Chapter 478: Offering a Sacrifice

  “Li Mo, I discovered that the holy maiden can’t be used to threaten the silver dragon elder,” Yun Ruoyan said.

  “Why not?” Li Mo frowned.

  Yun Ruoyan explained what the holy maiden had told her that day, after their encounter with Yin Xiao. “If we want to threaten the silver dragon elder, however, we can try to target Yin Xiao. I’m going to try to pull the holy maiden onto our side. With her help, it should be easy enough to capture him.”

  “Alright,” Li Mo replied, after some thought. “I’ll inform the demonic spirit and the others about this so that they can be prepared.

  “What did you find out, Li Mo?”

  Li Mo looked solemnly at Yun Ruoyan. “I discovered where your father, Long Yin, might be kept.”

  Yun Ruoyan immediately perked up. “Where is he?”

  “In a secret prison within the silver dragon castle.” Li Mo patted Yun Ruoyan’s hand. “I don’t know where exactly this prison is yet, but I’ll definitely find it, Yan’er. Don’t worry.”

  “Li Mo, be careful of your safety,” Yun Ruoyan warned. Anything that involved secrets would surely be dangerous, and although Yun Ruoyan did want to meet her own father, she didn’t want to cause Li Mo to be mired in danger as a result. 

  “Don’t worry, Yan’er. I’ll be careful.” Li Mo caressed Yun Ruoyan’s abdomen again. “As for you, you’re not alone anymore, so please don’t do anything dangerous. Remember that I’m still here, alright?”

  “I know.” Yun Ruoyan smiled and nodded her head. Although they had already been married for quite some time, they were still as caring for each other as when they had first gotten married.

  Ever since Yun Ruoyan had taught the holy maiden how to play go, they had played quite a number of games to while away the time. While playing, Yun Ruoyan noticed that the holy maiden looked particularly worried, but when Yun Ruoyan asked her if there was anything on her mind, she shook her head.

  A few moments later, however, she heard the holy maiden murmur something about how it was time again, followed by a long, weary sigh.

  “Check.” Yun Ruoyan laid down another piece. “Holy Maiden, you’ve lost—now, pay up!”

  “Ah, I’ve lost again! I don’t want to play anymore,” the holy maiden grumbled.

  Just then, the silver dragon elder suddenly appeared out of nowhere. When the servants outside loudly proclaimed the silver dragon elder’s arrival, Yun Ruoyan and the holy maiden’s faces both turned pale. Yun Ruoyan calmed down first. She tugged on the holy maiden’s hand and whispered, “We’d better go welcome him.”

  Yun Ruoyan was a little surprised to see the flustered expression on the holy maiden’s face. From her time with her, Yun Ruoyan had learned a little of her personality, and she didn’t seem like a coward or a weakling. Why would she be so scared of the silver dragon elder?

  “I greet the silver dragon elder.” The holy maiden bowed down to the elder. Yun Ruoyan followed suit behind her, her voice barely audible and her spiritual energy completely retracted within her body.

  “Rise,” the silver dragon elder instructed. He glanced over at Yun Ruoyan. “I heard Yin Xiao mention that you changed your servant again.”

  The holy maiden blinked, clearly not having expected the silver dragon elder to ask about such a minor matter. “Yes, Elder. Yun’er, great the silver dragon elder.”

  Yun Ruoyan stepped forward and bowed down to the silver dragon elder again.

  “Raise your head,” he commanded. Yun Ruoyan held her breath and slowly met his eyes. This was the first time Yun Ruoyan had seen him from such close range. In the past, she had always seen him through the heaven-transcending mirror from afar. He was tall and thin, and he looked like a middle-aged man. His silver hair was draped around his shoulders, his expression so sharp it looked as though it was chiselled from marble. 

  When the first elder noticed how calmly Yun Ruoyan was inspecting him, he raised his silvery eyebrows. “This servant indeed does seem different from the others.” Of all the people in the silver dragon castle, the only other who was able to stare him in the eye like that was his son.

  When he spoke this observation out loud, Yun Ruoyan immediately knelt in front of the silver dragon elder, her body trembling in fear.

  “Elder, she isn’t particularly smart and quick of mind. She must have been so shocked by your imposing figure that her mind blanked,” the holy maiden quickly said.

  The silver dragon elder finally turned away from Yun Ruoyan.

  “Holy Maiden, I don’t care what you do on a day-to-day basis, but don’t forget that you’ll have to conduct the sacrificial rites soon,” he instructed.

  “Of course, Elder. The rites are taking place the day after tomorrow, and I wouldn’t forget such an important occasion,” the holy maiden replied. However, Yun Ruoyan thought that she detected some unease and resistance in her voice.

  “Good, good.” The silver dragon elder turned away. “Don’t forget that that’s the purpose of your station.”

  When the elder finally vanished from sight, the holy maiden’s legs trembled as she slumped to the ground. Yun Ruoyan helped her up. “Are you alright, Holy Maiden? Is performing the sacrificial rites a particularly frightening affair? I’m afraid I don’t understand why you seem so resistant to it.”

  Yun Ruoyan didn’t dare stare at the silver dragon elder too much lest he notice, so she instead focused on the holy maiden. She had clearly become anxious after the silver dragon elder brought up the sacrificial rites.

  The holy maiden held Yun Ruoyan’s hands firmly. “Performing the sacrificial rites is a frightening affair, and my greatest nightmare since becoming the holy maiden.”

  “Can you tell me more about what it’s like?” Yun Ruoyan pressed.

  The holy maiden shook her head, unwilling to speak. After a moment, she suddenly looked at Yun Ruoyan. “The sacrificial rites are the day after tomorrow. Would you accompany me then?”

  “Of course! I’m your personal servant. As long as I’m permitted to be there, I’ll certainly accompany you,” Yun Ruoyan replied without any hesitation. From how much emphasis the silver dragon elder placed on it, these sacrificial rites clearly served some important purpose, and she wanted to see what exactly could scare the holy maiden to this extent.

  “Yun’er,” the holy maiden said gratefully, “I don’t want to lie to you, so you should know that the rites are a terrible thing. Three of my boldest servants in the past accompanied me to the rites, and they were all ashen by the time they accompanied me out. If you’re afraid, you don’t have to come with me.”

  The holy maiden’s words only spurred Yun Ruoyan’s curiosity further, However, when she thought of the baby in her womb, she began to hesitate. “Holy Maiden, my cultivation isn’t particularly advanced, and I can’t protect you if we’re in any danger. Would I be a burden?”

  “No, we’ll be protected and very secure.”

  With the holy maiden’s affirmation, Yun Ruoyan relaxed. “Since there’s no danger, I’ll gladly accompany you, Holy Maiden. There’s nothing to fear.”

  Although Yun Ruoyan was almost a mother of two, she was only in her twenties. On the other hand, the holy maiden was already nearing a hundred. Nevertheless, she still seemed like a little sister relying on Yun Ruoyan’s protection.

  Yun Ruoyan told Li Mo about the upcoming sacrificial rites, but he had already heard about them independently. He was intending on being one of the guards present for the rites, further allaying Yun Ruoyan’s concerns.

  Two days passed in the blink of an eye. The holy maiden and Yun Ruoyan both put on long, silvery-white robes, then followed a few other similarly dressed servants to the silver dragon temple.

  The rites didn’t seem like a particularly large-scale affair. She accompanied the holy maiden through the stages of the ritual. When everyone then got up and left, she asked, “Holy Maiden, are the rites finished now? There hasn’t been anything scary yet, has there?”

  “It’s just beginning,” the holy maiden replied, her voice quavering. Yun Ruoyan glanced at her and noticed that her face was far paler than usual.

  After everyone else left, the holy maiden and Yun Ruoyan remained behind. The holy maiden was expected to remain in the temple and pray for the entire night. Yun Ruoyan, as her personal servant, was permitted to stay with her.

  Yun Ruoyan had seen Li Mo during the rites, but he had had to leave with the rest of the crowd. Soon, Yun Ruoyan and the holy maiden were the only two people within the temple.

  As night descended, the holy maiden became more and more jittery. However, no matter how Yun Ruoyan asked her about what would happen next, or why she was so scared, she simply shook her head and refused to speak. It wasn’t that she was unwilling to tell Yun Ruoyan, but that she was scared of even describing it.

  “Please don’t ask me anymore, Yun’er. You’ll find out soon enough.”

  When night fully enveloped the temple, the interior of the temple lit up with glowing white orbs embedded into the walls, making it as bright as day. Although there were quite a number of ancestral tablets in the temple, as well as a few intricately carved statues of silver dragons, these weren’t particularly scary to Yun Ruoyan.

  “It’s time,” the holy maiden murmured, standing up from the mat on which she was kneeling. Yun Ruoyan followed suit. Her face no longer showed any traces of fear; instead, it was icy cold, numb, wooden, as though she had suddenly become a different person entirely.