Chapter 731: The Initial Form of a Faction
Xiao Yan's eyes slowly swept over the medicinal ingredients recorded within the scroll. He nodded a moment later and descended into a deep thought after returning the scroll to the ring. These medicinal ingredients were quite rare. It was likely that one would spend quite a lot of time in order to gather all of them. It seemed that he would need to look for Old Hai regarding the matter involving these medicinal ingredients. Being in possession of the largest auction house within the empire, it naturally had an unusually rich store. Although these medicinal ingredients were rare, it should be possible to gather some of them.
Xiao Yan let out a gentle sigh of relief when he thought of this. He flipped his body and descended from the stone bed before slowly walking out of the chamber.
He had just walked out of the room when a female servant, who had been waiting outside for a long time, hurried forward. After which, she spoke respectfully, "Third Young Master, First Young Master said to invite you to the living room should you exit from the chamber."
Xiao Yan nodded slightly upon hearing this. He waved his hand to dismiss the female servant before striding to the living room.
Xiao Yan appeared outside the living room after around ten minutes. He heard the voices of Xiao Ding and Xiao Li transmitted from within it. There was also a lady's voice that was not unfamiliar in this place. Upon identifying it, Xiao Yan was clear that the person inside seemed to be the eldest princess Yao Ye from the imperial family.
"What is she doing here?" Xiao Yan narrowed his eyes before pushing open the door to walk in.
Xiao Ding and Xiao Li were chatting and smiling with Yao Ye in the living room. They lifted their gazes when they heard the sound of a door being pushed, only to see Xiao Yan enter. The smile on their faces became much denser.
"Ke ke, Mister Xiao Yan, it is really not easy to get to see you. Yao Ye has come over a couple of times during these few days but only managed to meet you this time around." A slight smile surfaced on Yao Ye's pretty face upon seeing Xiao Yan enter. She stood up and joked to the former.
Xiao Yan smiled. His eyes made contact with Xiao Ding and Xiao Li. After which, he found a chair beside the two of them and sat before speaking with a smile, "May I know the reason why Princess Yao Ye is here this time around?"
"Mister Xiao Yan has helped our imperial family remove a scourge. Do we still need any reason to come and visit?" Yao Ye's pretty eyes paused on Xiao Yan and laughed in a somewhat restrained manner.
Xiao Yan smiled and shook his head. He immediately ceased speaking. He picked up the teacup by his side and took a sip before lifting his gaze slightly to stare at Yao Ye. He did not believe that the other party was truly here to visit because of his injuries.
The smile on Yao Ye's pretty face was maintained for some while Xiao Yan stared at her. Finally, she could only scatter it helplessly. She mused for a moment before speaking in a slow manner, "I heard that mister Xiao Yan is planning to establish a faction within the Jia Ma Empire?"
"My Xiao clan has quite a number of enemies. It is only natural that one must have sufficient strength if I wanted to protect the clan members." Xiao Yan did not hide this matter as he faintly replied.
Yao Ye's eyes intently studied Xiao Yan. A moment later, she softly said, "Our imperial family will not object to mister Xiao Yan establishing a faction. We can even lend you a hand. However, I hope that the matter of the Misty Cloud Sect will not happen again."
Xiao Yan narrowed his eyes upon hearing the solemness within Yao Ye's words. Since the other party had already made her words clear, there was also no longer any need for him to dodge the matter. He immediately spoke in a deep voice, "Princess Yao Ye you can rest assured. Xiao Yan is not Yun Shan. As long as the imperial family does not secretly meddle with my Xiao clan, Xiao Yan will remember the favor of the imperial family."
Yao Ye quietly sighed in relief within her heart when she looked at Xiao Yan's grave face. She smiled and said, "Yao Ye naturally believes in Mister Xiao Yan's character. Now that the Misty Cloud Sect had been disband, the Jia Ma Empire is also in need of a powerful faction to become the representative of the Jia Ma Empire. From the looks of the situation now, Mister Xiao Yan is naturally the best choice."
Xiao Yan smiled and said, "It is naturally for the best that the imperial family does not oppose. All of us once fought beside each other. I, too, do not wish to turn our relationship into an extremely stiff one because of some issues. That is not good for anyone… as for the matter regarding the establishment of a faction, I will speak to princess Yao Ye in detail if there is any news of it in the future."
Yao Ye nodded and said, "In that case, I will quietly wait for positive news." Yao Ye stood up after she spoke. She waved her hand and ten jade boxes appeared on the top of the table. She smiled and said, "All of these are things that great-grandfather asked me to bring over. Mister Xiao Yan, you yourself are quite a high tiered Alchemist. I think that there should not be much trouble with regards to the injuries within your body. Moreover, these medicinal ingredients might be of some use to you. There are still matters in the imperial city so I shall not stay any longer. Goodbye."
Yao Ye turned around and slowly left once those words sounded. A moment later, she disappeared from the sight of Xiao Yan and the others.
Xiao Yan sent princess Yao Ye off with his gaze before he stood up and came to the side of the table. He opened those jade boxes and a rich medicinal fragrance immediately pounced over, causing his brows to raise a little. The imperial family was indeed generous.
"It seems that the imperial family does not have much conflict with this matter." Xiao Yan smiled and spoke as his gaze glanced over the jade boxes. Although the current Xiao Yan was unafraid of the imperial family when comparing experts, but the latter was still an actual controller of a country. It would still be somewhat troublesome to come into conflict with them.
"It is not that they do not have much contradiction to the idea, but it is because there are quite a number of experts beside Xiao Yan whom they feared. Otherwise, they would definitely have done everything they could do to stop us." Xiao Ding laughed faintly. The imperial family of the Jia Ma Empire was naturally much more afraid and cautious after the matter of the Misty Cloud Sect.
Xiao Yan also smiled slightly after hearing the conversations of the two people. He said, "It is fine if they do not have any other thoughts no matter what happened. In this way, we will avoid a lot of trouble while establishing a faction."
Xiao Ding nodded slightly. He immediately spoke in a slow manner, "For the establishment of a faction that you have mentioned, I suggest that you gather the few large clans within the empire and the Alchemist Association and form an alliance faction. In this way, it would enable the faction to expand greatly within a short period of time. It would also avoid the beginning stages and the most troublesome steps. Moreover, now that we have the support of the imperial family, we will be able to absorb some new blood with good training talent from the Jia Ma Empire in the future. It is a great advantage to us in the long term."
"Of course, Qi Methods and Dou Techniques cannot be lacking if one wants to groom experts that belong to the alliance. We can try to see if we can get the few large factions to provide these together."
"Just leave the things like Qi Methods and Dou Techniques to me. Big brother, you can just do as you want with regards to the establishment of the faction. I do not specialize in these things." Xiao Yan smiled. After obtaining the treasures of Han Feng and Yao Lao one after the other, it did not seem to be any problem for him to provide some Qi Methods and Dou Techniques.
Xiao Ding helplessly shook his head when he heard Xiao Yan's words. He said, "You little fellow. You are actually thinking of becoming a person in charge who does nothing now… that's right, how are your injuries?"
"I should be able to make a complete recovery after a couple of days." Xiao Yan smiled as he replied.
Xiao Ding and Xiao Li sighed in relief upon hearing this. The latter raised his head and laughed, "I might head to the 'Black-Corner Region' once your injuries are recovered. After all, the 'Xiao Gate' there needs me to manage. Otherwise, everyone in 'Xiao Gate' will have left the next time I return.
"Aye. From what the both of you have said, that 'Xiao Gate' possesses some of the freshest individuals that the Jia Nan Academy provides. Its future potential is definitely going to be quite strong. Although the 'Black-Corner Region' is chaotic, there is quite a big profit to be made from it. If it is possible to expand 'Xiao Gate' in the future and successfully occupy a certain position within the 'Black-Corner Region', it is likely that it will be a frightening faction. Once we wait until the faction within the Jia Ma Empire develops in the future and then merge the two, we would definitely be able to contend with the first-rate factions within the Dou Qi continent." Xiao Ding voiced his thoughts.
Xiao Yan also nodded slightly. Students who were able to graduate from the Inner Academy were mostly people with great training talent. If it was possible to gather them and get them to become their subordinates, it was likely that they would be an elite force with plenty of potential. He never possessed any doubt toward the potential of the 'Xiao Gate'.
A female servant hurriedly walked in just as Xiao Yan and his two brothers were discussing. She respectfully spoke from the doorway, "Young Master Xiao Yan. Nalan xiao-jie (Young Miss) is at the main entrance saying that she has something important to say and needs to meet you."
Xiao Yan was startled when he heard this. Nalan xiao-jie was naturally Nalan Yanran. Why was she looking for him?
"Invite her in." Doubt flashed across his eyes as Xiao Yan softly commanded.
"Hey, is it Nalan Yanran? Speaking of which, big brother and I have not seen this person who had nearly become our sister-in-law…" Xiao Li's voice was suddenly cold as he looked at the back of the female servant who had left. It seemed that he bore a grudge over how Nalan Yanran had canceled the engagement back then.
"Those grudges have already been resolved three years ago. There is no need to keep it in your heart." Xiao Ding knit his brows and spoke in a deep voice. It seemed that he was quite displeased at Xiao Li for mentioning this matter in front of Xiao Yan.
Xiao Li shrugged his shoulders and ceased speaking. He leaned against his chair and his gaze lazily swept over the main entrance.
The three people waited in the hall for a moment before the female servant from earlier came over. Behind her was a graceful, partially-visible figure.
The two figures paused at the entrance. That female servant bowed and withdrew while Nalan Yanran, whose body was wrapped in cloud-colored clothes, slowly approached. Her gaze swept over the three people in the living room before finally pausing on Xiao Yan with a somewhat chaotic expression.
"Nalan xiao-jie, is there a reason for you to visit the Xiao clan?" Xiao Yan gently placed down his teacup. His eyes were lowered as he spoke.
Nalan Yanran bit her lower red lip with the back of her teeth in the face of this cold and indifferent manner of Xiao Yan. She finally opened her mouth a moment later, "Teacher wishes to see you one last time."
"See me one last time?" Xiao Yan's eyes narrowed. He slowly clenched his fist and his voice had gradually turned dense and cold, "You better not tell me that she has done something foolish. I already told you that I can still find all the Misty Cloud Sect's disciples despite them having been scattered!"
Nalan Yanran's eyebrows were bunched up together. She said, "Teacher will not do that kind of thing. Follow me if you are willing to see her. There might not be any chance in the future if you are unwilling." Nalan Yanran did not wait for Xiao Yan to reply after she spoke. She turned around and walked out of the mansion.
Xiao Yan knit his brows. A moment later, he stood up and threw his gaze to Xiao Li by the side. He tossed with his hand and a scroll was thrown to the latter, "Second brother, you should try to gather all of these medicinal ingredients. I have a great use for them. Do not delay!"
Xiao Li was startled when he received the scroll. He saw the flickering in Xiao Yan's gaze and seemed to have understood something. He immediately nodded without leaving a trace.
Xiao Yan spoke a couple of words to the two of them after handing the scroll to Xiao Li. He immediately followed Nalan Yanran out with quick footsteps. The words that she brought caused his face to quietly become a little gloomy. What was she thinking of doing again?
Chapter 732: Parting Ways
Nalan Yaran flew in a certain direction out of the city once she left the Xiao clan. Xiao Yan knit his brows slightly and followed close behind.
Her speed was not reduced even after flying out of the capital. Instead, she flew in the direction of the Misty Cloud Mountain. Xiao Yan pondered for a moment when he saw this before continuing to follow. With his current strength, he need not be worried that Nalan Yanran might play a trick. Although the latter was also at the peak of the Dou Wang class, Xiao Yan had the confidence to kill her within ten exchanges if they were to really fight.
They flew above the enormous plains as though they were chasing after the stars and moon until the Misty Cloud Mountain, that penetrated the sky, appeared in his sight. Xiao Yan's speed was increased. A moment later, he followed close behind Nalan Yanran and appeared on the Misty Cloud Mountain.
Xiao Yan's figure was standing in the air. His gaze swept over the empty sect below. At this moment, there was not even a little of the liveliness of the past in the current Misty Cloud Sect. Not even half a human figure could be seen as the autumn wind blew past. The open ground was messy and especially desolate-looking.
During the time that Xiao Yan's gaze swept past this scene, Nalan Yanran's gaze was looking below with a startled look. A moment later, she sighed and immediately could not resist looking at Xiao Yan with a furious look. She spoke in a deep voice, "Are you only satisfied after turning things into this manner?"
Xiao Yan's gaze was cold as he glanced at the somewhat angry Nalan Yanran. His voice was calm as he said, "Would you still say this if you saw how my Xiao clan was killed by the Misty Cloud Sect until nothing was left?"
Nalan Yanran paused and didn't say anything. She heard from Yun Yun about how bloody and savage the Misty Cloud Sect was. However, when she saw that the once busy sect became desolate, her heart didn't feel too great.
Nalan Yanran's pupils paused on Xiao Yan's young, delicate, peaceful face. A slight ripple appeared in her eyes. He seemed to have become much more matured and colder compared to three years ago. It is likely that he had experienced quite a lot during these three years.
Nalan Yanran's mind was somewhat absent-minded as she looked at the black-robed, young man in front of her. She suddenly recalled the matter that changed the relationship between the two of them a couple of years ago.
That day, she relied on the might of the Misty Cloud Sect to ruthlessly trample on his little remaining pride because his Dou Qi had dissipated.
She was still clearly able to remember her fury and the vicious, cold, naive words she said back then. However, those naive words from back then had currently been completely realized.
A bitterness seemed out from the corner of Nalan Yanran's mouth as she thought until this point. She mocked herself, "Actually, I currently feel quite regretful about that matter back then. If I did not head to the Xiao clan in my willfulness, it is likely that the Xiao clan and the Misty Cloud Sect would all be fine."
"Unfortunately, there is no medicine for regret in this world." Xiao Yan inhaled a deep breath of air. He immediately waved his hand with some agitation and said, "Bring me to see Yun Yun. Those matters have already been dealt with. There is no way to change it no matter what happens. Hence, there is no need to mention them."
The bitterness on the corner of Nalan Yanran's mouth became even more intense upon seeing this manner of Xiao Yan. The back of her teeth gently bit her lower red lip. This could be considered a bitter fruit that she had planted. A bitterness had indeed seeped deep into her heart now that she had eaten it.
"I am not thinking of getting you to forget about those matters back then. It is just that I want to say that I, Nalan Yanran, did indeed have the short-sightedness of a mouse. Given the current situation, I can be considered to have sought my own bitterness." Nalan Yanran mocked herself before immediately turning around and swiftly flying to the backside of the mountain. "Follow me."
A glow flickered in Xiao Yan's eyes as he looked at the graceful figure in front of him. A moment later, he flapped the fire wings on his back and swiftly followed.
Xiao Yan followed Nalan Yanran to the back of the mountain and passed through some dense forest along the way. Finally, they stopped at a precipitous mountain cliff.
"Teacher is on the top of the cliff. You can go by yourself. After today, teacher and I will leave the Jia Ma Empire. We might seldom return in the future." Nalan Yanran pointed to the top of the cliff and spoke in a soft voice as her body paused in front of the cliff.
"Leave?" Xiao Yan was startled when he heard this. He immediately asked in a deep voice, "Where?"
"We still don't know. The Dou Qi continent is so huge and I have long thought of going out to experience it. This time around, I will accompany teacher and leave. We might well not have gain another chance to meet in the future." Nalan Yanran let out a somewhat melancholy sigh. She immediately turned around and walked down the cliff.
Xiao Yan's face was slightly solemn as he watched Nalan Yanran's back. He clenched his teeth and swiftly rushed to the mountain cliff. A moment later, he appeared on the cliff. His eyes looked at the edge of the precipitous mountain cliff. There was a white-clothed woman standing elegantly at that spot. She had smooth black hair that fell down along her shoulder. It drifted just as the breeze blew, appearing refined and quiet.
"You have arrived."
The lady spoke in a soft voice. She suddenly let out a distant sigh after having heard that slight footsteps.
"You are intending to leave the Jia Ma Empire?" Xiao Yan's expression was somewhat ugly as he slowly walked forward and questioned in a deep voice.
The lady slowly turned around and revealed that pretty face. She was naturally Yun Yun. At this moment, her pretty eyes glanced at Xiao Yan as she said, "The Misty Cloud Sect has already ceased to exist. There is no longer any point in me remaining. I have been trapped within this Jia Ma Empire for so many years and it is good to be able to leave."
"There are many experts on the Dou Qi continent with a danger that is beyond compare. As a lady, going out to experience it is no different for asking to suffer. This Jia Ma Empire may not be as interesting as the outside world but it can protect you." Xiao Yan clenched his teeth and spoke. He studied Yun Yun. She was wearing a dispirited look between her eyebrows.
Yun Yun immediately revealed a smile upon hearing Xiao Yan's words. Although her smile was short-lived, it caused one to be dazzled.
"No matter how one puts it, I have the strength of someone at the peak of the Dou Huang class. How can I be some weak woman without even the strength to restrain a chicken." Yun Yun shook her head slightly. Her bright eyes looked at Xiao Yan as she softly said, "You have already turned the Misty Cloud Sect into this manner. I know that you are doing this for revenge after the Misty Cloud Sect attempted to exterminate your Xiao clan. The disbanding of the Misty Cloud Sect now can be considered retribution. I do not hate you even though teacher has died in your hands."
"Then why are you still leaving?" Xiao Yan knit his brows. He hesitated a little before speaking, "I am currently lacking some powerful experts beside me. If you really do not hate me, you can stay behind and help me."
The glow in her bright pupils started intently at Xiao Yan. It only turned away after the latter's face turned slightly red. Yun Yun's voice was gentle as she spoke, "Indeed, I do not hate you. However, I am ultimately the Sect Leader of the Misty Cloud Sect… even though the Misty Cloud Sect is already non-existent."
Xiao Yan clenched his fist tight. A fury surfaced within his eyes. He understood Yun Yun's meaning. She did indeed not hate him for destroying the Misty Cloud Sect. However, due to her unique status, she could not remain by his side.
"Given my status and position, I should be doing my best to take revenge. However, you should know that even if I have that ability, I do not have the heart to act… since this is the case, it is best to leave." Yun Yun's voice was despondent as she responded.
Xiao Yan's expression was dark. This woman was always so stubborn!
"I heard that you are intending to establish a faction within the Jia Ma Empire. What the Misty Cloud Sect has collected over the many years is in here. It no longer has much use to me now. I shall give it to you." Yun Yun smiled as she looked at Xiao Yan's expression. She slowly stepped forward, carrying a fragrant wind. She immediately placed that dark-green ring in Xiao Yan's hand.
Xiao Yan held the storage ring tightly. His gaze stared intently at this woman who had left him a deep memory during the first time that he had left to train. He asked in a deep voice, "Must you leave?"
Yun Yun looked at the delicate, handsome, young face from close proximity. A gentleness surfaced within her eyes. There was a little less tenderness and more maturity within it compared to three years ago.
"Little fellow, you really have grown up. Ke ke, now that the Misty Cloud Sect has turned into this manner, I also wish to go out and take a walk around. Perhaps I will return once again when I manage to settle the matter in my heart. At that time, it is likely that I will not reject you if you still wish for me to stay and help you." Yun Yun slowly extended her delicate hand and gently fondled Xiao Yan's face while she spoke in a gentle voice.
Xiao Yan's face also gradually turned gentler as he sensed the soft touch that was transmitted from her hand. It was not like he did not have the slightest feeling toward this woman in front of him.
"Sometimes, I think that if you were a little bolder in the mountain cave back then and ignored my threats, now might…" Yun Yun suddenly laughed softly as her eyes stared at Xiao Yan.
Xiao Yan suddenly extended his hand as his eyes flickered. He hugged that delicate waist and whispered, "Are you implying something?"
A faint bright-redness surfaced on Yun Yun's pale snow-like face upon being forcefully hugged by Xiao Yan. She gently struggled for a moment but she was hugged even more tightly by Xiao Yan.
Yun Yun could only give up her struggle after a futile attempt to break away. She flipped her hand and a deep-blue inner vest appeared in her hand. She gently pressed the vest against Xiao Yan's chest and softly spoke, "This is the first thing that I gave you. Originally, it was tattered but I have carefully mended it. Even though it no longer has much use to you now, you can still carefully hold on to it. Otherwise, don't blame me for falling out with you should you be unable to take it out when I return to the Jia Ma Empire in the future."
Xiao Yan was startled as he looked at the vest pressed against his chest. The events surrounding her in the past also began to flash one at a time in Xiao Yan's head in a torrent-like manner. His gaze was slightly lowered as he looked at the gentle-feeling that was contained in her pretty moving eyes. An impulse surged within his heart. He forcefully held the latter's skinny snow-white chin. After which, his mouth was imprinted on her tender, beautiful dripping-red lips.
Yun Yun only had the time to emit a soft hoot upon being sneakily attacked by Xiao Yan before she was stopped. Her delicate hand knocked against the front of his chest but it was soft and weak. There was not even the slightest force within it.
"Forget it. In any case, I am about to leave. I shall just do as you want for once…" Yun Yun softly sighed in her heart as she shut her eyes. Her tightly closed mouth was slowly opened and allowed the other party's domineering attack in.
A man and woman were in a tight embrace on the cliff of a mountain. They were emitting a feeling that would cause one's heart to feel a fiery heat.
Nalan Yanran's delicate hand gently leaned against the rock wall on one side of the mountain cliff. Her gaze was complicated as she looked at the man and woman who were hugging in the distance. A moment later, she let out a smile of melancholy as she quietly withdrew.