, the air wasn’t as dry, and you could even feel the moisture of the air when you breathe it in.
Xue Qilin turned her upper body and looked through a small window inlaid with iron bars.
The thick clouds covering the moon hang very low, looking like they would bear down on the earth at any moment.
… is it going to rain?
It has been six days since she fell into that trap and was imprisoned by Hua Tianji.
“Hua Tianji, you shitmuncher, you’d better don’t let me leave here alive if you got the guts. Otherwise, just you wait! I’ll pummel you into the cumstain that you are!” Xue Qilin murmured resentfully. At the same time, she raised her left arm, and the chains rattled.
White cloth wrapped around her arm was exposed from under the ragged big sleeve. Hua Tianji had ordered for someone to bind her up in order to staunch the bleeding.
She slowly untied the white cloth, which still had some not yet dried blood. As she peeled off the layers of white cloth, the bolt wound underneath gradually became visible.
The wound has scabbed, and some fragments of herbs exuding a medicinal fragrance that smelt like dead trees could be seen on it, yet the fragrance still couldn’t cover the smell of blood.
“Hiss!” Xue Qilin clenched her teeth and pressed the wound lightly, squeezing out some watery blood. Subsequently, the pain stimulated her nerves, making her take in a breath of cool air.
“To hell with you, Hua Tianji! What if it leaves a scar? I’m such a cute loli, yet you dare to hurt me? Aren’t you afraid of the heavens’ retribution?” As tears overflowed her eyes due to the pain, Xue Qilin severely scolded the absent culprit. At the same time, she gingerly wrapped her arm again.
If Hua Tianji hadn’t sealed her true qi, this level of injury would have healed by now.
Even so, compared to an average person, her wounds still healed faster, which was likely due to her constitution being strengthened by true qi.
Anyway, Little Qing and Little Qing  should have returned to the Merak Palace. I don’t know if that lass Little Seven knows that I was captured… Ah, they probably don’t know that I’m alive. After all, before they left, I still haven’t fought with Hua Tianji.
Even if the people of the Merak Palace know that I was captured and plan to save me, they cannot storm in blindly and throw their lives away… There’s more than one Heaven Realm expert here after all!
Xue Qilin sighed uneasily. Although she had known the people of the Merak Palace for less than a month, but she didn’t want them to meet with mishap. After all, the Merak Palace was the only place in this world she could call home. But…
“… it wasn’t us who poisoned you.” Xue Qilin suddenly recalled Hua Tianji’s words that day.
It wasn’t the Heavenly Sword Gate? No, I can’t believe his words! Maybe he just wants to drive a wedge between us! Xue Qilin bit her lower lip and forced herself to dispel the doubts coiling around her heart.
If I continue to mull over it, my imagination will just run wild, so I might as well stop! Xue Qilin stopped indulging in her thoughts.
Just as she calmed down, she noticed an abnormality. It was strangely quiet. She could even hear her ears ring.
“Hey, is there anyone?” As her voice reverberated, the prison seemed empty and lifeless.
Although her true qi was sealed, but it didn’t mean that she couldn’t get away via some special method. Aware of that, Hua Tianji arranged for disciples with impressive cultivation base to watch over her all day. But now it was so quiet that you could hear a needle drop. Earlier, she could clearly hear the Heavenly Sword Gate’s disciples in charge of guarding talk and laugh not far away.
What’s going on? Where are the guards? Xue Qilin frowned, feeling that something was off.
As if a sudden burst of fireworks in the dark, a tremendous aura suddenly erupted and headed westward.
“…Hua Tianji?” Each martial practitioner’s aura was unique. Xue Qilin, who has previously fought Hua Tianji, was naturally quite familiar with his aura.
Why did he leave all of a sudden? Xue Qilin frowned, shocked. Then she mused – did something happen? Did the Merak Palace really send people to rescue me? The more she thought about it, the more she felt like it was a possibility. Her premonition soon came true…
“…!” A strong wind swept past, the torch on the wall went out in a flash, and darkness immediately swallowed everything around her.
In this darkness, there was the faint sound of clothes fluttering approaching from afar.
Xue Qilin’s body tightened reflexively. Due to the contraction of the muscles, she felt a bust of pain coming from her wounds, and she frowned.
As she listened to the sound of gentle footsteps approaching, Xue Qilin held her breath.
Finally, a familiar figure stopped on the other side of the steel bars.
“… Are you working out?” A voice full of surprise and helplessness sounded. Xue Qilin was familiar with this voice.
With the faint moonlight coming through the small window, the appearance of the person on the other side of the iron bars was finally revealed.
The bright red eyes shining brightly and the curled up lips were inexplicably reassuring.
“… Little Seven!?” Xue Qilin’s eyes widened when she saw Qi Qiqi.
“What? Is it strange to see me here?” Qi Qiqi said angrily, and then drew her greatsword with her left hand and cut off the lock of the prison cell with a sword strike.
“… How did you get in? This is the Heavenly Sword Manor! Where’s Hua Tianji?! Have you lured him away?” Xue Qilin inundated the counterpart with many questions.
“Why do you have so many questions? It was Vice-palace Master Ye who led Hua Tianji away!” After rolling her eyes at Xue Qilin, Qi Qiqi entered the prison cell. When her eyes fell on the white cloth wrapping around Xue Qilin’s thighs, her eyes widened, and then she asked hesitantly: “… you’re injured, is it serious?”
“Eh…” Xue Qilin answered blankly, “It’s nothing much.”
Qi Qiqi pursed her lips, saying no more. She raised her greatsword, which was slightly reddish in color, and swung it five times, tracing one red ripple after another in the air. In response, five clear sounds rang back and forth.
All the shackles, were cut off. Only the collar around her neck still existed. Instead, the chain connecting the collar to the wall was split in two.
“Why haven’t you cut open the collar?” Xue Qilin asked doubtfully as she massaged her sore arms and legs.
“Don’t mind it!” Qi Qiqi’s cheeks reddened slightly, and her eyes swayed for some reason.
“…” Xue Qilin looked at Qi Qiqi suspiciously.
“What are you looking at?”
“… You haven’t missed, right?”
When she heard Xue Qilin’s question, in a rare fashion, Qi Qiqi didn’t retort, and instead looked away and snorted.
This lass has clearly a guilty conscience! Xue Qilin suddenly had chills go down her spine. If she had been a bit off, wouldn’t my head be separated from my neck?
At this thought, she broke out in cold sweat, drenching her back, “Twenty One, if you’re not confident, then don’t use such gorgeous swordsmanship! Take it easy!”
“That’s not it! I’m just not confident that I can cut open the collar without cutting your face!”
“Why would I deceive you?”
“Okay, I’ll believe you for now…” After turning her back to Qi Qiqi, Xue Qilin went on to say, “Come, help me pull them off.”
“What do you mean?”
Xue Qilin put her hair over her right shoulder and pulled it towards her chest, exposing her back.
Xue Qilin looked over her shoulder. Seeing the shocked Qi Qiqi staying in place, she urged: “Hurry up, I can’t use my true qi.”
“Oh… oh, okay.” After she came back to her senses, Qi Qiqi quickly got closer, then knelt behind Xue Qilin and extended her hand. Her hand was trembling a little.
“Does… it hurt?” Her tone of voice was a little oppressive, but Xue Qilin has already turned her head back, and so couldn’t see Qi Qiqi’s expression.
“It doesn’t hurt, but the needles block my true qi. Or else, how could these chain restrain me?”
“… did Hua Tianji do this?”
“Who else if not him?” After not hearing back from Qi Qiqi for a long time, Xue Qilin strangely turned her head to the side.
“Why… are you crying?” She asked, flustered.
Unwittingly, tears appeared at the corners of Qi Qiqi’s eyes.
Does she feel bad for me? Xue Qilin guessed.
“I’m not crying!” Qi Qiqi spoke in an obviously sobbing tone, yet she stubbornly wiped the tear away.
“… okay, never mind that. Let’s talk about how you found me.” Not good at dealing with women crying, Xue Qilin changed the subject at once!
Qi Qiqi was silent for a long time, and then spoke lightly: “After we got the news that you were captured, Ye Zhen and I left the palace that very night and rushed to Jinling, where we found Senior Disciple Sister Luo who was searching for information… Then, Senior Disciple Sister Luo said that she has found the place where you were imprisoned, and asked Ye Zhen to lure Hua Tianji away. I and Senior Disciple Sister Luo sneaked into the Heavenly Sword Manor to rescue you.”
“That so… where’s Little Qing?”
“She’s on the lookout outside the prison.”
Xue Qilin trembled from the subtle numb feeling that arose when a long needle was removed from her body.
“Are you okay?” Qi Qiqi’s slightly anxious voice came from behind.
Xue Qilin shook her head gently, “It’s nothing. Just a little tingle.”
“Then… I’ll continue?”
Then, Qi Qiqi pulled out the second needle.
Although it didn’t hurt when the long needle was pulled out, but there was a sour tingle, as if there was a bug crawling. It was unbearable.
In order to distract herself, Xue Qilin started talking again, “There should be a lot of people patrolling outside the prison, but you fortunately managed to sneak in quietly.”
Qi Qiqi’s hand suddenly stopped, and then she spoke in a dull voice as if she had discovered something now: “… there were no.”
“There were no what?”
“There were no patrols.”
“How could that be?!” Xue Qilin exclaimed. Hua Tianji attached great importance to her. As such, there was no way he would only have two disciples act as guards. He should have set up strict countermeasures. Guards? Hold on…
“What happened to the guards? Did you kill them?” Xue Qilin asked urgently.
“I haven’t seen them either.” Qi Qiqi’s tone gradually turned grave: “I was so anxious just now that I haven’t noticed. But now that you mention it, it does feel strange. How could the Heavenly Sword Manor have such lose defenses…”
A sense of uneasiness quickly gripped her heart, and Xue Qilin asked uncertainly: “Is it a trap?”
Qi Qiqi contemplated for a long time, and then shook her head hesitantly, “… if it was a trap, we would have been surrounded by now.”
What’s going on? Is there someone helping us? Hold on… where’s Luo Hong?
“Did Ye Zhen only lure Hua Tianji away?”
“Yes, we saw Hua Tianji leave leave the Heavenly Sword Gate before we sneaked in.”
“There’s more than one Heaven Realm expert in the Heavenly Sword Gate!”
Probably because she was too shocked, Qi Qiqi stabbed back the long needle she had just pulled out.
“Ah! Sorry sorry! What did you just say? There’s a second Heaven Realm expert in the Heavenly Sword Gate?”
Xue Qilin nodded without hesitation. After all, she was seriously injured by the second Heavenly Realm expert.
“How could that be…”
“That person seems to be called Luo Hong.”
“What did you say?” Qi Qiqi suddenly stood up, appalled.
“I said that the person’s name is Luo Hong… is he someone famous?”
Qi Qiqi furrowed her eyebrows tightly, and her expression turned extremely unsightly, “That Luo Hong isn’t from the Heavenly Sword Gate, but the State Guard…”
“State Guard? What’s that?”
Qi Qiqi was about to answer, when…
“Palace Master, Young Ancestor, you aren’t done yet?” Luo Qing’s slightly anxious voice sounded. Unwittingly, she was already very close to them.
After Luo Qing’s reminder, Qi Qiqi woke up from her daze and spoke a little irritably: “Yes, now’s not the time to be talking about that. No matter whether this is a trap or not, what we can do now is to get out of here as soon as possible.”
“Eh, Young Ancestor, your back…” Apparently having discovered the several long needles left on Xue Qilin’s back, Luo Qing asked in surprise.
“Right, I almost forgot about them. Little Seven, please pull the needles out at once. Little Qing, you help too.”
“I almost forgot!” “Oh, yes.” The two people answered at the same time, and then started to pull the long needles out.
Originally, Xue Qilin thought that nothing unexpected would happen after the needles were out, but when the last needle was pulled out by Luo Qing…
As if a mighty river that river burst out of its duke, the true qi revolved violently and battered her entire body. In the battle with Hua Tianji, her qi passageways ended up being damaged do to the forceful operation of true qi, and they were now issuing sad laments. She felt like the sound of true qi ramming into her internal organs echoed in her mind, making her dizzy.
If she hadn’t propped herself up against the ground in time, she would have fallen on the ground.
“Young Ancestor, what’s wrong?” Luo Qing asked hurriedly, and Qi Qiqi cast a worried glance.
“I…” Her voice stopped abruptly. A warmth rushed up her throat, and she spat out a mouthful of blood – black blood.
A strong sense of weakness washed over her and swallowed her consciousness in an instant.
“Young Ancestor!” Before she lost consciousness completely, Xue Qilin heard Qi Qiqi’s voice and saw Luo Qing’s eyes filled with guilt.
 – The first Little Qing (小青) is referring to Luo Qing, the second Little Qing (小晴) is referring to Gong Tianqing