3:14 – Wang Clan – I
Xinxin woke up in a comfortable bed. But, glancing around, she realized that she didn’t know where she was. The room she found herself in was ornate, with elegant carvings and silk tapestries, but it was completely unfamiliar.
“Where am I…? She muttered.
A calm voice answered her. “You are in my home at the Wang Clan, Xinxin.”
Xinxin flinched and turned her head.
Wang Tian stood off to the side, leaning against a wall. It seemed that he was watching over her while she was unconscious.
A second passed as Xinxin’s mind processed the information and then she grabbed her pillow and tossed it at him. “Pervert! Did you take advantage of me?!”
She quickly lifted her sheet and examined her body. Nothing seemed out of place, but-
Wang Tian grabbed the pillow from the air and sighed. “No, Xinxin. I swear on to the heavens that I did nothing towards to you while you were unconscious.”
Only after hearing that did Xinxin relax. As powerful as Wang Tian was, he wouldn’t risk his cultivation and his life over a lie.
Still, Xinxin narrowed her eyes and covered her body with the sheet as she stared at Wang Tian. “Then explain why I’m at your house and why I’m naked.”
Wang Tian was quiet.
“Do you remember where we were?”
Xinxin stopped to think and then nodded. “We were back at my clan grounds… and my home, right? There-“
A phantom pain passed through her chest. Xinxin flinched and looked down, only to find unblemished skin.
“…I was attacked?”
Wang Tian nodded. “Yes. A formidable expert attacked you beneath my gaze.” His calm demeanor dimmed a bit at that. “I apologize. If I was a bit stronger, Xinxin, that-“
Xinxin rolled her eyes. “Just get on with it, Wang Tian.”
The heavenly prince nodded. “After I noticed that you were wounded, I immediately took you back here and did my best to heal you. Fortunately, your new physique allowed you to heal rapidly, even when missing your heart.”
“Missing my heart…?” Xinxin muttered and patted her chest. She remembered the pain she felt and that cold hand piercing her body.
“Wait,” Xinxin said. “Why here? Why didn’t you just stay with me at the Zhan Clan?”
Wang Tian was quiet again.
Xinxin thought she might have to provoke him, but the the Wang scion said, “Because there was no one left alive.”
Xinxin froze. “What do you mean no one left alive? They… people were just hiding in their homes, weren’t they?”
“…As I thought. You didn’t notice it, did you?”
“What didn’t I notice?”
Wang Tian shook his head. “I do not think-“
“WHAT DIDN’T I NOTICE?!”
Wang Tian stared at Xinxin and sighed. “An illusion formation. The experts involved had used it to cover the Zhan Clan, most likely targeting those of its bloodline. I thought it strange at the time, but… tell me, Xinxin. What did you see when we arrived?”
Xinxin frowned. “…It was just empty, wasn’t it?”
Wang Tian shook his head. “No. To you, it must have been, but in actuality the entire clan was filled with corpses.”
“It was a gruesome sight. Men and women, young and old, drained of their life essence. Withered husks on the verge of crumbling, and even some that were no more than piles of dust.”
Xinxin’s eyes grew wide and she covered her ears. “You’re lying! Lying! LYING!”
Covering her ears didn’t stop Xinxin from hearing Wang Tian’s words.
“I am not. I vow to the heavens that this is true.”
With that, Xinxin lowered her hands. “Impossible…” she muttered. “Sifu wouldn’t… He could be cruel and violent, but he wouldn’t…!”
Wang Tian’s eyes narrowed. “Sifu?”
Xinxin nodded. In her shock, she didn’t think of hiding any information and told Wang Tian about her Sifu. How she found Sifu in the bamboo forest. How she convinced him to be her Sifu. How he taught her and helped raise her cultivation. Everything except how he almost killed her when he first woke up.
Wang Tian was quiet after hearing everything and then left without a word.
Xinxin didn’t say anything to his departure, still shocked.
Was she wrong about her Sifu? Why would he act in such a cruel way? Why would he do such terrible things?
…He was her Sifu. Wouldn’t he cherish her more than that? Weren’t his actions done out of kindness?
Xinxin shook her head. “No. Sifu told me already.”
She realized it.
He already gave her his word. That he was a man who would kill on a whim. That he couldn’t promise her happiness, only power. That he would even wipe out her clan if he felt it would benefit him. That he would let Xinxin die if she was that weak.
She wasn’t wrong about her Sifu. She was just projecting qualities onto her Sifu that didn’t exist. Things that she wanted to see, but didn’t.
Xinxin pulled her knees up to her chest and wrapped herself in the covers.
In a twisted way, he did act in her best interests. The clan responsible for her marriage was gone. Even if the Wang Clan wanted to push through with the marriage, Xinxin, who lacked any sort of backing now, was the worst candidate for Wang Tian’s wife.
She was free. But the cost of it was her entire clan. Even innocent people that weren’t involved, that had supported her, like Xiaomei.
Everyone, gone. And now she was the only member left of the Zhan Clan. Someone who couldn’t even carry the name if she wanted to.
Something dropped onto the bed in front of her. A package, appearing out of thin air.
Xinxin blinked and then rubbed her eyes to make sure she wasn’t seeing things. Yet, even after a few minutes of doing that, the package was still there.
Xinxin glanced around and double checked with her spiritual sense to see if anyone was there that could have been responsible for it.
Curious but cautious, Xinxin picked up the package to examine it.
The package was wrapped in plain brown parchment and tied together with black string.
Xinxin cut through the string with a bit of qi and then unwrapped the parchment. When she did, she saw a book, a bundle of clothes, and two pieces of paper.
When she picked up the first piece of paper and saw the handwriting, Xinxin’s eyes widened.