It actually sounded rather convincing… After all, there was a past example.
Han Zhan Meng was immediately stunned. He frowned and his eyes reflected his inner conflict. He finally said, "Well then, please help me watch over them carefully. Notify me immediately if there's something wrong!" As he said, he walked out, obviously laden with anxiety. Are both of my daughters going to have the same fate?
He stared upward at the snow-capped peak half veiled by clouds. His emotions surged. His elder daughter had been training in seclusion for ten years up there. It was sort of her punishment, but by her own choice…
Han Zhan Meng sighed and his eyes showed his dismay. Suddenly he launched forward and dashed towards the snow-capped peak.
He did not notice that behind him, a sense of relief appeared in Xiao Xing Yun's malicious eyes. Finally… I've bluffed him through this time.
The snow-capped peak was one of the crucial parts to the oath the Dongfang Family was forced to make!
To collapse of the snow-covered sword peak and the drive out all Xuan Beasts from Tian Fa!
It was the highest peak in the snowy mountains. It resembled a huge sword that was piercing the sky. The peak was roughly in the shape of a cone, and there were two mountain ridges on both side of this peak. The mountain ridges looked like the sword handle while the snow-capped peak the blade.
The majestic looking snow-capped peak stretched over ten square kilometers!
Collapsing the snow-capped peak was an almost impossible task! How could such a large mountain collapse so easily?
As Han Zhan Meng reached the foot of the peak, he could not help recall the battle and the oath made in that fateful year. He felt sorry for the Dongfang Family. An outstanding family of assassins would forever be locked away in seclusion by the oath and there was little hope for them to rise again.
Due to the thinning air, the higher one went up a mountain, the harder it was to breath. An ordinary person would even have the danger of suffocating climbing up the snow-capped mountain. However, for a Xuan practitioner, it was the opposite. There was more Heaven Earth Spiritual Qi concentrated at higher altitudes, so training up here was very beneficial to their cultivation.
Snowflakes swirled as they glided down. The snow-capped peak looked like this all year round. This caused the peak to look a hundred meters higher than its actual height. It was all piled snow that was compressed into ice. If there was enough heat, a small stream could easily form within a few days. But how could there be so much heat in the first place in a location like this…
The cave where Han Yan Yao stayed was near the very top of the peak! The temperature there was even lower. It was twice as cold as the foot of the peak. It would also be more beneficial to train there and many generations of young talents did indeed train there. But the longest they stayed in seclusion was three years while most could only last for a few months. After all, humans were social beings, and the isolation would be soon unbearable and might drive people crazy.
Especially in the last few hundred years, training here had slowly become a form of punishment.
But Han Yan Yao had been staying here for ten years!
As her father, even Han Zhan Meng could not imagine how she had endured the boredom.
His wife and the Great Elder had asked many times for her to come own, but she would always refuse calmly without giving a reason!
As Han Zhan Meng continued to sigh softly, the frost-covered entrance of the cave was visible. He stepped into the darkness.
It was even colder in the cave than outside. Looking around, it was an icy world. The whole cave was only decorated by the naturally occurring reflective ice walls and shiny icicles. There were no furniture or daily goods. There was nothing one could enjoy.
Is this a place where a girl could live?
At the center of the cave, a woman in white with her black hair falling over her shoulders was sitting on a raised platform made by ice. She had her eyes closed and hands placed in front of her abdomen. She was training. There was only calmness on her face as her whole figure seemed to blend in with the icy background. She looked hardly alive.
Han Zhan Meng felt a pain in his heart. Is this still the daughter who would ask me to tell her a story? Where have her smiles and happiness gone to?
"Little Yao." Han Zhan Meng finally called out softly as mixed feelings exploded within him.
As she heard the sound, she slowly opened her eyes. There was a glimpse of warmth coming from her eyes as she saw that her father was before her. But she remained emotionless. "Dad, welcome."
She had passed many years here and the pain in her heart that couldn't be alleviated had rendered her unable to smile. She couldn't even talk much. She had become a part of the snowy mountains, refusing to be melted!
Perhaps no one except him can make her smile again…
Han Zhan Meng only stared at his daughter but couldn't say anything.
The sense of unfamiliarity and distance between them was agonizing.
After a while, Han Yan Yao spoke first. "What brings dad here today?"
Han Zhan Meng wanted to say many things, but he suppressed those ideas. Instead he said, "Little Yao. There's a thing that has always been bothering me for ten years. I wanted to hear from you."
Han Yan Yao raised her brows slightly in surprise. "Please say."
"I sent men to check on Jun Wu Yi after you fell in love with him. Honestly, he isn't too bad. But in my opinion, he is inferior to Xiao Han in all aspects. I still don't know why you made the decision. Does Jun Wu Yi really have something so special?"
It was true that this had puzzled him for ten years, but he only decided to mention it again because of the Great Elder's guess just now. What if the Elder's guess was true? Would both his daughters meet the same fate?
Upon hearing the name "Jun Wu Yi," Han Yan Yao's eyes glowed with gentleness and her cold face seemed to thaw, but it soon turned back. "Dad, don't you know? I thought you had long known."
"Why do you say so?" Han Zhan Meng frowned.
"Jun Wu Yi cannot match Xiao Han's looks and gentleness. No matter Xuan cultivation, skills, or even the background, Jun Wu Yi is completely inferior. To a common woman, Xiao Han is obviously much more outstanding than Jun Wu Yi."
"Hmm? Since you knew, why did you make the decision…?" Han Zhan Meng didn't expect this answer. He thought his daughter would endlessly praise Jun Wu Yi.
"Yes, considering all the external factors, Xiao Han is better than Wu Yi. But to me, Jun Wu Yi is the real man!"
Han Yan Yao's cold eyes emitted fiery flames as she recalled. "His Xuan cultivation was low, but he often did things to help others without seek fame and fortune. Although he is not good-looking, he's so open-minded. He's a real gentleman! His family is considered prominent secularly, but he's never arrogant and unreasonable! He's young, but he is willing to sacrifice for his country and became the famous Blood General! These are his good qualities! Father, is Xiao Han like this? If he weren't born into a prominent family, how generous would he be?
"Let's put all this aside first! The most unforgettable is our first encounter in the Magnificent Jewel Hall! I can't forget his handsome nonchalance!"
She slowly raised her head. "Dad, I'm confident with my looks! I'm sure there are only a few who can match my beauty. I'm sure you agree."
Han Zhan Meng silently nodded, Han Yan Yao was indeed breathtakingly beautiful. She was easily the prettiest woman in the Silver City even today. He had long been used to the way some of the apprentices would suddenly become stunned and have their eyes glued on his daughter.
"When Jun Wu Yi saw me that day, he was only amazed for a short while and soon returned to his usual calmness." Han Yan Yao recalled with a shy smile on her face. "When he left, he didn't turn back his head to look at me again. I had in my possession a herb he wanted; he literally took it from my hand and stuffed a few notes in, then left immediately. I was still a very proud girl then, so of course I wouldn't let him go like that. I followed him. My Xuan cultivation was much higher than his, so he didn't realize.
"I wanted to make a fool of him. But I was surprised to find out that he left so hurriedly because one of his lieutenant was poisoned and the antidote was the herb I had had! The lieutenant had been deeply poisoned, so the herb only allowed him to say his last words before the poison reached his heart and took his life. Jun Wu Yi immediately cried, lying on his body. He tried to suck the poison out from the lieutenant's wounds, but it was obviously to no avail! Dad, it was the first time I saw a man crying and I finally understood what is brotherhood!
"I silently left, but the scene in which he cried lying on his brother's body loitered in my head. He gave up the opportunity to interact with… a beauty like me to save his brother who was almost certainly dead and left without hesitation… A few days later, I met him again. It was when he sent away his elder brother on the day the army headed out…
"The more I interacted, the more I was certain that although he wasn't a genius nor a heir of a super family, he was a true man! He never had to hide anything from me. He was so real and authentic.
"I don't care what others think. I just feel that Xiao Han is too fake. The way he looks at me is full of lust and makes it seem like I am already his. On the other hand, Jun Wu Yi showed empathy and respect. So I love Jun Wu Yi, and despise Xiao Han!"
"Perhaps, it's also because of that that Xiao Han is chosen by you without my approval while Jun Wu Yi is the one I chose by myself. He's the one that I can entrust my life to."
Han Yan Yao's voice was calmer than ever, but it sounded like screams of desperation to Han Zhan Meng. "The oath or the relationship between the families; I don't know which forced you to settle the marriage. But as we grew up, didn't you realize how stingy Xiao Han is? He would break anyone's limbs if they looked at me a bit longer, and some of them were of his relatives. And don't you know what a playboy he is? As soon as he entered the secular world, he began messing around with girls. He was so peremptory. He would rape them if they didn't obeyed. If anyone who tried to stop him was stronger than him, he would say that he was from the Xiao Family from the Silver City to get away with it! How despicable! Are you really willing to marry me to him? You can pretend that you didn't know, but I can't!
"You want a more secure relationship with the Xiao Family. I can understand. But will I really be happy if I'm married to him? What Xiao Han did was never a secret; did you really not know? Dad… you didn't listen to me… Did you know how much despair I was in?! I totally gave up on this pathetic life!" Tears rolled out from her eyes slowly.
Han Zhan Meng listened, so stunned. There was suddenly a heartfelt remorse. Even if he didn't know about all this, he did hear rumors about it. He didn't really care much about it. He thought it would get better when they were married. What could go wrong? But now, he really realized his mistakes!
Han Yan Yao said exasperatedly, "When I met Jun Wu Yi, I finally realized what a monster Xiao Han is! Dad, I'm sure anyone would marry their daughter to Jun Wu Yi instead of him!
"After the trip to Tian Xiang, the Xiao Family became arrogant to an astonishing degree! Jun Wu Yi didn't know my identity all along and didn't have the slightest intention to take advantage of the Silver City! The Xiao Family sent people to warn him directly. Was that a warning? It was humiliation! And they forced me to return. After that, they used all sorts of ways to punish the Jun Family! How ruthless! Jun Wu Hui, a war god, hero of the world! And they killed him together with Jun Wu Meng, an upright and heroic figure, at Tian Guan Lin just because of me! What's more, Jun Wu Hui's two sons were also killed because of me! Two bright teenagers! They spared Jun Wu Yi and only made him disabled because they wanted him to feel the endless torment of living a useless life! If I hadn't tried so hard to stop them, the whole family would have been gone! Dad, didn't you know about it? What did you do or say?!
"Dad, my whole life is ruined!" She looked blankly at her father. "All of them died because of me! If you were Jun Wu Yi, would you still want a trouble-causing woman like me? No matter how much you loved her, so many of your beloved ones died because of her! Could you still accept her? Dad, show some empathy! Everyone says that there's karma, but is there really justice? Violence creates rule in this world! Even those who could bring about justice would hide in the back because of all sorts of reasons. There are so many Supremes and Superior Supremes in the world and any one of them could stop the tragedy with a word! But did they do anything? They didn't! WHAT CAN I DO?"
Han Zhan Meng frowned in agony. He couldn't say anything! There seemed to be something blocking his throat. He knew so well that those bystanders without empathy his daughter had mentioned referred to him as well.
What could he say to his daughter who was tormented for ten years?
Han Yan Yao stood up slowly. She looked in desolation at the snow outside and said slowly, "It's cold here; I feel it too! But I don't want to go back down! I'd rather stay here for life! I don't want to see those familiar yet disgusting faces down there! I want to kill them, all of them! They are not worthy of living!
"I carved on the walls the names of those from the Jun Family who had died because of me on the first day I arrived here. I'm setting an altar for them! All I could do was to pray for their forgiveness. I have nothing here for me to pay tribute to them: there's only me, the sinful woman, and my three kowtows a day! I can't do anything else. I know it's all meaningless, but it comforts my conscience!
"I'm responsible for their death." Han Yan Yao was too calm that it was frightening. "And I'm a part of the Jun Family; I am Jun Wu Yi's woman! Dad, even if there wasn't a proper marriage nor any promise, I have long seen myself as their daughter-in-law. If I really die here someday, please send my body to the Jun Family! It's the last request I have for you, father!"
Han Zhan Meng stood up and sighed at the heavens. Being parted for so long, he thought he would have many things to say to his daughter. How would he know that he was left completely speechless!
Yes, there's karma!
Why didn't those who could do something do anything?
"Daughter, don't be so pessimistic. Perhaps… Jun Wu Yi will someday be strong enough to bring you back from here. As long as he reaches that level, I will fulfill your wishes." Han Zhan Meng breathed in and promised. "Even if it means turning against the Xiao Family!"
"Dad, it's too late. If you had said it ten years ago, everything could have been avoided! The tragedy has already played out, and the dead can't be brought back! Even if he comes to the Silver City one day… I believe he will be here to seek revenge instead of bringing me back! There's an irreconcilable hatred between us! I know him!
"The death of his brothers definitely haunts him, and it also haunts me! There's no way out! Dad… they are real brothers related by blood! We can support the Xiao Family for thousand years because of a sworn brotherhood, what about them?"
She smiled in despair. "Dad, the day he reaches the snowy mountain will be the day O end my life! I will beg for forgiveness when he finally avenges his brothers!"
"No!" Han Zhan Meng's body shook as he said firmly, "You can't do this… how will your mother and I face it?"
"The pain from losing me? I'm sure you'll be sad! But Jun Wu Yi was tormented by the loss of his beloved ones everyday for ten years! How could he face it? Dad, Xiao Han said he wanted Jun Wu Yi to experience torture for being alive, and he did! I'm sure that for ten years, he had felt worse than if he were dying!
"I have to pay the price! And my life is the only thing I can pay with! I just hope by then, our family will not stand by the side of the Xiao Family and deepen our sins!"
Han Zhan Meng sighed again at the heavens. He looked lifeless. "Little Yao, perhaps it won't be so far away. The Jun Family has announced that they will destroy the Silver City on the second of February!"
"What?!" Han Yan Yao jumped up and looked at her father with surprise and and so much joy. Her voice trembled. "Dad… are you trying to comfort me?"
"Of course. How can I joke around with this?" Han Zhan Meng nodded his head. He felt helpless as he watched the unconcealable joy of his daughter. The enemy is here and my daughter is so happy. The Jun Family wants to destroy the whole Silver City, not only the Xiao Family…
"Then… are they strong enough? Won't they be in danger if they don't have enough power?" Han Yan Yao was concerned.
"Them? They… are stronger than us!" Han Zhan Meng laughed bitterly. "Don't worry."
"Great! Don't worry, dad! Wu Yi won't kill the innocent! When he arrives at the Silver City, he will only seek revenge against the Xiao Family! I believe him!" Han Yan Yao's eyes were filled with hatred. "I want them all dead, starting from Xiao Han!"
"I hope so… but the Xiao Family…" Han Zhan Meng was still very uneasy with what he was feeling lately. He could hardly describe it and could only ponder harder…
"Xiao Family? What about them?"
"They… are very unusual lately." Han Zhan Meng sighed. He could only voice his suspicion here in front of his daughter on the summit of the snow-capped peak.
"What happened?" Han Yan Yao frowned.
"Very unusual. A group led by the Third Elder left the snowy mountains at the start of autumn. They are still not back… The intelligence they sent back is very dubious and I have long realized that. I sent many men out to check, but none of them returned. The Xiao Family is becoming more concerned with the intelligence section lately. No intelligence can reach me directly! I feel a great sense of insecurity and imminent danger!"
"The Xiao Family… we have been too nice to them all these years! Internal conflict is inevitable. No matter how deep our relationship was, as generations passed, it's not strange that their ambitions grew!
"I'm just concerned what will happen to my sister…" Han Yan Yao looked concerned.
"The Great Elder speculates that… she might be in the same situation as you then…" Han Zhan Meng shook his head. "But I think there's something else to it! I don't think something bad happened though. Xiao Han and Xiao Feng Wu went as well…"
"It's not strange if she's in the same situation because the whole Xiao Family is trash! No wonder I haven't been seeing that bastard Xiao Han…"
Han Yan Yao paused before continuing seriously. "Dad, be careful of the Xiao Family! And… don't get dragged into battle by the Xiao Family this time. We can't get involved!"
Han Zhan Meng sighed and quickly switched the topic. "Are you going to still stay here? At most twenty days later and the Jun Family will be here. Don't you want to come down?"
"Go down?" Han Yan Yao smiled dismally. She didn't say anymore. Her eyes stared blankly at the snow outside before finally turning back and stood before the ice wall, without moving for a long while.
Han Zhan Meng approached the wall and saw it.
The four memorial tablets!
At the end of it was "set up by the unfilial sister-in-law Han Yan Yao"!
Han Zhan Meng finally understood his daughter and felt her sorrow! The four names were like mountains that were crushing his daughter and forever separating her from Jun Wu Yi!
Even if the Xiao Family was gone, the mountains in her heart wouldn't fade away!
The dream of her life was shredded the moment the Xiao Family attacked Jun Wu Hui!
There was no more hope!
The only thing that was keeping her going was waiting for Jun Wu Hui's revenge! By then, it would be the time for her to beg for forgiveness with her life!
Is this the karma for the one who didn't do anything despite being capable?
Han Zhan Meng stood up silently and drifted down the peak, still so troubled…
Behind him, a slim figure in white stood amidst the clouds. Her hair danced with the snow and wind as she peered into the distance. On her breathtakingly beautiful face, there were droplets of tears that slid down and immediately froze on the ground. She simply stood there, as if she had always been there on the summit of the snow capped peak…