3:16 – Wang Clan – III
The Wang Clan was unlike the Zhan Clan. Where the Zhan Clan held their grounds from ancient times due to their ancestor’s prowess, the Wang Clan built up their grounds in the past few centuries, stemming from a feif bequeathed by the Emperor.
After being granted a mountain range to the north and assigned the duty to watch over the Black Turtle, the Wang Clan rose to prominence and slowly but surely began developing a reputation and foundation to rival the ancient clans.
As the most prominent in the clan, as well as ascending to the level of a Saint, Wang Tian’s home was on the highest mountain peak, overlooking all of the area. As if to reinforce the fact that he was above them all, Wang Tian had a villa on a towering mountain peak that allowed him to view the entire surroundings.
And as Wang Tian’s guest, that was where Xinxin stayed while her ‘fiance’ went about doing his clan duties.
It was a place fitting for a celestial or immortal. A pagoda was carved into the mountain itself, lined with jade and emerald bamboo tiles. In the morning, it was shrouded by mist, hidden from mortal eyes. At noon, it caught the sun’s rays and shone like a divine palace. And at night, it reflected the moon’s radiance, giving it a somber and solemn appearance.
Surrounding that pagoda were various buildings and attachments. Were it not for the fact that the imperial palace was even more impressive, it would have been possible to mistake that villa for the residence of the Yellow Dragon Emperor himself.
At the current time, it was early morning, with white mist covering the pagoda.
Since leaving Xinxin behind, Wang Tian hadn’t returned at all.
A week had passed and Xinxin made rapid progress in her cultivation. But whether because of her concerns or otherwise, she had reached a roadblock in her cultivation.
Xinxin strode out to the pagoda’s balcony and stared out at the distance.
From the current height and with her cultivation, she had a clear sight of everything within the Xia Dynasty. Like a lofty immortal descended from the heavens, it gave the illusion that everything was within her reach.
If she was in a different sort of mood, she would have been amused at how haughty Wang Tian was to have such a view for his home. But at that time, she was contemplative and the thought never came to mind. Instead, she just stared into the distance.
“Sifu, and father…”
Was it her fate to always be walking in the darkness? To operate under someone else’s command?
Xinxin didn’t know, but it felt like it. The curse of beauty. That was what it must have been.
The Xia Dynasty was vast and grand, but she couldn’t explore a single bit of it due to her beauty. No matter where she went, she would be accosted by men and women alike. Mortal, immortal… perhaps even demons and celestials would cross her path.
The only way out was to become stronger. To gain the strength to seize her fortune from the heavens themselves, like her Sifu said. But…
“It’s difficult, Sifu.”
She was alone, in a clan that didn’t truly care for her, with a fiance that was just enchanted by her beauty, and in a land that she could not explore.
Xinxin sighed and then shook her head. That was enough self-pity. Man proposed and heaven disposed. If she wanted to overturn that order, then she had to comprehend everything her Sifu left her.
Xinxin turned around and walked back inside the pagoda, heading to the room that Wang Tian left her.
Nobody greeted her along the way. Wang Tian, heavenly prince and haughty saint that he was, refused to admit any servants inside.
The room was elegant and serene. Intricate and valuable furnishings. If anything inside, be it the tapestries, the bed, or even the candles used to light the room, were taken down the mountain to sell, it would yield a fortune.
Even so, Xinxin ignored all of it and just sat down on her bed. From her dress, she pulled out the manual her Sifu left behind and studied it again, trying to comprehend the principles inside.
It seemed simple. Her Sifu described a law of the world inside the book of how nothing wrought chaos and then all of creation. When Xinxin read it, she felt something inside of herself resonate with it, yet something felt missing.
Xinxin kept reading the manual, but that feeling didn’t change. At the same time, her cultivation didn’t increase.
With a sigh, Xinxin put the manual away in her shirt and then closed her eyes, focusing her attention on her dantian.
Her consciousness entered an empty void. Within that void, there was a dark core, one absorbing all energy and light. According to what Xinxin knew, her cultivation was different. Most Core Formation stage cultivators had a colored core, reflecting their qi’s element, that would eventually evolve into a nascent soul, and then transcending heavenly tribulation would lead to Sainthood.
Yet, Xinxin’s core was different. The Core should be generating energy, but hers absorbed energy. A Core should create a repulsive force, yet hers created an attractive force. It was almost diametrically opposed to the normal cultivation path.
…Diametrically opposed? Opposed… opposite? That-
“So you are still here, Xinxin.”
A calm voice called out to her.
Xinxin opened her eyes and focused her attention back to the room.
A young man with flowing azure robes and a heroic visage leaned against the doorway to Xinxin’s room.
Xinxin narrowed her eyes. “Wang Tian. So you finally remember me?”
“I never forgot.” He stepped into the room, his eyes locked onto her form. “…You’ve grown stronger.”
“Hmph.” Xinxin crossed her arms. “What’s it to you?”
“It is important.” Wang Tian closed the door behind him and then spread out his qi and spiritual sense, shielding the room.
Xinxin froze and then immediately formed a sword from her qi. “Wang Tian. If you dare to try and force yourself on me, I swear by the heavens that I will-“
“I have news about your Sifu.”
Xinxin paused and then dissipated her sword, although she kept her guard up. “…This better not be a lie.”
“I would never-“
“Just get on with it already.”
Wang Tian stared at Xinxin and then sighed. “This past week, I have been discussing with my father and the elders of the clan. Because of what happened and our ties to the Zhan Clan, we took it upon ourselves to look further into what had occurred at the Zhan Clan.”
“And? What did you find?”
“There was more than one party at play. While there were traces of a powerful expert, there were also traces of foreign energies. Not qi or spiritual energy, but something else.”
Xinxin paused. “Foreign energies…?” She remembered the people that attacked her and then frowned. She thought it might be the case, but hearing it from Wang Tian confirmed it.
Wang Tian nodded. “It was similar to the ones who attacked you. Xinxin… do you know anything about it?”
Xinxin huffed. “Even if I did, why should I tell you?”
Wang Tian frowned. “If you know anything, it will help us avenge your clan.”
“And? That won’t bring anyone back.”
The Zhan Clan was gone and vengeance wouldn’t bring anyone back. But even if it could, if that meant going back to being a porcelain doll locked up in the manor, if that meant being just a piece of jade to be bartered, she would never accept it.
“Hmph. Why are you acting so familiar anyway? I’m grateful for you allowing me to stay here, but that doesn’t mean I’ve changed how I feel about you.”
Wang Tian sighed and then pulled out a piece of jade from his sleeve. He glanced at it for a bit, hesitating, and then tossed it towards Xinxin.
She grabbed it and stared at it. “What’s this?”
“A disguise technique so that you may explore the world and my personal talisman to avoid trouble. Seeing you stranded here is too pitiful.”
Xinxin scowled. “I don’t-“
A gust of wind swept through the room, and then Wang Tian was gone.
“Hmph. Don’t think I’ll like you any better with this.” Xinxin muttered and stared at the piece of jade.
Two characters were inscribed on it, the same as that guy’s name.
She didn’t want his help. She didn’t want to sow karma between them. But if that talisman would let her explore…
Xinxin grit her teeth and then sent out her spiritual sense into the piece of jade. After reading it, her irritation died down a bit. Even so, she muttered, “I still don’t like you, Wang Tian.”