3:13 – Information Concealment
The scion of the Wang Clan landed on the ground a few steps from Xinxin and nodded his head slightly. “Xiao Xinxin.”
“Don’t call me that!” Xinxin crossed her arms and glared. “We aren’t married, no matter what my father or your father thinks!”
Wang Tian frowned and stared for at Xinxin.
She glared back.
Eventually, Wang Tian nodded and said, “Then… Lady Xinxin.” He took a look around the surroundings and said, “What are you doing here in the middle of nowhere?”
Xinxin scoffed and turned her back to Wang Tian and started walking back towards her clan grounds. Although she wanted to run, she refused to give the heavenly prince the satisfaction of thinking she was afraid of him.
She thought it would be enough of a hint, but Wang Tian was either too dense or too stubborn as he started walking after her.
Xinxin grit her teeth and then said, “It’s none of your business! Just leave me alone!”
Xinxin turned around to glare at Wang Tian.
He met her glare with a calm gaze.
“Hmph.” Xinxin turned back around. Whatever. That annoying guy could follow her if he wanted. If she treated him like air, Prince High-and-Mighty would eventually get bored and head back to wherever he came from.
Time passed in a tense silence, with the only sounds being those of Xinxin’s footprints and a soft breeze.
Now if only that was because Wang Tian had left, the situation would have been perfect. But it wasn’t. Although Xinxin didn’t turn around to check, she could still see his qi fluctuations in the air with her spiritual sense.
It was impossible not too. The entire surroundings were dyed a pure cobalt, Wang Tian’s qi too dense and and copious to avoid filling the air.
Of course, with the change in Xinxin’s body, that just meant she had another chance to increase her strength, so she didn’t mind it that much.
But it did annoy her. That guy… it wasn’t that long ago that they were talking about him achieving Core Formation stage. Yet, Wang Tian seemed to have not only skipped that but stepped a foot into the Saint realm judging from how he was able to fly in the air.
Xinxin walked for an hour and Wang Tian quietly followed after her.
Finally, she was fed up and spun around. “Wang Tian! Leave. Me. Alone!”
Wang Tian narrowed his eyes. “And risk my fiancee being harmed by foreigners? I refuse.”
“You-! ARGH! Why are you like this!? I don’t want you to follow me around!”
Wang Tian shook his head. “I promised Uncle Long to protect you, and I won’t go against my word. You’re free to keep your business to yourself, but I can’t allow you to be wandering around without a guard.”
“Listen here, Wang Tian!” Xinxin stepped towards Wang Tian and pointed a finger. “I don’t like you! I won’t marry you! And if it wasn’t for the fact that my father has the betrothal contract hidden away, I would have already torn it up by now!”
“But you haven’t, have you? That makes you my fiancee.”
Xinxin’s face flushed red in anger. “You… you…! Gah, I’m speechless talking to you! Why do you keep bothering me every single time?! Go back to your closed door cultivation and just become a Saint already! I’m fine!”
“I refuse. A young maiden like yourself is always at danger, and that’s even more true when you’re alone. Were the events just earlier not enough proof?”
“I was handling it!”
“…By almost dying?”
“It was going to be fine! I’m stronger than I look!”
Wang Tian raised an eyebrow and then scanned Xinxin from head to toe.
Xinxin flinched and covered her chest. “What are you looking at, you pervert!?”
“My fiancee. Is there a problem with that?”
“YES! For the hundredth time, I’m not going to be your fiancee!”
Wang Tian didn’t respond for a moment. But then he said, “I admit that your cultivation has increased leaps and bounds. I don’t know what miraculous pill or technique you were bestowed to achieve Late Core Formation in such a short time, or how you changed your physique, but it’s far from enough to protect yourself.”
Xinxin opened her mouth and then forcibly shut it. She spun around and started marching off, muttering, “It’s not worth it, Xinxin. It’s just like talking to a wall. Just leave him be.”
Wang Tian was always like that. Self-righteous, arrogantly declaring himself as her fiance even against her wishes and writing off her capabilities… and then he had those obnoxious admirers who kept making Xinxin’s life troublesome, like Zhan Yue.
If she had known that heading back to the clan would have resulted in meeting Wang Tian, Xinxin would have gone the other direction first.
Though… it was a bit strange. The Wang Clan was to the north of the Xia Dynasty, keeping guard near the Black Tortoise. Why was Wang Tian so far south? Was he looking for her? Did her father send him knowing that was where Sifu took her? Or was it coincidence?
In the end, Xinxin decided it didn’t matter.
Again, the air grew silent. Xinxin was adamant in treating Wang Tian like air and the heavenly prince seemed content to simply follow her around.
The arrogant guy probably just didn’t want his beautiful ‘fiancee’ to get harmed.
…Though he seemed a bit mellower than last time they met. Could he have matured in closed door cultivation? Pft. No, if it was because of that Zhan Yue wouldn’t be so vicious from all of her closed door cultivation.
It was probably because of her new appearance. With her dantian’s reformation, her body had changed as well.
Xinxin didn’t have a chance to look at her appearance yet due to lacking a mirror or pond to see her reflection, but she didn’t doubt that her beauty would have been magnified tens if not hundreds of times over.
Sadly, that was the downside for someone like her gaining more power.
If only her Sifu was there with her. While a bit harsh, he at least would have treated her the same as usual.
The walk back to the clan grounds continued in silence until they arrived at the southern entrance.
Like the one that Xinxin and her Sifu first arrive at, the southern entrance was protected by a wooden gate. There should have also been a pair of guards manning it, but no matter where Xinxin looked, she couldn’t see any trace of them.
Before Xinxin could do anything else, Wang Tian suddenly appeared in front of Xinxin, his back facing her.
“Wang Tian! For the last time, I don’t-“
“Quiet. Do you sense that?”
Xinxin glared at Wang Tian’s back for a moment before reluctantly focusing on sensing her surroundings. From the sound of Wang Tian’s tone, it seemed to be something serious. Yet, Xinxin didn’t detect anything out of the ordinary.
“I don’t sense anything, Wang Tian.”
The heavenly prince nodded. “That’s it. Nothing. But at this time of day, don’t you think it’s strange that we can’t sense anything?”
Xinxin froze. As loathe as she was to admit it, Wang Tian had a point. It should be nearing noon with all the time they spent traveling back. The clan should have been bustling with life and activity. Yet, not only where there no guards, Xinxin didn’t sense any signs of qi or even spiritual energy.
Wang Tian flicked the right sleeve of his azure robes. In an instant, a black sword had appeared in his hand. “Follow closely, be ready for combat, and stay quiet .”
Although it grated Xinxin to listen to Wang Tian, she agreed with his decision. Focusing her qi again, she formed a sword in her right hand and then followed after Wang Tian.
The two silently entered the clan grounds by walking through the gate. A road cutting through the inner village led to the Zhan Clan Manor, and it was that which the two followed. Yet, along the way, Xinxin couldn’t help but take a look around.
The Emerald Pavilion towered over the grounds as usual, yet there was no one inside. As they ventured deeper into the grounds, Xinxin realized that it wasn’t just the pavilion either. The houses and street corners that were usually bustling with activity were completely empty.
After walking even further in silence, Wang Tian said, “Xinxin. Do you have any idea what’s happening?”
She shook her head. “I don’t.”
That fact unnerved her. In a week, her home had turned into a ghost town. It would have been one thing if there were traces of blood or slaughter, but there was none of that. Everyone was just… gone.
Wang Tian frowned and then started walking faster.
And then the two arrived at the Zhan Clan Manor.
There, the first signs of struggle were seen. The front doors of the manor had been broken down and splashes of blood were scattered everywhere.
“A fight?” Xinxin muttered.
Wang Tian shook his head. “No. Not a fight, but rather-“ The heavenly prince’s eyes widened and he spun around. Without a word, he grabbed Xinxin and jumped into the air.
“WANG TIAN! You-“
Whatever Xinxin was going to say next was lost as she saw the reason why Wang Tian had suddenly acted.
There, in the place where Xinxin just stood, the ground was torn apart, huge chunks missing as if giant talons had clawed the earth.
Wang Tian quickly landed and shoved Xinxin to the side. Immediately after, he swung his sword through the air.
Xinxin thought that was strange. There wasn’t anything there, so why did Wang Tian-
The sound of steel grinding against something unyielding filled the air. At the same time, the space in front of Wang Tian rippled and ‘something’ moved.
No, not ‘something’.
And Xinxin knew exactly who that ‘someone’ was.
The young beauty unsteadily got to her feet. “Sifu…?”
That ‘someone’ froze and then completely vanished.
Xinxin blinked and looked around. Was that really her Sifu, or was she imagining things? And why did it vanish?
Wang Tian stood still and cautiously looked around as well. The heavenly prince slowly turned in a circle, his sword raised and at the ready.
After enough time for an incense stick to burn passed, Wang Tian lowered his guard.
Seeing that, Xinxin did the same. But the moment she did, Xinxin felt a cold hand thrust through her chest.
Xinxin’s sword faded and she felt all the strength leave her body, something siphoning away all of her qi. Even so, she forced her body to stand, grabbing onto the arm of her attacker.
Nothing was there. No one was standing there. No one was attacking her. And because no one was attacking her, there were no signs of her distress. Even as she stood there, dying from blood loss as well as her dantian crumbling from her qi being siphoned away, Wang Tian, only a few paces away, didn’t notice a thing.
With the little breath she could muster, Xinxin muttered, “Si…fu…?”
Her attacker’s response was to wrench their hand away, tearing out Xinxin’s heart.
Losing the support propping up her drained body, Xinxin fell to the ground with a soft thud and she blacked out.