Chapter 299: Mt. Orchid
Orchid Town was as ordinary as any other town could be. The only reason why the town had any semblance of a name around Mo City was thanks to the mountain next to them. The entire mountain was special in that it had butterfly orchids growing all over it. Among the females in the area, these butterfly orchids were a local specialty that they loved to have. Since so many people would come here when they were free for the flowers, the town was renamed to better fit the mountain.
The butterfly orchids weren't a rare or expensive variety of orchids. Only the shape of their petals were something to talk about since they were shaped exactly like the wings of a butterfly. The orchids would sway gently when a breeze came, like the way a butterfly's wings flutter in the wind. A dozen were already pleasing to the eye, but an entire mountainside was a veritable paradise.
Mt. Orchid was extremely vast as well. During the busiest of seasons, the amount of tourists that came sightseeing would number in the several hundreds, but the mountain was always large enough to accommodate everyone. All over the mountain, groups of people could be seen here or there admiring the flowers. Of course, the majority of said tourists were always couples.
The coming of morning comes with the gradual rising of the sun. With the light that the sun brought, the orchids, glistening with morning dew, shined as they started evaporating in the heat. There were a few droplets left remaining on some orchids. They were reluctant to fall to the ground or be evaporated by the sun. Whether the case of the former or latter, they all seemed reluctant to part with the butterfly orchids they had bonded with during the night.
On the road up the mountain, a pair of travelers trekked slowly to the top. The two didn't walk fast, but they kept a constant pace from start to finish, meaning they weren't suffering from traveler's fatigue even though they were well past the halfway point up the mountain.
The pair of travelers were, of course, Bai Yunfei and Tang Xinyun.
Naturally, Xiao Bai was flying right above them.
According to today's agenda, Bai Yunfei would accompany Tang Xinyun to Mt. Orchid and pick a few butterfly orchids for her to take home to her mother. A trivial matter like this didn't require a flying sword, so the two decided to take it slow and walk, fully enjoying the sights.
Based on what Tang Xinyun had said, the topmost part of the mountain had a small patch where plenty of butterfly-blue princesses, what the locals called them, grew. Such a name was given to this variant of butterfly orchids since they were not just violet in color; they were a stunning mix of blue and violet. Vibrant in color, vast in shape, and long-lasting, these butterfly-blue princesses could last for half a month in a vase without losing a speck of beauty.
They grew on the precipice of the mountain at the very top of a sheer cliff wall that was very hard to climb. Thus, only a few commoners would take the effort to get some, but it was no trouble at all for soul cultivators.
"Xinyun, you think I should buy a gift for auntie?" On the way, Bai Yunfei suddenly thought of a question to ask Tang Xinyun.
"Ehhh?" Having been unable to think of an answer to his question, Tang Xinyun reddened in the face. Rather than meet Bai Yunfei's eyes, she looked away, "That... you don't need to..." she softly replied.
Clueless, Bai Yunfei scratched his head. "Don't need to what? Why do I feel like I should bring a gift or something?"
"You really don't." Tang Xinyun shook her head again, "Mom doesn't like those sort of things..."
"Oh, alright then..." He nodded before suddenly asking a second question, "Actually, how many people are in your family? If we're going to your home, are we going to have to meet your uncle, grandpa, seventh aunt, or eighth aunt too?"
To Bai Yunfei, filial piety was an extremely important matter, so it only seemed natural to pay your respects to everyone in the family after returning home after a very long time.
Tang Xinyun had interpreted his words a different way and blushed an even deeper shade of red as a result. A tinge of concern crawled across her face a little while later, causing her to sigh. "Don't worry, there are too many people in my family you won't have to see. You probably won't even be able to see them anyways..."
Bai Yunfei realized he had stumbled on yet another taboo topic. Tang Xinyun's return home was without a doubt not something anyone would care about. Remorse flooded his mind as soon as he came to that realization, but before he could say something in apology, another thought struck him.
This sudden break of silence caused Tang Xinyun to jolt out of her slight depression. "Yunfei, what's wrong? Did something happen?"
"I... I just remembered something." Bai Yunfei 'panicked,' "Is aunty Zhao home too, Xinyun?"
"She is." Tang Xinyun confirmed with a nod, "She went back home as soon as she brought me to the Crafting School, why?"
Vexed as he listened to Tang Xinyun, Bai Yunfei replied, "I remember that... aunty Zhao warned me not to get close to you. Not only are we both in the Crafting School, I'm also going home with you-you think she's going to assume I've some sort of dark plan and try to push me out of the household?"
"Uhm..." Tang Xinyun blinked several times in rapid succession while studying Bai Yunfei's 'miserable' expression.
Before long, a slight chuckle escaped her lips, "Hehe... knowing aunty Zhao, she'd do something like that if she doubted you..."
What Bai Yunfei said before was only a joke to try and cheer Tang Xinyun up, but her answer was actually quite worrying to the ears. Thinking back to the embarrassing first encounter he had with her and Zhao Mancha, Bai Yunfei couldn't help but grimace with how the older woman kept glaring at him.
"It's a good thing I saved her life before. She shouldn't treat me that way... hopefully..." Bai Yunfei tried to console himself.
The two continued up the mountain after that. Rather than talking about Tang Xinyun's familial matters, Bai Yunfei chose to move to an even lighter topic.
At some point during their conversation, the two arrived near their destination. The top of the mountain was about fifty meters tall and almost ten meters wide. According to what Tang Xinyun had said, the precipice nearby was almost impossible for commoners to scale, but the butterfly orchids there were of the best variety. The ones that grew there were tenacious, and with the amount of orchids growing there, the precipice looked as if a group of butterflies were resting.
Looking up at the precipice, Bai Yunfei estimated the distance a bit before smiling at Tang Xinyun, "Let's go then."
"Yes." She nodded.
With a push against the ground, both of them flew toward the precipice. Stepping off a protruding piece of rock on the wall, the two started to make their way up the precipice without much trouble.
After several repetitions, the two finally neared the top just in time to hear someone let out a small peal of laughter.
"Ah, there's someone here?"
Bai Yunfei's surprise was only momentary when he got to the precipice. Worried that he might be intruding on someone else's private moment, he was about to turn away when what he saw in front of him caused his face to sour.
Just ten meters ahead of him was a massive clearing of butterfly-blue princesses swaying gently in the wind. The butterfly-blue princesses were absolutely breathtaking, like a superior entity that overlooked the butterfly orchids on the mountainside below.
However, a male and female stood in the middle of them all. The graceful-looking woman wore a violet robe with both hands on her skirt as she laughed merrily while trampling over the butterfly-blue princesses!!
Right behind her, the male stood with his arms crossed against his chest. He was smiling as he watched the female dance about, but a small lecherous tint could be seen in his eyes.
There weren't many butterfly-blue princesses here to begin with. If the female were to continue trampling over them, there'd be none left. The sight of so many butterfly-blue princesses being scattered into the wind was a saddening one.
Bai Yunfei's sudden appearance had startled the two. The female had even screamed when she saw him before leaping behind the male like a cat. The smile on the male's face had been wiped clean. He adopted a battle-ready stance with his fists clenched as a chilling aura came out of him.
He was a soul cultivator!
A following flash of light later, Tang Xinyun came flying up right next to Bai Yunfei.
Before Bai Yunfei could even say anything, the man in front of him took a single step back, "Tang Xinyun!!"
"Eh?" Bai Yunfei had been so surprised by what the other man said that he completely forgot about what the female had been doing just a moment ago. Turning to the equally surprised Tang Xinyun, Bai Yunfei asked, "Do you know him, Xinyun?"
Blinking away her surprise, Tang Xinyun focused on the other male for a moment. "He's..." She hesitated, "he's my older cousin from mother's side of the family, I think..."
"Older cousin! That is a family member of auntie?" Bai Yunfei exclaimed. He hadn't thought that they'd come across Tang Xinyun's family member here of all places.
Tang Xinyun shook her head, "Not quite. He's not related to mother, he's... the nephew of my father's third wife."
The third wife of Tang Xinyun's father. The one that coerced him to completely forgo Tang Xinyun's mother and the one who had bullied the two for years.
"Hah! Of course there's no relationship between your mother and I!" A jeering taunt was heard.from the male. "I, Hua Binbai, am the heir to the house of Hua; we are in no way related to the house of Chu, and you are thus, not my 'younger cousin.' I'd be embarrassed otherwise!"
A cold chill descended over Bai Yunfei's face. "What did you say?"
Inquisitively, Hua Binbai stared at Bai Yunfei. After ascertaining his strength, Hua Binbai snorted. "Who are you? You may have some strength as a late-stage Soul Warrior, but not enough to stand on the same level as I, scram!!"
Then completely disregarding Bai Yunfei, he turned his attention to Tang Xinyun. "After abandoning your home for nearly a full year, I had thought you died a dog's death! That servant Zhao Mancha said you became a disciple of some elder in the Crafting School. What a joke!! Only that woman Chu Qingxue believed her... but now that I think about it, you're only a late-stage Soul Warrior... how embarrassing! You should've stayed away and pretended to be a disciple in the crafting school. How dare you come back home and embarrass all of us!"
"Hua Binbai, you-!!" Caught completely off guard by his harsh words, Tang Xinyun started to violently tremble.
"I what? Did I say something wrong!?" Somehow, he was getting carried away with his emotions. "The heiress to the Tang is now my sister-in-law. She should've drove you and your mother out from the Tang a lot earlier. Why don't you listen to what uncle said and leave home another year before coming back with some weak guy?"
"You... you...!" At a loss for words, Tang Xinyun didn't know what to say or even think. Each word spoken to her was meant to embarrass and humiliate. She hadn't a high opinion of him before she left a year ago, but his attitude was getting to unbelievable heights. All that was left for her to do was tremble and shake in anger as she tried to figure out what to say.
A hand tightened around her wrist and pulled her back half a step. As soon as she stepped back, the figure of someone stepped in front of her to hide the poisonous face of Hua Binbai from her.
"Xinyun, you said that he's not... related to you, right?" Bai Yunfei whispered, only to receive a slightly confused nod of confirmation in return.
"That's good then." Bai Yunfei closed his eyes briefly before turning to look back at the incredulous Hua Binbai with a smile.
"Then if I tear that dirty mouth off his face and bash his teeth in, there won't be any problems, right?"