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Chapter 693: Xue Mei

Xiao Yan slowly walked into the Alchemist Association which occupied an enormous swath of land with Hai Bodong. The noisiness behind him was gradually cast aside and a faint medicinal fragrance spread out from the place, causing one to feel relaxed and happy.

The current Alchemist Association was much more powerful and prosperous in terms of ability and numbers compared to three years ago following alchemists repeatedly joining them during these three years. At the very least, there had seldom been such large human traffic within the association back then.

Hai Bodong needed to perform some preparations after entering the association. Hence, he merely told Xiao Yan the location of the meeting before leaving by himself.

Xiao Yan still possessed some feelings toward this Alchemist Association he had parted with three years ago. Back then, he had experienced a great medicinal refining competition that was extremely tough for him. However, he was at most considered a tier 3 alchemist who could refine a tier 4 medicinal pill when he participated in the competition back then. However, now he was a tier 6 alchemist who could be compared to Pill-King Gu He! This improvement was not a small one…

Xiao Yan's gaze looked in all directions before pulling Zi Yan, whose face was also filled with curiosity, as they slowly walked to the transaction area. If one had good perception and was lucky, one might be able to find quite a good thing in such a place. The 'Skyfire Three Mysterious Change' of Xiao Yan was something that he had luckily obtained from this place.

Xiao Yan walked into the transaction area with Zi Yan. The vendors seemed endless and the black mass of human heads caused Xiao Yan to let out an exclamation. Following the growth of the Alchemist Association during these three years, the size of the transaction area had greatly expanded.

Xiao Yan's sweeping gaze suddenly paused just after he entered the transaction area. He was somewhat stunned to see a figure that was as white as snow not far away.

The figure was wearing a white dress while her long hair was emitting an icy-cool that was just like snowflakes. This somewhat familiar figure caused Xiao Yan to recall the disciple of Frank whom he had met in the Black Rock City when he was training in the Jia Ma Empire three years ago, Xue Mei.

Xiao Yan gained quite the positive feeling for Fu Lan Ke back then. That old man had helped him out quite a bit. Although this was because the latter wanted to persuade Xiao Yan to participate in the Alchemist Grand Meeting, he did not have any ill intentions. This girl who had an ice-cold snow-like character also gave Xiao Yan quite a good impression.

"I wonder how have they been these three years?" This thought flashed across Xiao Yan's heart, but he did not take the initiative to go over and strike up a conversation. After looking at her from a distance, he withdrew his gaze from that snow-white figure. He pulled Zi Yan along as he slowly walked through this transaction area with a fierce human flow.

Not long after Xiao Yan had joined the human flow, Xue Mei who had bent her body to study a medicinal ingredient turned her head around. She seemed to have sensed something. The exquisite, ethereal snowy-mountain-like face carried some uncertainty, causing the surrounding human traffic that was coming and going to involuntarily slow their footsteps. Their gazes looked at her somewhat greedily.

Xue Mei knit her eyebrows slightly in the face of the surrounding gazes. She immediately slowly entered the human crowd before disappearing.

Xiao Yan pulled Zi Yan and walked along the small path filled with vendors. His gaze repeatedly swept across those vendors. Perhaps it was because his horizons had widened but he was unable to find a single thing that could interest him after spending ten plus minutes.

"All of them are broken lousey goods…" Zi Yan smacked her mouth and muttered. The Yaowan which she usually ate were all refined from considerably rare medicinal ingredients in the eyes of an ordinary person. An ordinary medicinal ingredient was no different to garbage in her eyes even if it was somewhat uncommon in this market.

Xiao Yan was also helpless in the face of this. It seemed that wanting to find a treasure like the 'Skyfire Three Mysterious Change' in this place really did need to rely on luck.

Since there was no gains, Xiao Yan finally gave up that kind of hope after roaming a little longer. He helplessly shook his head toward Zi Yan. Just as he was about to leave, a commotion occurred not far in front of him. Occasionally, there was even loud enigmatic laughter.

Xiao Yan was usually uninterested in being an observer to such things. Hence, he merely raised his eyes before turning his body and prepared to leave. However, just as he turned his body, a clear furious voice was transmitted from the crowd, one that caused him to pause.

Xiao Yan's gaze passed through the gaps in the crowd and faintly saw a snow-white figure. He waved his hand toward Zi Yan and said, "Looks like I can't just walk away like this…"

Once he said this, he pulled Zi Yan's hand and quickly walked toward the area where the commotion was located. A moment later, he squeezed into the crowd and swept his gaze over the disturbance within.

At this moment, Xue Mei was quietly standing in the middle of the crowd. However, that normally somewhat overly white, exquisite face of hers was filled with anger. There were a couple of men in alchemist robes standing a short distance in front of her laughing as they looked at her pretty furious flushed red face. They repeatedly emitted bursts of laughter.

"Aoba, don't go too overboard! Don't think that you can be this arrogant just because your teacher is an Elder of the association!" Xue Mei's delicate finger pointed at the man who was the leader and furiously roared out.

"Hee hee, Xue Mei, the one with the highest bid gets the goods in this transaction area. Since I am able to offer a higher price than you, it is only natural that this thing is mine. Even if you were to refer this matter to the association head, he would not be able to do anything to me." That man who was wearing a tier 2 alchemist badge on his chest merely laughed in the face of Xue Mei's rebuke. After saying this, he turned his head to the vendor owner and shouted, "I will offer fifty thousand gold coins for this 'Icy Fire Snake Scale Fruit'. Are you selling it?"

That vendor owner was startled when he heard Aoba's cry. He immediately rejoiced in his heart. Although this 'Ice Fire Snake Scale Fruit' was somewhat rare, it was at the very most worth twenty thousand gold coins. It was unexpected that this prodigal person was actually willing to purchase it at double the price. Naturally, there was no reason for him not to agree.

Xue Mei's pretty face was green as she looked at Aoba who was tossing the 'Ice Fire Snake Scale Fruit' in his hand with a proud look. She clenched her silver teeth but was completely helplessly. She had recently undertook a retreat for a period of time and had just left the retreat today. Coincidentally, she saw this medicinal ingredient that she needed to refine a medicinal pill. She had just agreed on the price with the owner of the stall when this hateful person appeared like a ghost.

This Aoba had once tried to woo Mei Xue because of her beautiful appearance. However, the latter was currently a tier 3 alchemist. Hence, his attempt at wooing her naturally ended in failure. However, a failure might be a failure but this stalker finally became extremely displeased after being publically rejected by Xue Mei a couple of times. He repeatedly changed his tactics to find trouble with Xue Mei, causing her to be very irritated. Moreover, his teacher had quite a good refining ability and had long since been promoted to an Elder position despite having just joined the association recently. His position within the association was quite high and he formed cliques using that status. Other than the association head and his deputy, the one with the highest authority within the association was Aoba's teacher. Hence, Mei Xue did not dare to attack and hurt this fellow despite feeling extremely annoyed.

However, Xue Mei had clearly underestimated the abomination of this sticky candy. Her tolerance had caused Aoba to take any advantage he could get. He would come and look for trouble at every opportunity. The situation today was not the first time this had happened.

Xue Mei inhaled a deep breath of air. She looked at the increasingly hateful and arrogant face of Aoba before clenching her teeth. Given this situation, she could only give up on this 'Ice Fire Snake Scale Fruit'.

Xue Mei's eyes were ice-cold as she stared at Aoba before turning around to leave. A laugh suddenly sounded within the crowd just as she was turning around, "One hundred thousand gold coins to purchase this 'Ice Fire Snake Scale Fruit'."

Everyone was startled when this laughter sounded. They immediately turned their gazes and saw a black-robed, young man who was pulling a little, purple-haired girl beside him. Some people involuntarily threw him a pitiful look. Was this fellow new? He actually dared to embarrass Aoba?

This laughter also caused Xue Mei to turn her head around to look at the black-robed, young man. That somewhat familiar face caused her to be startled. A moment later, she finally recalled this young man who had left a deep impression on her.

"You… haven't you been…" Xue Mei was stunned as she looked at the black-robed, young man. She gasped but the words that had reached her mouth were hurriedly swallowed upon seeing the surrounding audience.

Xiao Yan smiled and walked out from the crowd. He observed Xue Mei for a moment before laughing, "Is grandmaster Frank well?"

"Teacher is fine…" Xue Mei nodded. She immediately pulled Xiao Yan's robe and softly said, "Didn't you leave the Jia Ma Empire? Leave quickly, don't offend these people…" Since Xue Mei was in a retreat, she was completely ignorant of the matter during these past two days that had become the greatest news of the Jia Ma Empire. She merely knew that Xiao Yan was a target of the Misty Cloud Sect and would definitely be in deep trouble should he discovered by the Misty Cloud Sect.

"Oh, yo, why? Do you want to act like a hero rescuing a damsel in distress?" Aoba's face gradually became dark after Xiao Yan spoke his first word. He let out a strange laugh and immediately tightened his grip on the 'Ice Fire Snake Scale Fruit' as he coldly laughed, "This young master has already bought this thing. You should just roll off to one corner. I advise you not to meddle in another person's business. Otherwise, you might be able to enter the capital, but you won't be able to leave it…"

Chapter 694: Fu Yan

Xiao Yan smiled faintly when he saw that bossy face. He was too lazy to say any nonsense as he raised his palm aimed it at Aoba from a distance. A suction force suddenly surged out and forcefully sucked the 'Ice Fire Snake Scale Fruit' from the other person's hand.

"Bastard, you are seeking death!"

Aoba was immediately embarrassed when he saw Xiao Yan's sudden actions. With a furious cry, he waved his hand and the ten plus men beside him pounced toward Xiao Yan like hungry tigers.

Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!

Xiao Yan looked indifferently at the dozen men pouncing over. He randomly waved his hand and a wind surged out explosively before immediately smashing violently into the chest of the dozen plus men. The powerful force smashed at them until they flew backward before finally smashing away from the crowd, bringing about screams and chaos.

Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Another wave sounded!

Aoba was also stunned when he saw his ten plus subordinates falling in the blink of an eye. He was just about to let out a curse when a human figure flashed in front of them. A black robe strangely surfaced in front of his eyes as a long arm gently covered his chest. After which, a faint voice slowly sounded beside his ear, causing his entire body to be covered with cold sweat.

"Although there is an increasing number of people in the current Alchemist Association, there are also many more dregs. Today, I shall help Fa Ma clean up a little…"

A powerful force suddenly erupted from the palm that was pressed on Aoba's chest after the voice sounded.

"Grug! Grug! Grug!"

Aoba was heavily struck and sent flying amid numerous stunned gazes in the transaction area. A mouthful of fresh blood involuntarily spat out, plastering against the ground for over ten meters before gradually coming to a stop.

Surprise flashed across the hearts of those around when they saw that Xiao Yan could defeat Aoba with a random palm. Although this Aoba had a poor character, he was an expert who was about to advance to the Da Dou Shi class no matter how one put it. It was really unexpected that he was unable to even endure one exchange in the hands of this black-robed, young man.

However, everyone threw numerous pitiful gazes toward Xiao Yan after they became surprise. This fellow might have enjoyed giving that punch but did he not know that the old fellow Fu Yan always protected his own? Other than a small number of people in this Alchemist Association whom he did not dare offend, most of the people felt a little afraid of that eccentric old man who protected his own.

"You… ugh, you have gotten into trouble. Quick, follow me and leave this place!" Xue Mei was also shocked at Xiao Yan's sudden attack. She looked at Aoba who was lying on the ground in the distance repeatedly emitting a groan. She hurriedly urged Xiao Yan softly before she pulled the latter, turned around, and left.

Xiao Yan did not resist Xue Mei pulling him. He glanced at the moaning Aoba not far away before pulling Zi Yan and following Xue Mei as they left this noisy place.

The three of them squeezed all the way out of the transaction area but Xue Mei still did not stop. She pulled Xiao Yan and ran to the exit of the Alchemist Association. Seeing this, Xiao Yan could only helplessly remove his hand and speak with a smile toward her, "He is but a useless second generation. Do we need to act like this?"

"That fellow may indeed be a useless person but his teacher is an Elder in the association with quite the authority. His reputation is extremely great in this capital, and he tends to go to great lengths to protect his own. If we were to wait for that fellow to go and complain, that old fellow will definitely not let you off." Xue Mei could only hurriedly speak in the face of Xiao Yan who was afraid of nothing.

"Frank seemed to be also an association Elder right? Why are you still afraid of him?" Xiao Yan knit his brows and asked her a question.

"Teacher is merely a tier 4 alchemist now while that Fu Yan is a genuine tier 5 alchemist. His medicine refining level would not be much inferior even when compared to the deputy association head. Naturally, his position far surpasses that of teacher." Xue Mei sighed. Her heart was extremely shocked.

Xiao Yan also came to a sudden understanding when he heard this. If one added all the tier 4 alchemist in the Jia Ma Empire, there would at least be more than ten of them. However, there were only a few people who were tier 5 alchemists. Moreover it was difficult for an alchemist to advance from one tier to another. Some people might even remain in a certain tier for the rest of their life. It was likely that there was only one abnormal person in the entire continent who was like Xiao Yan who could rely on a 'Heavenly Flame' and Ya Lao's rich experience.

The difference between a tier 4 and tier 5 alchemist was just like the difference between a Dou Ling and a Dou Wang. This was an enormous gap. Hence, the difference between them was naturally great. It was also difficult to compare the position between the two.

"Relax, I will be able to take care of myself properly. Just now, I lended you a hand because I could not help it. Ke ke, it's fine…" Xiao Yan was also helpless when he saw the worry and anxiety on Xue Mei's pretty face. He did not expect that his stepping out to help her would cause her more anxiety. At that moment, he could only laugh and comfort her.

"Hee hee, it's fine? Little brat really knows how to talk big. It is likely that there aren't many people in this capital who could hurt my student and say everything is fine!" A cold laugh sounded in the enormous hall of the association not long after Xiao Yan's words sounded. A group of people immediately walked over in an aggressive and quick manner. That leader of the group was an old man who was wearing an alchemist robe. There was a cauldron shaped badge on the front of his robes with five silver glowing ripples on the medicinal cauldron. Light shot in all directions as his robe flapped, appearing extremely eye-catching.

A tier five alchemist! He was actually so great. It really was the case of failing to recognize talent!

The human flow that was coming and going in the hall immediately paused when they looked at the badge that represented a kind of honor. Their faces were filled with respect and envy. That kind of expression… seemed…

Xue Mei's pretty face immediately changed slightly when she saw that old man. She felt extremely frustrated in her heart. Why was the speed of this old man, who would not die, so quick?

"He is the one called Fu Yan?" Xiao Yan ignored the surrounding gazes which seemed to be watching a good show as he turned to Xue Mei and asked with a smile.

"Yes." Xue Mei sighed in her heart as she looked at the old man who displayed a cold smile and anger on his face as he swiftly walked over. She bit the bullet and nodded her head before immediately whispering, "You should try to speak as little as possible. This old man should not dare to make things too difficult for the younger generation like us in public."

Xiao Yan was noncommittal when he heard this. It was really unexpected that the Alchemist Association would actually become more terrible during these three years. He really did not know how that old fellow Fa Ma was managing it.

During the time that Xue Mei was speaking softly to Xiao Yan, that Fu Yan brought a large group and headed to their front in an aggressive manner. The old man glanced at Xue Mei and immediately narrowed his old eyes to look at Xiao Yan. He turned his head to the pale-white Aoba beside him and asked, "Is it this fellow who attacked you?"

"That's right, teacher. Originally, I was competing with Xue Mei to purchase a medicinal ingredient to prepare to refine a medicinal pill as a gift for teacher's birthday. However, I did not expect that this fellow would forcefully snatch away the medicinal ingredient when he appeared. He even launched a heavy attack and beat me up in this manner. Teacher, you must stand up for me!" Aoba immediately complained with a crying face when he heard Fu Yan. Of course, he naturally found an extremely sound reason for himself at such a moment.

"Elder Fu Yan, this matter…" Xue Mei hurriedly cried out. Her expression immediately changed when she heard Aoba speak such irresponsible lies.

However, before Xue Mei's voice sounded, Fu Yan waved his hand and said faintly, "Xue Mei, this matter has nothing to do with you. You should not join in. Otherwise, you might go and say some nonsense to old Fu Ke Lan."

"You are the one who attacked just now, right? It is really unexpected that you use such heavy blows despite your young age. Who is your teacher?" Fu Yan turned his gaze and threw it to Xiao Yan. He spoke in an old-fashioned cold voice.

Xiao Yan merely smiled when he saw this manner of Fu Yan. He said, "It is really unexpected that the quality of the association's Elders is becoming lower and lower. Bullying others with numbers, taking advantage of one's seniority… just a stinky old man…"

The hall immediately became much quieter when everyone heard Xiao Yan's words that carried some ridicule. Was this brat's courage not a little too great? He actually dared to mock Fu Yan in such a manner in front of the latter himself.

"What a sharp tongued youth… Good… Good…. Very good….. You have guts." As expected, Fu Yan's expression darkened. In his anger, he began laughing: " If you can walk out of the Alchemist Association unharmed today, then will I, Fu Yan, still have face?"

"This old man is really irritating! Very irritating. Ignore him." Zi Yan immediately became somewhat irritated when she heard Fu Yan's blabberings. She covered her ears and spoke with curled lips.

The surrounding people smiled a little when they saw this jade-carving-like little girl suddenly say these words. However, all of them sensibly shut their mouths when they saw the increasingly gloomy expression of Fu Yan.

Xiao Yan also gradually became impatient after seeing more and more people gathering around them to watch the scene. He was too lazy to say any nonsense to this old man. He pulled Zi Yan and Mei Xun, turned around, and left.

Fu Yan's expression immediately turned green when he saw this action of Xiao Yan. This was the first time that he had met such an arrogant young person after all these years. Fury immediately blew through him. A powerful, hot Dou Qi surged out of his body with an angry cry!

The powerful Dou Qi that erupted in an instant immediately caused the surrounding people to hurriedly take a couple of steps back, afraid of being innocently caught in the mess.

"Little brat, today, I will help your teacher teach you what is called respect for your teachers!" A fiery red Dou Qi curled and rose on his shriveled dried palm like a fierce fire. Fu Yan let out a sharp cry and his body flashed forward. He immediately turned into a fire figure that shot explosively toward Xiao Yan's back.

Quite a number of people in the hall emitted an exclamation when they saw that Fu Yan actually ignored his status and attacked a younger generation. Fu Yan was a genuine expert Dou Wang. There was hardly anyone who could contend with him even within this capital. Moreover, from the looks of the momentum of his angry attack, it seemed that this black-robed, young man would at least end up being seriously injured if he were struck.

Fu Yan moved close to Xiao Yan in a lightning-like manner just as this thought flashed across everyone's heart. However, the hand was just about to grab the latter's robe when Xiao Yan suddenly waved his arm. A sleeve of his cut through the air. The sleeve was as hard as metal after Dou Qi had poured into it.

"Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!"

The sleeves collided with Fu Yan's fist and a wind erupted out from the point of contact. Immediately, everyone's face became shocked as they saw Fu Yan's body suddenly fly backward before finally smashing against the ground miserably. Everyone was stunned!

Chapter 695: Meeting

The entire hall was completely silent in front of this somewhat unusual scene. It appeared that even Fu Yan was in disbelief at this scene and his face was completely shocked and dull. He had clearly sensed that the strength of the young man in front of him was ordinary, why…

Fu Yan climbed up from the ground miserably. His face was completely flushed red. Being turned into such a miserable state in public by a member of the younger generation had caused this proud person to become crazy.


Fu Yan clenched his teeth and cursed. He was just about to attack again when the slight sound of rolling-thunder reverberated out. He immediately felt his eyes suddenly become dazzled as an the expressionless black-robed, young man in front of him appeared by his side in a ghost-like manner.

The sudden appearance of the black-robed, young man caused the pores on Fu Yan's entire body to open wide. He was just about to launch an attack when a long warm hand unknowingly appeared on his neck. That ice-cold voice caused his entire body to stiffen.

"You don't have the qualification to represent my teacher in teaching me…"

Xiao Yan laughed coldly before he suddenly turned his head and spoke faintly while his gaze swept to a corner of the hall.

"Association head Fa Ma, I would not mind letting your Alchemist Association lose a tier 5 alchemist if you continue hiding by the side, watching the show…"

Everyone in the spacious hall was startled when they heard Xiao Yan's words. They immediately turned their heads in a certain direction.

Helpless laughter sounded in the shadow in a corner under the focus of the gazes of the many people in the hall. Immediately, an old figure slowly came sailing out and appeared in front of everyone's eyes. From the looks of his appearance, he was surprisingly the association head of the Alchemist Association, Fa Ma!

The deputy association head, Qie Mier followed close beside Fa Ma. There was also a girl wearing a green-colored alchemist robe beside Qi Mier. The girl had an elegant and moving appearance. She curled her red lips slightly, revealing a haughtiness. Her skin was as white as snow and a pair of intelligent bright eyes carried a slyness as they moved. Clearly, this woman was a quirky individual. At this moment, this girl's eyes were flickering with an unusual glow as she looked at the hall and conveniently looked at the black-robed, young man who had subdued Fu Yan.

"Ha ha, it has been three years since we last met. Is little brother Xiao Yan well?" This old man who managed the Jia Ma Empire's Alchemist Association revealed a smiling face in front of the public's gazes and inquired about Xiao Yan in a friendly manner. It was as though he did not notice the green-faced Fu Yan whose throat was being grasped by Xiao Yan.

This attitude of Fa Ma naturally caused everyone in the hall to be surprised. However, when the name, a name that had wildly spread and caused an uproar within the capital, left his mouth, everyone once again became stunned. They immediately came to a sudden understanding. The gazes that they used when they looked at the black-robed, young man once again had immediately become interested. No wonder this fellow dared to be so arrogant. He was actually the Xiao Yan. The person who had caused the Misty Cloud Sect to suffer great losses…

Fu Yan, who was being restrained by Xiao Yan, turned pale-white in an instant after hearing the form of address that Fa Ma used on the young man to his side. The anger in his eyes immediately disappeared. Back then, even the Dou Huangs from the Misty Cloud Sect had died to the hands of this person. He did not have the slightest doubt that Xiao Yan only needed a little prompt in order to break his head. Moreover, with Xiao Yan's strength, it was likely that the Alchemist Association would not adopt any retaliation measure even if Xiao Yan really did kill him. This point could be clearly seen from the attitude of Fa Ma toward Xiao Yan when the former appeared.

Fu Yan's mouth trembled a little as he turned his furious gaze toward the already shivering Aoba by the side. If this bastard had not failed to open his eyes and offend such a person, why would he end up in such an embarrassing situation?

"Ke ke, association head Fa Ma, this Alchemist Association has really disappointed me after having not met for three years… collaborating with such a faction, I'm afraid…" Xiao Yan laughed softly before turning his head and spoke to Fa Ma who was slowly walking over.

Fa Ma laughed bitterly when he heard this, "Little brother Xiao Yan. Our association does indeed have some responsibility in this matter. Fu Yan has offended you. Therefore, you can deal with him anyway you like…"

Although these words of Fa Ma were a little soft but it gave Xiao Yan extremely great face. Moreover, he also knew that the current Xiao Yan was no longer that young man from back then who could be motivated to fight for the champion spot in the competition by just being given a medicinal formula. Given the latter's current ability and faction, he did have the qualification to enjoy such treatment. This was because the current Xiao Yan was worthy of being a truly strong person in Fa Ma's heart.

"Ha ha, little brother Xiao Yan. Fu Yan's character is originally somewhat reckless and fiery in nature. He did not intend to offend you… moreover, if we were to discuss about it, little brother Xiao Yan is also considered an honorary Elder in our Alchemist Association. We are all from the same side…" Qi Mier smiled and stepped forward to smooth things over.

Xue Mei was beside Xiao Yan as she watched these two extremely important people from the Alchemist Association step forward and speak to Xiao Yan in an extremely courteous tone that gave Xiao Yan a lot of face. Such treatment caused her to be amazed. Her gaze repeatedly drifted over Xiao Yan's body. She knew that Xiao Yan had become the champion of the Alchemist Grand Competition back then. However, this alone would not be sufficient for alchemist grandmasters like Fa Ma and Qi Mier to treat him with such politeness. Moreover, from the way the conversation was proceeding, it seemed that they were willing to lose a tier 5 alchemist rather than coming into conflict with Xiao Yan. This caused her to be completely stunned. The young man who was chased out of the Jia Ma Empire by the Misty Cloud Sect back then actually possessed such abilities?

The eyes of the pretty girl beside Qi Mier flickered as she looked at the black-robed, young man whose face was still calm even when these two extremely important people of the association stepped forward. She felt absent-minded within her heart for a moment. The young man back then might have been outstanding, but he was merely a member of the younger generation who possessed some potential. However, within a short three years, he had already become an expert whom even association head Fa Ma had to treat in a courteous manner. This growth speed really did cause people to be quietly aghast.

"No wonder even great-grandfather said that this person's achievements in the future would be extraordinary in the future back then…" The girl suddenly recalled a sentence that Jia Xing Tian had mentioned to her back then. At that time, she was still somewhat unconvinced. However, now even her proud self could not help but be completely convinced. Compared to the other young people from this generation back then, the current Xiao Yan had undoubtedly walked to a relatively high position.

Xiao Yan glanced indifferently at Fa Ma and Qi Mier. He subsequently looked at the pale-faced Fu Yan who did not even dare to move his body. He smiled, slowly withdrew his hand and softly said, "Since the two association heads have stepped forward, it is only natural that Xiao Yan will give both of you some face. Originally, today's matter was some small problems among the younger generation. I had no choice since this Elder wanted to come running out by himself."

Fu Yan's expression immediately alternated between green and white when he heard Xiao Yan's words.

"Ke ke, little brother Xiao Yan, thank you for letting Fu Yan off. The old me will privately settle this matter today and be accountable to you." Fa Ma also sighed in relief and hurriedly spoke when he saw Xiao Yan did not really attack Fu Yan.

Xiao Yan waved his hand and stared at Aoba. This fellow should have already become aware that the most unlucky person would definitely be him when this matter was settled. Hence, his face was a ghastly white as though it was painted with white powder. He also did not expect that he would actually end up kicking such a hard metal plate today.

"Is everyone here?" Xiao Yan's gaze turned to Fa Ma and asked, no longer lingering on the original topic.

"Ha ha, everyone is here. We are waiting for you." Fa Ma smiled and nodded.

"Let's go then…" Xiao Yan did not delay any longer after hearing this. He turned his head to Xue Mei and said with a smile, "I currently have some matters to deal with and will leave first. Help me say hi to grandmaster Frank when you see him." Xiao Yan did not wait for Xue Mei's response after saying this. He pulled Zi Yan and walked to the interior of the hall.

Xue Mei only recovered after Xiao Yan had turned around and left. The back of her teeth gently bit her lower red lip as she studied that tall skinny back. There was an unusual color flowing in her eyes…

Back then, when she had met Xiao Yan for the first time, the latter was still striving to become a tier 2 alchemist. With the quiet flow of time, Xiao Yan had unknowingly become an expert who was comparable to these top people of the empire. This kind of transformation could not be described as small. It was likely that Frank and Ao Tuo would also sigh emotionally should they know about his progress…

Xiao Yan followed Fa Ma's group and turned into a couple of corridors before moving along the stairs and making the slow climb to the higher levels of the association.

During their walk, Xiao Yan, who had been chatting and smiling with Fa Ma and Qi Mier suddenly turned his gaze to the somewhat familiar looking elegant girl at the side. He smiled and said, "We have not met for three years. Little Princess is becoming prettier and prettier."

The elegant girl was immediately startled when she realized Xiao Yan had suddenly acknowledged her. She slyly laughed, "It is really unexpected that an expert like you can still remember me. It is really my honor…"

Xiao Yan smiled as he looked at this girl who was still sort of quirky. A smile surfaced on his calm face as he sensed the tone of her words. Although these years of venturing out had given him an extremely rich appearance, it also turned him into someone like an old man. Who could imagine that he was actually not much older than the little princess. He recalled back then when a group of members from the younger generation were competing with each other to be the champion of the Alchemist Grand Competition. Now, the people who participated have changed.

Fa Ma and Qi Mier who were walking at the front, glanced at Xiao Yan who was happily conversing with the little princess. They were slightly startled before they immediately exchanged gazes. An unusual smile flashed across their eyes.

"Little princess's age… seems to be one where she should find a partner. This girl is extremely proud with extremely high expectations. Given Xiao Yan's ability, he is extremely compatible with her…" A thought suddenly appeared in the hearts of these two old men as they walked. They looked at one another before a sly fox smile lifted on the corner of their mouths.

Xiao Yan was naturally not aware of the thoughts of these two people. He sniffed the youthful scent that was scattered from the body of the girl by his side. He was quite happy that he could converse with someone much younger at this moment. However, when Fa Ma and Qi Mier stopped in front of a large door, he slowly ceased his conversations. He arranged his robes and his expression once again became as still as an old well. He knew that the people inside were all the top experts within the Jia Ma Empire. He could only look up to them back then. However, now he had the qualification to face them as equals or even look at them as inferiors…

"We're here…"

Fa Ma smiled as he spoke. After which he exchanged glances with Qi Mier before he gently pushed open the door. They moved their bodies a little to the side and opened up a path to walk in.

Chapter 696: Revealing Oneself

An unusual atmosphere covered a spacious and well lit large hall. A couple of human figures were seated within it. They would occasionally chat and smile, but even while they chatted, some of their gazes would involuntarily turn to the door. Clearly, they were a little absent-minded.

Although those people who were seated in this place were the leaders of the powerful factions within the Jia Ma Empire, they still felt somewhat ansty…


The tightly shut door suddenly opened as the clear sound of a door opening quietly resounded across the hall.

The backbone of these people within the hall could not help but straighten after the door was opened. Their gazes instantly shifted before stopping at the entrance.

The tightly shut door was completely opened under everyone's gazes. A moment later a black-robed figure who had been absent for three years entered their eyes.

"Everyone, we have not met for three years. Are you well?"

The black-robed person's appearance and laughter was missing a sentimental tenderness from three years ago as it reverberated softly in the hall.

The reverberating laughter within the hall also caused everyone to throw their gazes toward the entrance. A black-robed, young man was standing with a smile at that spot. Sunlight shone into the hall through windows and coincidentally covered the young man in light. Under the sunlight, that somewhat familiar face revealed an additional maturity and reservation as well as a missing tenderness and vigor compared to three years ago.

Everyone in the hall faintly felt somewhat absent-minded as they looked at the black-robed, young man who was standing at the entrance. Three years was not considered too long for them but in these short three years, the young man back then had completed a total transformation.

"Ke ke, little brother Xiao Yan, it is really unexpected that you have reached such a level after having not met for three years. It really makes the old me feel ashamed." Jia Xing Tian was the first person in the hall to recover. He hurriedly stood up and spoke in a clear, loud voice.

There was still a lady wearing a luxurious gown seated elegantly beside Jia Xing Tian. From the beautiful appearance of her, she was naturally Yao Ye whom Xiao Yan had met that day. However, the latter had currently removed her phoenix crown and her entire person appeared to be less majestic and more like a woman.

At this moment, Yao Ye had also thrown her gaze over when the black-robed young man appeared. Her lips contained a somewhat moving smile.

Xiao Yan's gaze glanced at the linen-robed old man and smiled. He slowly walked into the hall and said, "Jia Lao's demeanor still remains the same." While he spoke, Xiao Yan's gaze also slowly swept across this bright hall. There were some other familiar faces other than Jia Xing Tian. There was Mu Chen from the Mu clan and the somewhat unnatural faces of Nalan Jie and Nalan Su from the Nalan clan…

"Little brother Xiao Yan, please take your seat. We are just waiting for you." The head of the Mu clan, Mu Chen, looked at this tall black-robed, young man who appeared extraordinary before glancing at Mu Zhan beside him, who was already the most outstanding person among the younger generation of the Mu clan. He sighed in his heart. Three years ago, the two of them were still on the same line. Now, however, this gap…

Mu Zhan, who was seated beside Mu Chen, also sensed the latter's gaze. He immediately rolled his eyes and looked at Xiao Yan who was around the same age as him. He was speechless in his heart. During these three years, he had been working extremely hard on his training. However, he was merely a seven star Dou Ling at this moment. This kind of achievement could indeed be considered quite good if placed in the Mu clan or any other clan. Yet, if he were to compare with Xiao Yan in front, they were undoubtedly worlds apart.

"This fellow… I really don't know how he trains. His strength actually rose so quickly?" Mu Zhan muttered in his heart. Back then, he could be considered to have exchanged blows with Xiao Yan at that party. The both of them had approximately the same strength back then. However, now this gap had extended to a somewhat frightening extent.

Xiao Yan also smiled when he saw the smiling Mu Chen. Although the Mu clan did not go all out to help him like the Primer clan did back then, the matter of Mu Tie still caused Xiao Yan to have a favorable impression of them.

Xiao Yan slowly walked into the hall. He smiled and greeted some people, and neglected only Nalan Jie and Nalan Su by the side whether intentionally or by oversight.

The smile on Nalan Jie's and Nalan Su's face was somewhat forced when they saw Xiao Yan finish his greetings with everyone before finding a chair beside Hai Bodong and taking a seat. This action of Xiao Yan clearly indicated that he still bore a grudge to their Nalan clan. However, given their clan's past actions toward Xiao Yan, it was not wrong for them to receive such a treatment. Hence, the both of them could only act like mutes and not voice their bitterness as they stiffened their faces and sat down beside the table. The current Xiao Yan was no longer that tender young man back then. With the latter's current strength, he no longer needed to view the Nalan clan too seriously.

Everyone in the hall had also taken notice that the Nalan clan was ignored. However, their expressions did not change and the laughing conversations were not reduced.

Fa Ma and Qi Mier also walked in from the outside not long after Xiao Yan took his seat. After which, they took their seats. With everyone seated, the leaders of the few strongest factions within the Jia Ma Empire had all gathered.

"I think that everyone should clearly be aware of the reason that I have gathered everyone here. Hence, I shall not beat around the bush." Xiao Yan raised his gaze and slowly spoke with a smile after everyone had taken their seats.

Everyone in the hall immediately paused their mouths after hearing Xiao Yan speak. They knew that the main event was about to begin…

"I have not been back for three years and did not expect the Misty Cloud Sect to have expanded to such an extent. This is indeed beyond what I had foreseen…" Xiao Yan was unconcerned at everyone's silence as he spoke faintly, "The Misty Cloud Sect has destroyed my Xiao clan and I will definitely avenge this blood feud. Hence, I, Xiao Yan, and the Misty Cloud Sect are in a situation where we won't stop until one of us dies. Today, I have invited everyone over in order to join hands and eliminate the Misty Cloud Sect, this empire's cancer!"

"Ke ke, mister Xiao Yan, the Misty Cloud Sect is indeed currently becoming more and more powerful. However, this does not seem to have an overly direct impact on us…" The first person who opened her mouth to speak after hearing Xiao Yan's words was Yao Ye who was sitting elegantly beside Jia Xing Tian. At this moment, this beautiful female emperor of the empire glanced at Jia Xing Tian beside her and immediately smiled as she said, "However, as a member of the imperial family, we are naturally unwilling to see any faction become too powerful and even result in the loss of an equilibrium. Hence, if mister Xiao Yan really has the confidence to deal with the Misty Cloud Sect, my imperial family can perhaps give some help in areas where our abilities are incorporated."

Xiao Yan smile and shook his head after raising his eyes to look at this woman whose words were calculated. He suddenly said, "Not long ago, when I passed through the 'Zhen Gui Pass' during my return to the Jia Ma Empire, I coincidentally met an Elder of the Misty Cloud Sect. At that time, that Elder was helping a deputy commander who belonged to the Misty Cloud Sect to snatch the spot of the commander… As soon as he could become the highest ranking commander in the 'Zhen Gui Pass', the troops that were stationed there would likely change to being under the command of the Misty Cloud Sect."

The expressions of Jia Xing Tian and Yao Ye drastically changed simultaneously when they heard Xiao Yan's words. They involuntarily cried out loud, "How can this be possible?"

Xiao Yan smiled when he saw the two of them whose faces had changed from the great shock. It seemed that Mu Tie had really yet to report the news.

"The commander of the 'Zhen Gui Pass' is called Mu Tie. I think the both of you should have some impression. He is someone from the Mu clan." Xiao Yan smiled as he said. "Whether things are true or otherwise, it is likely that news will arrive in another day to two…"

Yao Ye's and Jia Xing Tian's expression became somewhat volatile as they heard this. If this matter was true, did that not mean that the Misty Cloud Sect had truly began to act against the imperial family?

"I think that given everyone's information network, all of you should know a little about the wild ambition that the Misty Cloud Sect has displayed during these few years. When that time really comes in the future, all of you will have two choices. One is to be destroyed by the Misty Cloud Sect. The other is to surrender to them. Everyone's family assets are things that your ancestors fought hard for. I think that everyone would feel some guilt to your ancestors if you were to just surrender in this manner to the Misty Cloud Sect, right?" Xiao Yan's gaze swept over the entire place and spoke with a smile.

"Hence, I have called everyone here today just to further heat up the situation for everyone. Currently, the situation in the empire no longer allows for any neutrality." Xiao Yan crossed his ten fingers and softly spoke, "I will engage in a final decisive battle to the death with the Misty Cloud Sect. This great battle is extremely crucial to me. Hence, I will not allow any accidents to appear. Everyone must express their stance with Xiao Yan before this decisive battle…"

These words of Xiao Yan clearly told everyone that if he were to have a big battle with the Misty Cloud Sect, he would not be reassured if any faction within the capital were to simply observe from the side. After all, if any accident were to occur and some faction were to launch a sneak attack from behind, it would likely cause quite the unexpected change to the big battle.

These words lacked some gentleness and had an additional overbearing feeling. However, no one seated felt that this pile of words was inappropriate. This was because they knew that the current Xiao Yan possessed such a qualification!

The atmosphere in the hall felt somewhat oppressive under Xiao Yan's words. Jia Xing Tian, Fa Ma, Mu Chen, Nalan Jie, and the others exchanged gazes with one another. All of them descended deep into thought. The choice of their position was not a game. Should they choose wrongly, they would definitely end up in destruction. Hence, even they had difficulty making a decision in a short while.

"Ke ke, my Primer clan will stand on Xiao Yan's side. The old me knows that even if one were to seek refuge with the Misty Cloud Sect, one would likely not come to a good end. The current Yun Shan, hee hee… everyone better think carefully." Hai Bodong laughed and spoke when he saw everyone hesitating.

Everyone curled their lips when they heard Hai Bodong's words. His Primer clan and the Xiao clan had basically reached a point where it was almost impossible to separate the two. He would naturally help Xiao Yan… although they thought along these lines, all of them still felt a little sour in their hearts. Back then, Hai Bodong was not the only person who had identified Xiao Yan as an extraordinary person. However, he was the only one who had the guts to risk offending the Misty Cloud Sect to lend him a hand…

"*Cough*… mister Xiao Yan, may I know what are your chances of victory in this big battle between the Misty Cloud Sect and you?" Mu Chen gently coughed before suddenly speaking. At this moment, the manner in which he addressed Xiao Yan had changed a little. The latter's age appeared to have been ignored by everyone at this moment.

Jia Xing Tian and the others hurriedly braced their ears when they heard Mu Chen's question. If Xiao Yan wanted them to choose a side to stand on, it was only natural that Xiao Yan needed to reveal some trump cards that could reassure them.

"The chances of victory are fifty fifty…" Xiao Yan merely smiled and replied faintly as everyone opened their ears.

This chances of victory that were neither high nor low clearly caused everyone to become somewhat dissatisfied. Jia Xing Tian immediately laughed dryly as he said, "Although you have brought back quite a number of expert Dou Wangs this time around, the Misty Cloud Sect also possesses quite a number of Dou Wangs. Moreover, according to what we know, the Misty Cloud Sect has at least three elite Dou Huangs whose strengths are even stronger than Yun Du's and Yun Sha's. Of course, the most troublesome person is naturally Yun Shan. May I know if you have the confidence to deal with him?"

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