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    Chapter 160 - Master, Do You Remember the Voice-Changing Spell in That Inn?

    Upon hearing this, many of the surrounding guests wore looks of disdain, their eyes darting between Ye Wangxi, Nan Gongsi, and Song Qiutong.

    Someone whispered, "What a disgrace..."

    "Why isn't Young Master Nan angry?"

    "It turns out Miss Song had no choice... Ah, it's not her fault... As a young lady, what could she do in front of two prominent young masters?"

    The black-clad man, who had learned to Forget Affections, was caught off guard by Tianwen's strike. Fortunately, he dodged quickly and wasn't severely injured, though his cloak did tear, causing blood to splatter. He grunted but didn't dare to delay further, taking care to avoid Chu Wanning's willow vines even more diligently. However, he still didn't let up on his verbal attack against Ye Wangxi.

    "Young Master Ye, Miss Song's reluctance to acknowledge what happened the other day might be due to her concern for your relationship with Young Master Nan. But the heavens see all, and justice hangs high. Don't you feel any shame at all, with no intention of apologizing publicly?!"

    Ye Wangxi was furious but found the situation ridiculous. He replied, "What crime have I committed?"

    "If you haven't committed a crime, does that mean Miss Song is the only one at fault? Although she didn't resist later on, I believe it was because she was coerced by you. Are you trying to say she was the one who initiated it, instead of you forcing her?"

    At that moment, Nan Gongsi, who had been silent until now, suddenly turned around and looked down at Song Qiutong, reaching out to help her up.

    Yet, Song Qiutong assumed he was reaching out to verify the existence of her guzhuang sand on her wrist. Upon waking up that morning, she discovered the cinnabar had vanished, causing her heart to race with panic. However, the more she tried to clarify such matters, the murkier they became. Since she was about to consummate her marriage with Nan Gongsi soon, the cinnabar would naturally disappear by then. Thus, she decided it was better to remain silent for now to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings.

    Never did she expect someone to so maliciously defame her...

    Recalling that she was indeed rescued by Ye Wangxi and once served as his attendant, and considering the disappearance of her cinnabar and the revelation of her leg's birthmark, she found herself at a loss for words, her mind buzzing with confusion. Amidst the chaos, she lifted her damp eyes to survey the crowd, who gazed at her with disdain and pity. Whispers and gossip swirled around them, while Ye Wangxi stood alone, his face darkened as he was condemned by countless voices and shunned by the guests.

    The black-clad figure was still being pursued by Master Chu's willow vines across the venue, incessantly shouting, "Ye Wangxi! Our grudge has been long-standing, and today, I'll expose you! You're a hypocrite! You've been secretly involved with the Young Lord's wife, forcing innocent maidens into your grasp. How despicable!"

    Song Qiutong froze, suddenly realizing what she needed to do. Clearing her name was no longer feasible. From the black-clad man's tone, he seemed to bear a deep grudge against Ye Wangxi and was determined to tarnish the noble reputation of this gentleman as pure as the wind.

    She could not bear the guilt of adultery, but if she followed the black-robed man's suggestion and claimed that she was coerced by Ye Wangxi, then at least...

    She cried out hysterically, "He's the one who ruined me!"

    Nan Gongsi's hand stiffened, and he stood rooted to the spot, staring at her in disbelief. It was as if he couldn't accept that his betrothed had been defiled by his father's right-hand man, leaving him utterly stunned.

    Song Qiutong covered her face and sobbed, her voice quivering, "Yes, it was young master Ye who mistreated me. He... he forced me... I never agreed to anything..."

    Nan Gongsi glared at her, the flickering candlelight casting shadows that alternated between light and dark, reflecting the turmoil in his eyes. After a moment, he let go of Song Qiutong's hand, his voice hoarse as sparks flew from his words, "Do you know what you're saying?"

    Seeing his anger, Song Qiutong's heart sank even further. She cried, "Young Master, I'm sorry... I was afraid that you wouldn't accept me, so... I've always... always been too scared to say... I was even more afraid... more afraid that after speaking out, it would cause a rift between Young Master Ye and you. He's so highly favored by the Sect Leader, if there were any misunderstandings between you two, how could the Confucian Wind Sect possibly fare well?" As she spoke, she bowed her head, her long sleeves draping to the ground, her slender shoulders trembling with fear. She appeared both pitiful and lamentable.

    "Qiutong really doesn't know what to do... I don't dare ask the Sect Leader for help, the humiliation I've endured can only be concealed by myself... Young Master, Qiutong is guilty towards you, but... but my feelings for you are genuine..."

    Nan Gongsi, however, paled, stepping back and shaking his head, repeating, "Do you... Do you know what you're saying?"

    Song Qiutong's black hair spread across her shoulders like a silk ribbon, shimmering in the lamplight, making her seem all the more vulnerable. Through her sobs, she said, "It's Qiutong's fault for hiding things from you. But I'm alone and helpless, I..."

    Nan Gongsi suddenly bellowed, interrupting her, "Do you know what you've just said?!"

    "I..." Song Qiutong trembled violently at his roar, lifting her tear-streaked face upward. Her delicate beauty was marred by sorrow, her lips quivering, "I..."

    "You actually did such a thing? You... You dared to... You actually dared to do this!"

    Upon hearing Nan Gongsi's words, the onlookers couldn't help frowning, exchanging glances. Some even whispered softly, "We've heard that the Confucian Wind Sect holds men in high esteem while women are considered lowly, but we never expected such a situation. Nan Gongsi isn't blaming Ye Wangxi but instead, the innocent Miss Song who suffered. It's truly disheartening."

    "Yes, he seems incapable of distinguishing right from wrong."

    Chu Wanning had already retracted the willow vine when he heard Song Qiutong confess. Seeing Nan Gongsi's reaction now, he was also somewhat bewildered.

    In his memory, although Nan Gongsi was occasionally capricious and wilful, he was still an upright person and certainly not someone who would act without reason. If this matter were true, the blame should be placed on Ye Wangxi, not Song Qiutong.

    But from the looks of it now, all of Nan Gongsi's anger was directed at Song Qiutong alone... How could that be?

    Among the guests, only Mei Hanxue sat calmly amidst the chaos, sipping his wine while watching the spectacle. If Xue Meng were here, he would have noticed that Mei Hanxue was a completely different person from the one he had seen earlier. At this moment, Mei Hanxue seemed like a flirtatious rogue, with a hint of spring in his eyes, and every move exuding charm.

    Song Qiutong continued weeping bitterly, placing all the blame on Ye Wangxi for her wrongdoings. Ye Wangxi, probably shocked by her accusations, couldn't utter a word, only staring blankly at the woman he had once bid for at the Xuan Yuan Pavilion.

    "It was Qiutong's weakness that prevented me from taking my own life to prove my innocence before young master Ye's advances. I am but a drifting piece of driftwood, and everything I have is owed to you. Now... Now that I know I was in the wrong... I... I will accept whatever punishment you mete out..."

    Upon hearing her lamentations, Nan Gongsi abruptly lifted his head and closed his eyes.

    The originally warm and lively lights now cast dark shadows across his face. His eyelashes fluttered, as if he was trying hard to suppress something.

    His fists clenched tightly, his Adam's apple bobbing violently, just like the raging waves in his heart. He endured, his high cheekbones appearing cold and sharp, his temple veins pulsating wildly. He endured, his bones trembling, blood flowing like flames scorching his heart.

    He endured, but finally couldn't hold back any longer. Bursting with anger, he leaped up, drew his sword, and slashed the table in front of Song Qiutong in two! The cups and plates scattered messily!

    "Song Qiutong, do you know... the one thing I despise, abhor, and absolutely cannot tolerate in my life is lying!!" He suddenly yelled, "Ye Wangxi!"

    "....Young Master."

    "Ye Wangxi, come here!"

    "...."

    He spun around abruptly, his eyes moist and reddened. "Come here!!"

    Ye Wangxi stepped forward. The onlookers expected Nan Gongsi's sword to pierce straight into Ye Wangxi's chest in the next moment, tearing open the deceitful beast and pulling out its heart to throw onto the ground. They held their breaths, all tense as they watched this unfold.

    Nan Gongsi panted, staring at Ye Wangxi for a moment before he croaked, "....You, remove the Voice Altering Spell."

    "Voice Altering Spell?" Everyone was stunned, looking at each other in confusion. "What does that have to do with the Voice Altering Spell?"

    "Yeah, huh, but how odd. What could Ye Wangxi possibly need the Voice Altering Spell for? Was his original voice so terrifying that it would frighten others? Or is there something unspeakable about his original voice?"

    But Ye Wangxi lowered his gaze and said, "Young Master, it can't be undone."

    Nan Gongsi froze, staring at him. "What did you say?"

    "I've been using the Sound Altering Spell on myself since I was thirteen. For ten long years, I've spoken with this voice. The spell has become deeply ingrained in my spirit nucleus," Ye Wangxi paused and continued calmly, "I can no longer regain my original voice."

    "..." Nan Gongsi took a step back, horrorstruck. After a moment, he looked up at the enigmatic man seated high above, murmuring, "Father?"

    Nan Gongliu finally spoke. "Si'er, it is indeed regrettable, but... Ye Wangxi willingly chose to use the Sound Altering Spell. No one could have foreseen it coming to this. You shouldn't dwell on it too much."

    "But..."

    Nan Gongliu descended from the dais and stood among the layers of guards, his hands clasped behind his back as he spoke, "I know you have a deep bond with Ye Wangxi, and you're grateful for his loyalty over the years. But one matter is separate from another. He... has an illicit affair with Song Qiutong, disregarding moral principles and deceiving his superior. That is a capital offense."

    Completely taken aback by Nan Gongliu's words, Nan Gongsi exclaimed, "Father!"

    Nan Gongliu waved his hand, and a blue light flashed. Nan Gongsi was immediately enclosed within a binding barrier. At first, he was stunned, then he raged and pounded against it, but the barrier was the "Rectification Barrier," an heirloom of the Confucian Wind Sect. Due to a past incident of patricide and succession struggle, the sect leader's son would sign a blood pact with his father at a young age. This barrier was specifically designed to restrain the son, lasting for almost half an hour. No matter how powerful Nan Gongsi was, he couldn't break free.

    His cries within the barrier were sealed, unable to be heard outside...

    At this point, acknowledging Ye Wangxi and Song Qiutong's affair was better than revealing any more secrets of the Confucian Wind Sect. Nan Gongliu approached the black-clad figure, bowing respectfully, "Though I am unaware of any conflict between you and Ye Wangxi, I owe you a debt of gratitude for your timely reminder. Otherwise, misfortune would have surely befallen my family."

    The black-clad figure said nonchalantly, "Headmaster Nan Gong is too courteous."

    "Capture Ye Wangxi at once! Bring him to—"

    "Hold on."

    The sudden interruption by the black-clad figure made Nan Gongliu feel uneasy, but he still maintained his composed smile. "What more guidance do you have, sir?"

    "I'm wondering, your son merely mentioned something about voice-altering spells. Why is Headmaster Immortal so eager to imprison young master Ye?"

    "Cough, this is an internal matter of the Confucian Wind Sect, so it's not appropriate to discuss it here in detail..."

    The black-clad figure chuckled. "Headmaster Immortal truly understands the concept of sacrificing pawns to save the chariot for the sake of your sect's reputation. It's pitiful that Miss Ye has risked her life for your sect for over a decade, only to be unjustly implicated now for the sake of preserving your own dignity."

    Upon hearing these words, others were yet to react, but Nan Gongliu's expression changed abruptly.

    Seated below, Mei Hanxue smiled faintly, poured another cup of wine, took a sip, and then set it down.

    In the flickering candlelight, Nan Gongliu's face appeared somewhat sallow. After a moment, he forced a smile. "What Miss Ye... Sir, you..."

    The figure in black gazed intently, their voice resounding clearly and loudly throughout the grand hall, enunciating each word with profound impact.

    "Ye Wangxi is not a man at all."

    Author's Note: Sending my condolences to the ladies in the comment section who have their hearts set on Brother Ye 23333. I'm making a 50-meter dash first, let's talk it out, hahaha.

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