Imperial city, Ouyang manor.
The elderly Ouyang's expression was stern as he sat above the great hall. Most of the Ouyang family members were present within the hall.
Ouyang Zongheng was solemn as a statue as he sat below his father. The mood within the hall was extremely serious.
Xiaoyi was sulking with a pout on her face and her large eyes were filled with dissatisfaction. She glanced at the elderly Ouyang sitting above the great hall and bitterly snorted as she turned her head away.
"You rascals, watch Xiaoyi properly. She's absolutely not allowed to take even half a step outside of the manor today." The elderly Ouyang's head ached whenever he saw Ouyang Xiaoyi's behavior, but he still pulled a long face as he instructed the three barbarians of Ouyang.
The three barbarians of Ouyang nodded. Their eyes were sternly fixated on Ouyang Xiaoyi. However, when they were glared at by the sullen Ouyang Xiaoyi, the three brothers immediately looked away in guilt.
"Grandpa! Why am I not allowed to go out! The store still needs my help!" Ouyang Xiaoyi indignantly asked the elderly Ouyang.
The elderly Ouyang scowled at her. "Xiaoyi, grandpa is only thinking for your sake. For the past few days, the situation within the imperial city has become grim. The crown prince and the second prince has been openly roping in the imperial court's officials. They're willing to do anything in order to pull people to their side! We're afraid for your safety!"
"Even if that's the case… You still can't stop me from helping out at the store!" Ouyang Xiaoyi was still unhappy as she pouted her mouth while puffing up her cheeks and said.
"Help… What sort of help can you provide! You're the daughter of a general! How could you always run around in public and even work as a waitress in a restaurant! What a disgrace!" The elderly Ouyang was exasperated by the stubborn Xiaoyi. His beard was twitching with anger.
When Ouyang Xiaoyi heard his words, she suddenly held her arms across her chest. She coldly glanced at the elderly Ouyang and softly laughed. "Grandpa, that's not what you were saying yesterday! When I advanced to fourth grade Battle-Spirit, you were definitely overjoyed! You were even glad to let me be a waitress everyday!"
The elderly Ouyang's body stiffened as a hint of embarrassment appeared on his face. However, a grin soon appeared on his face as he shamelessly said, "If I say you can't go, then you can't go! Today, you still have to obediently stay within the manor!"
"Hmph! Smelly grandpa! I am going to ignore you from now on!"
Ouyang Xiaoyi was furious! She snorted toward the elderly Ouyang and left the great hall in a huff with her head held high.
"What are you three rascals doing! Go and watch over that girl!" The elderly Ouyang angrily shouted at the three barbarians of Ouyang, who were busy watching the show.
Below the elderly Ouyang, Ouyang Zongheng was wiping away his cold sweat as he thought, "Father… What kind of example are you setting for the youngsters..."
The elderly Ouyang calmed down after the three barbarians of Ouyang left in low spirits. He turned his head toward Ouyang Zongheng and asked, "What's the situation on His Majesty's side?"
Ouyang Zongheng's expression immediately turned cold as he solemnly replied, "His Majesty's condition is not optimistic."
The elderly Ouyang suddenly sighed. The emperor had spent his youth leading campaigns against the sects and fought with many experts. His wounds accumulated and left hidden ailments throughout his body. Now that he reached old age, even the mighty Emperor Changfeng was unable to withstand these hidden ailments that suddenly flared up.
Ouyang Zongheng helplessly sighed as well. The situation within the imperial city was already somewhat grim. If the emperor passed away, the entire imperial city would instantly descend into chaos. This was also the reason the elderly Ouyang prohibited Ouyang Xiaoyi from leaving the manor.
For a while, the great hall became quiet and no one said a word.
After a long time, a figure was dashing toward the great hall. He swiftly entered the great hall and knelt before the elderly Ouyang. A sealed envelope was held in his hand.
The elderly Ouyang's eyelids twitched as he opened the envelope and rapidly scanned its contents.
When he finished reading, his complexion was extremely dreadful and his beard was trembling.
Ouyang Zongheng swallowed his saliva, and asked, "Father… What's the situation?"
With a burst of true energy emitted from his hand, the letter was immediately turned into ashes. The elderly Ouyang's eyes contained a trace of melancholy and sorrow.
"His Majesty… passed away."
As the elderly Ouyang said those words, he seemed to have aged ten years within an instant.
On the main road of the imperial city, a petite figure was skipping while heading toward Fang Fang's Little Store.
"Hmph! Stupid grandpa, you actually let my three foolish brothers watch over me. With how thickheaded they are, how could they watch over the resourceful and intelligent Xiaoyi!" Ouyang Xiaoyi's eyes were curved into crescents. When she thought about her grandpa's fuming expression when he realized she ran away, she could not help but exult in her mind.
"Eh? It's snowing."
Ouyang Xiaoyi was walking along when she suddenly exclaimed and raised her head in puzzlement. A burst of winter wind blew across the grey skies and then snowflakes as white as goose feathers silently descended.
Xiaoyi stretched out her fair hand and a snowflake fell onto her palm. It silently melted and turned into ice-cold, bone-chilling water. It was like the sky was weeping.
"How beautiful," Xiaoyi expelled a white cloud of breath as she softly muttered. She flung off the water on her palm and continued moving forward.
The arrival of the imperial city's first snow was that sudden. The pedestrians on the main road all stopped to admire the snow for a while before they hurriedly resumed walking.
Behind Ouyang Xiaoyi, several figures suddenly started to follow her. Within an instant, they sped up and completely surrounded her.
Xiaoyi's large eyes suddenly widened as true energy immediately burst forth from her body in order to escape their encirclement.
However, the cultivation level of the attackers were high. They were actually all fifth grade Battle-Kings. Ouyang Xiaoyi was captured before she could make any attempts to escape.
"Let go of me! My father is General Ouyang and my grandfather is a doyen of the current dynasty! If you kidnap me... you'll be beaten up!" Ouyang Xiaoyi was infuriated! There was actually someone who was brazen enough to kidnap a general's daughter within the imperial city!
Those Battle-King experts glanced at Ouyang Xiaoyi. They could not even be bothered to give a reply as they immediately stuffed a rag into her mouth and carried her away.
"Go back and report to the young master that the mission is completed."
One of the figures nodded, and then, he instantly separated from the group as the tip of his toes tapped the ground.
Bu Fang was curled up on his chair. As he watched the heavy snow slowly descending from the gray skies, he subconsciously curled up his body even more.
It was snowing and the weather became colder as well.
There were very few customers on that day, to the point where Bu Fang was not used to it. Basically, those regular customers did not appear.
"Is it because it's snowing?" Bu Fang softly muttered while he remained curled up on the chair.
Suddenly, the sound of messy footsteps came from within the alleyway as three bear-like, boorish figures appeared in front of the store.
"Eh? Isn't this the really invincible Ouyang brothers?" Bu Fang thought. He was slightly surprised as he puzzledly looked at the anxious Ouyang brothers that appeared in front of his store.
"Owner Bu… Is that girl, Xiaoyi, here?" Ouyang Zhen immediately asked while breathing heavily.
"That girl actually deceived us and secretly snuck out! What happened to the basic trust between siblings!" Ouyang Di said.
Bu Fang expressionlessly looked at the three brothers and simply said, "Ouyang Xiaoyi didn't come here today."
"She's not here?! How could that… She..." Ouyang Wu glared at Bu Fang. Then, he seemed to have thought of something. The expressions of the three brothers suddenly changed as they looked at each other and said, "Oh no!"
Xiaoyi secretly snuck out in order to help out at the store. However, she was not inside the store… There was only one possibility.
"Motherfucker, these bunch of despicable scumbags dare to kidnap my sister…" Ouyang Zhen angrily shouted. The three brothers immediately turned after and left in a rage, leaving a bewildered Bu Fang behind.
As Bu Fang expressionlessly watched the three of them leaving, the corners of his mouth widened into a bemused smile. "These three brothers… must have turned stupid."