HSSB1001: Yan Di
Hearing Yan Di's words, Yan Zhaoge's gaze involuntarily drifted again to the chaotic clouds of starlight above his head that resembled lotuses.
"It was not you who found it, but it that found you?" Yan Zhaoge repeated, "By its own will?"
Yan Di was silent for a moment before he said, "I do not believe that this was a coincidence."
"…Because?" Yan Zhaoge asked as he pondered.
As Yan Di extended his hand, the Grand Simplicity Splendour Cloud above his head drifted downwards, resembling a small, dim, intricate lotus which silently hovered above his palm.
"The very first time I set eyes on this Grand Simplicity Splendour Cloud, I felt an inexplicable, exceptional sense of closeness to it," Yan Di's expression turned increasingly strange, "Also, I instantly realised its identity right there and then."
"While I am extremely familiar with the Grand Simplicity Splendour Cloud, from what I remember, this should be my first time ever seeing it."
At this point, Yan Di halted slightly.
After a while, he finally ventured slowly, "It sounds rather strange, but I seemed to feel…a mother's embrace?"
Hearing this, a thoughtful look appeared on Yan Zhaoge's head as well as he carefully observed the Grand Simplicity Splendour Cloud above Yan Di's palm.
"After this Grand Simplicity Splendour Cloud ended up with me, without even having to refine it, I could already easily wield it like a part of my body, just as if…" Yan Di considered it before saying, "Just as if it had always belonged to me in the first place."
Yan Zhaoge pondered for a while before suddenly asking, "That time in the Brocade Emperor's Minor No Hatred dao arena seems to be the first time you headed to extradimensional space?"
Raising his palm lightly as the Grand Simplicity Splendour Cloud returned above his head, Yan Di said, "That's right, it is precisely so."
"I too have considered what you speak of. Perhaps it had been waiting for me in extradimensional space all along. When I arrived in extradimensional space, it automatically came to seek me out."
Yan Di's expression turned tranquil.
"The problem is, why?" Lightly rubbing his temples, Yan Zhaoge raised his head and looked at his father, "It was waiting for you all along, seemingly being yours in the first place. You feel a sense of closeness and familiarity with it too…"
Yan Di understood what Yan Zhaoge was implying.
He too had been suspecting the same in recent days.
"Back in the Eight Extremities World that year, when the Decimating Abyss rampaged and Broad Creed Mountain suffered a tribulation, there was chaos that occurred within our family as well."
Yan Di said slowly, "What Yan Wendao and the others said was true."
"I am not of my parents' flesh and blood."
"I learnt of all this a long time ago. Also, it was precisely Father himself who told me the truth."
"It is just that I have always taken myself as a member of the Yan Family, and others within the family do treat me as family too. To me, that is already enough."
"Whether or not I am the Family Head is not important to me. However, since Grandfather passed down the position to me, I would not refuse him and leave him disappointed."
Hearing his father's narration, Yan Zhaoge nodded silently.
Those suspecting Yan Di's identity at the time had possessed a letter personally penned by Yan Di's father, Yan Zhaoge's grandfather.
From the handwriting, it had not been forged.
Ever since then, Yan Zhaoge had basically known the truth.
"Back then, our family had still yet to move to the Heaven Domain's Central Heaven Region as we were still at the Thunder Domain's Zhaozhou," A look of reminiscence appeared on Yan Di's face, "Father picked me up in the wilderness amidst the mountains. Because of what I had on me, he ultimately brought me back to the family."
Now, he retrieved two jade pendants, placing them before Yan Zhaoge.
These two jade pendants were exactly the same as they formed a pair.
While both were very ordinary and not very precious treasures, they were rather intricate as they possessed a beautiful appearance.
A single character was inscribed on each of these jade pendants.
'Yan' and 'Di'.
Seeing this, Yan Zhaoge smacked his lips, "It may be the surnames of two people."
He spoke no further.
It was extremely likely that one was a man and the other a woman.
Still, Yan Zhaoge knew that his father had definitely guessed this too.
"Because of this, father brought me home," Yan Di picked up that jade pendant with the 'Yan' character inscribed on it, "At first, he thought that it was a child lost or abandoned by a member of our family. However, following multiple investigations, he confirmed that this was not the case."
"While I was not a member of the family, father thought that since we were both surnamed Yan, there was fate that existed between us. Therefore, he personally adopted me."
Now, Yan Di picked up that jade pendant with the 'Di' character, "I would obviously be surnamed Yan, and as for my name, this is where it originated."
Yan Zhaoge received the two jade pendants from him, carefully appraising them one in each hand.
"Father and mother saw me as their own, and I was not unaware of this at all beforehand," Yan Di exhaled slowly, "It was only when the family encountered danger when moving from the Thunder Domain's Zhaozhou to the Heaven Domain's Central Heaven Region that father told me this right before he died."
Yan Zhaoge nodded, "In other words, Grandfather…he too did not know where you come from."
Yan Di nodded slightly, looking at the Grand Simplicity Splendour Cloud above his head, "With so many years having passed, I am not concerned with seeking out my true origins. Still, it seems that somehow or other, the answer seems to be getting closer to me."
Father and son exchanged looks, both shaking their heads.
It would still be fine if Yan Di's origins were ordinary.
Yet, if there was a greater story behind it, it was very difficult to tell if it spelled calamity or fortune.
The Grand Simplicity Splendour Cloud here was indeed great. Yet, who could know that the roots of trouble were not secretly concealed within?
Yan Zhaoge ceased in his thoughts as he instead smiled, "With this Grand Simplicity Splendour Cloud protecting you, the attacks directed at you by the myriad arts of this world will all diminish greatly in effectiveness. Many will even fail to exert any effect."
"With it, you are virtually on undefeated ground even before entering battle with many opponents."
Having originally already been extremely domineering as his attacks shocked the heavens, as he now gained the protection of the Grand Simplicity Splendour Cloud, Yan Di had become extremely mighty in terms of both offence and defence.
"A battle can see countless variations in an instant, and the Grand Simplicity Splendour Cloud is not absolutely impenetrable," Yan Di remained calm, "For example, the Heaven Earth Within Sleeve of that Qing Shuzi of the Heaven Emperor's lineage that you faced last time was considerably difficult to guard against."
"Trapped within the sleeve, even if one is not injured, they would still have lost the initiative."
Yan Zhaoge smiled, "With this Grand Simplicity Splendour Cloud present, unless the Heaven Emperor comes to deal with you himself, a supreme martial art like Heaven Earth Within Sleeve that leaves most people helpless would really be useless against you. Still, speaking of the Heaven Emperor…"
"He is currently away from the World beyond Worlds, but he might return after he receives the news," Yan Zhaoge knit his brows slightly, "After we wrecked his plans in the Royal Reed Sea, in consideration of his status, he only found trouble with the Southeastern Exalt previously, never having targeted us."
"Now that I have slain Qing Shuzi and Daoist Leading Mist, the Heaven Emperor has a legitimate reason to directly make a move."
Hearing this, Yan Di said mildly, "Those who kill can themselves be killed. Since they came to encircle and kill you along with those of Wutong Slope, being slain instead due to inferior skill is just natural."
"If the Heaven Emperor wants to come, we battle. If I am superior, I kill. If I am inferior, I am killed. This is a principle that all martial practitioners know from the very first day they begin to cultivate."
Yan Zhaoge said, "Us killing is fine, but being killed probably wouldn't feel all that good."
"It is just that time waits for no man. The problem now is that time is likely running out."