3:18 – Myriad Heavens – II
Zhan Yue and Xiong Jie had recently arrived at Xian Ni as the first of those from the Sword Mountain Sect. Unlike the ordinary disciples that would arrive later, as the strongest in the sect among the current generation, Zhan Yue as a Late Core Formation expert and Xiong Jie as a Middle Nascent Soul expert, they were sent first to gauge the situation.
After hearing yet another Wang Clan member praised Xinxin’s beauty, Zhan Yue turned towards Xiong Jie and said, “Let’s just hurry up and find the place we’re supposed to stay.”
Xiong Jie nodded.
It was noon. The sun was high in the sky and the clouds were nowhere in sight. Overall, a pleasant day and far too nice to be spending indoors. Despite that fact, taverns all over Xian Ni were filled to the brim with customers ordering alcohol and wasting the day away. This was especially true for the pavilions used to host foreign guests, and that fact didn’t change for the Purple Cloud Pavilion where Zhan Yue and Xiong Jie were arranged to stay.
Stepping through the doors of the Purple Cloud Pavilion with Xiong Jie by her side, Zhan Yue wrinkled her nose in disgust.
The Purple Cloud Pavilion was well known amongst the upper echelon for its elegance and created to match the Emerald Pavilion in the Zhan Clan. However, where the Emerald Pavilion exemplified nature’s beauty, the Purple Cloud Pavilion showed the majesty of humanity. Sleek architecture made with precious metals like crimson gold and mithril created a towering building that looked like something descended from the heavens. Inside, furs from high-ranked profound beasts lined the floor and walls while beautiful courtesans and valiant waiters walked from table to table to serve ancient wine and other luxuries.
It was meant for high class individuals to gather and socialize, but at the moment it was filled with a chaotic din. Young masters clung off the courtesans, calling out to them with abandon. Young ladies coquettishly hid their faces with fans as they called over the handsome waiters. And then, in the center of the room, the arena for gambling and exhibition matches were crowded with arrogant young men trying to woo the ladies.
“How distasteful,” Zhan Yue said. “These are supposed to be the upper echelon of the dynasty’s clans?”
Xiong Jie didn’t respond. Instead, he was staring at the arena, his hand twitching towards the sword at his side.
Zhan Yue rolled her eyes and grabbed his arm. “Let’s go, big bro. You can go fight after we get our room and I spend some time polishing your sword.”
At that, Xiong Jie stopped and then turned towards Zhan Yue, giving her a loose smile. “I’ll be looking forward to it then, junior sister.”
The pair of Sword Mountain Sect disciples headed towards the counter that managed the reservations. A young man in black robes served as the teller, patiently dealing with the customers. There was a long line, as they weren’t the first to arrive, not to mention the fact that the other patrons had business as well.
Zhan Yue furrowed her brow at that but kept quiet. Even she knew better than to run her mouth in a place like that with so many nearby to hear her.
Eventually, it was their turn to check-in. However, before they could, a cloaked figure cut in line before them.
The teller frowned and said, “Dear customer. I’m afraid you have to-“
The cloaked figure tossed a jade slip on the counter.
Seeing that, the teller’s eyes widened and he shut his mouth.
While Zhan Yue didn’t know the identity of the figure or that jade slip, that was the last straw for her. The former member of the Zhan Clan reached out and grabbed the figure’s shoulder. “You! Know your place! Even if you’re from some mighty clan, there are rules to follow here!”
Beside her, Xiong Jie stepped forward, his hand grasping his sword’s hilt. The large and muscular man loosed a bit of his killing intent to intimidate the cloaked figure.
At once, the boisterous atmosphere chilled. Countless eyes were drawn to the pair of Sword Mountain Sect disciples.
Zhan Yue noticed, but refused to back down. “Well?” She pulled the figure’s shoulder and said, “Are you going to answer me or not?”
The teller turned towards Zhan Yue and said, “Dear customer, I believe that it would be best if you-“
Zhan Yue glared at him and said, “I wasn’t talking to you, idiot!” After that, she turned her attention back to the cloaked figure.
There was no response.
Seeing that, Zhan Yue scowled. “Daring to ignore me? Fine!” She pushed the cloaked figure away and said, “Don’t think we Sword Mountain Sect disciples are easy to push around! Senior brother!”
Xiong Jie drew his sword and stepped forward. Killing intent soared and crimson light gathered around the blade. With that light, the muscular man’s face twisted in malice and he roared. “Die!”
Zhan Yue watched with cold glee. Having her senior brother punish those who annoyed her was a favorite pasttime for the former Zhan Clan member. And seeing his powerful killing intent soar, it was worth those years dual cultivating with him, even if it meant giving up everything she once held precious.
Seeing the exchange happen, the teller sighed. “I warned you.”
Hearing those words only made Zhan Yue more excited. Mistakenly, she thought he was talking about the cloaked figure.
The teller saw the look in Zhan Yue’s eyes and shook his head.
A powerful slash bearing the killing intent and power of a Mid-stage Nascent Soul expert cut through the air towards the cloaked figure that still had yet to turn around.
A melodious voice echoed through the air and the sword came to a halt, along with the energy behind the attack.
Xinxin stared at crimson sword in her left hand, and then shifted her gaze to its wielder. Although he was more hideous than ever with those disgustingly large muscles, she could recognize the man as the person her Sifu put down two years ago. And then the woman standing next to him and the one who spoke so rudely to her… right. That was Zhan Yue, wasn’t it?
Xiong Jie’s muscles bulged as he tried to pull back his sword.
Zhan Yue narrowed her eyes and sent Xinxin a venomous scowl before turning to Xiong Jie. “Senior brother! Stop playing around!”
“Are you going to let your junior sister lose face like this? In front of all the clan scions?”
Xiong Jie roared and then strained even harder. The crimson energy wrapping his sword crept up his arms into his veins and then dyed his skin black.
Xinxin didn’t know what secret technique it was, demonic or otherwise, but she knew that it wasn’t enough.
Energy surged from her dantian and Xinxin took a step forward.
Since his sword was in Xinxin’s immovable grasp, Xiong Jie was forced to take a step back to match her advance.
Zhan Yue’s eyes widened. “Big bro-“
“Still leeching off another with that venomous beauty, I see. Should I congratulate you for reaching the end of the Core Formation stage, or ridicule you for having to receive a man’s yang energy to take you there?”
Zhan Yue shifted her attention to Xinxin and then narrowed her eyes. Zhan Yue swept her hand through the air and then pulled out an emerald sword. “I don’t know who you are, but no one ridicules Zhan Yue!”
Xinxin sighed. “And you still lack common sense. Attacking me out in public with all these witnesses… you might not represent the Zhan Clan anymore, but the Sword Mountain Sect won’t take kindly to their reputation being tarnished, will they?”
Zhan Yue charged, swinging her sword at Xinxin. Her qi flared and gathered around her sword, no doubt some sort of high level sword technique.
Xinxin didn’t move, simply watching Zhan Yue approach.
The former Zhan Clan member swung her sword and shouted, “Howling Wind Slash!”
Invisible blades cut through the air at Xinxin’s head.
Zhan Yue grinned, and then the smile on her face froze.
While the force from the attack wasn’t enough to scathe Xinxin, it was enough to blow off the hood of her cloak.
Xinxin stared at Zhan Yue’s shocked expression and then muttered, “I was planning to reveal it later, but I guess this is as good a place as any.”
She stared around at the various clan and sect scions seated around the pavilion. Though a few gazes were filled with desire, most were filled with appreciation and curiosity.
Xinxin turned her gaze back to the pair of fools in front of her and then released her suppressed cultivation base.
Within Xian Ni, there was a palace dedicated specifically for the upper echelon of the Wang Clan. There, the elders of the Wang Clan, Wang Tian’s father, and Wang Tian himself were gathered.
It was a small room meant for such gatherings. A round table and chairs were setup, as well as enough alcohol and appetizers to wile the day away. There, Wang Tian’s father, Wang Yu, his grandfather and a few uncles were gathered to celebrate.
Wang Yu let out a raucous laugh as he downed a cup of wine. He clapped the shoulder of his son and said, “I still can’t believe it! My son, a Saint within twenty years! Not only that, but you’re going to be a man soon with a heaven-defying beauty for a wife!” He laughed again and then poured himself another cup of wine. “I must have saved an entire world in my past life for such good fortune!”
Wang Tian’s grandfather, Wang Zuo, chuckled. “You, son? If it weren’t for me risking my life to gain the emperor’s favor, would we even be talking about this right now?”
“Ah.” Wang Yu scratched his nose. “You’re right, father. But can’t I be proud for my son for once? You got your chance already when I reached the Late Nascent Soul stage, didn’t I?”
“Hmph. Say that to me again when you undergo your tribulation to become a Saint.”
Watching all the festivities around him, Wang Tian frowned and stared into his cup.
Him, marrying Xinxin… everyone saw it as a foregone conclusion. And, in all honesty, Wang Tian wished for it as well. But knowing her and how quiet she had been these past years, it wasn’t going to happen. There was too much bad karma between them now, carried over from the past until the present. Not only that, but with the firm presence of that ‘Sifu’ in Xinxin’s heart, it was impossible for him to have a place.
She might not have realized it yet, but that obsession of hers… something like that wouldn’t be born from simple longing.
A wave of domineering power swept throughout the city.
Wang Zuo immediately stood up. The elderly man, while old, was far from frail and immediately sent out his own power to suppress that wave. With it, the air of a Saint descended upon Xian Ni.
Wang Yu reacted next. His gleeful expression vanished, replaced with one of complete seriousness. “A Saint? Acting up in our city?” He tossed aside his cup and scowled. “It seems that some guests have mistaken our hospitality for weakness.”
“Hmph.” Wang Zuo let out a cold snort and then began walking out of the room. “We shall see.”
Wang Yu immediately followed, along with Wang Tian’s uncles.
Wang Tian stared at his cup for another moment before downing the alcohol within it. After that, he followed his elders.
The Wang Clan patriarchs walked out of the gathering room and then stepped out into the palace courtyard. There, Wang Zuo flew into the air while the others pulled out flying swords, raring to fly towards the source of the trouble.
But before they left, Wang Tian spoke out. “Everyone, wait a moment.”
“Hm?” Wang Zuo turned around and frowned. “What are you waiting for, boy? Come. It’s time I showed you how we treat upstarts.”
Wang Tian shook his head and then turned towards the source of the domineering power. “This is my problem… but more than that, they’re already here.”
“What are you-“
The wind howled as intense spiritual pressure filled the air. Wang Zuo was sent crashing to the ground, and the same was true of the other Wang patriarchs.
“This… power…!” The elderly Wang Zuo grit his teeth and tried to resist. Yet, even the strength of a Saint wasn’t enough to resist it.
Even so, Wang Tian stood tall, unaffected.
He stared at the intruder and then let out a soft sigh. “So it seems that you finally decided to show your face again after all these years. But.” Wang Tian narrowed his eyes and then clenched the air.
The power of laws spread out and coalesced into a sword. A pure crystal blade that reflected the infinite blue sky appeared in Wang Tian’s right hand. Grabbing its hilt, Wang Tian raised it at his opponent. “Do you possess the strength to defy the Xia dynasty and stop this marriage?”