Ling Xian suppressed a faint smile. The glimpse in his eyes was flooded with determination and ambition.
Just like Yun Yan, he too, wanted to break all those unreasonable unwritten rules in the world. It was, however, a difficult thing to achieve – arguably more difficult than becoming an immortal. To attempt to break these rules was the same as challenging powerhouses of the world, as they are the rule setters of the society.
To achieve this ambition required more than courage. Determination was needed, and above all, one must possess the capability!
The capability to make the world kneel with mere fists!
"I… I do not dare to compete with you," Yun Yan’s cheeks flushed as the passion that was in her heart dispersed like smoke. Her courage suddenly turned into shame as she realized how she had just expressed her wild ambitions before a powerful youth. This made her embarrassed. After all, she was only 16 years old this year.
"One can only achieve something if one dares to think it. If one doesn’t even have the guts to think about something, how can one achieve anything?" Ling Xian smiled gently as he admired the beautiful lady before him.
Not everyone has the courage to want to break free of the deeply rooted protocols of the world. Even if Yun Yan was simply caught up in the moment and expressed her thoughts recklessly, it was enough to prove that she had the bravery for something better. Even if the results turn out to be unfavorable, the journey will nonetheless be amazing.
"You are right. However, I cannot compare myself with you. There is simply too much distance between us." Yun Yan chuckled. Facing the mysterious and hard-to-read Ling Xian, she really had no confidence left in her.
"So what if there is a huge gap between us? As living beings, we cannot know what we are capable of until we try." Ling Xian shook his head.
"You are right." Yun Yan was enlightened.
"Alright, let us move on. The night has turned cold. You should go back in." Ling Xian warmly grinned and walked towards the cave.
"Hang on for a minute," Yun Yan suddenly called out to him and stopped him, "For you to have come to this place… What are your plans?"
"For me to have come to this place, what plans could I have?" Ling Xian repeated the question.
Understanding that Ling Xian never had plans to be here in the first place, Yun Yan asked, "If that’s the case then why don’t you come to my clan with me and rest there? What do you think?" Yun Yan suggested as her eyes flashed with 70% anticipation and 30% shyness.
"Going back to your clan?" Ling Xian was a little startled.
This was not a bad idea. He has just arrived at this place with nobody to rely on. If he goes to the Yun Clan, he could rest up, get to know the clan, and use this connection to investigate whether or not there is a way for him to return to Yunzhou.
After all, the Yun Clan was one of the political forces here. It would be easier to get stuff done with them supporting him.
After evaluating the pros and cons, Ling Xian nodded. "If it doesn’t cause much trouble, then I accept your offering."
"It is my pleasure."
Yun Yan’s lips curled up as her smile blossomed into a flower.
The Sun had just rose and poured down golden rays of light that shone onto the endless ocean, reflecting and refracting.
On a tiny road in the Shi Ao Island, a Ninth-Realm Wicked Blooded Stallion slowly passed by while lugging a carriage.
The person sitting on top and in charge of steering the horse was Uncle Zhong, and the two guards sat right behind him.
Inside the carriage, sat sisters Yun Yan and Yun Meng as well as Ling Xian. He peacefully sat across from the sisters with his eyes closed.
When the six of them finally managed to escape the forest, the first thing they did was buying themselves a carriage so they can begin their journey towards the Yun Clan.
After roughly four hours on the road, the Wicked Blooded Stallion and the carriage entered the City of Sun and arrived before a grand manor.
The societal ways of the Shi Ao Island were similar to that on the nine continents. Some Clans and Houses choose to live in the mountains while all other forces choose to live in the city.
The Yun Clan was part of the majority who established themselves in the city. After all, it was one of the four most powerful forces in the City of Sun and liked to keep an eye on things.
The Chen Clan was the other powerful clan that rivaled the Yun Clan. The youth who died in the hands of Ling Xian was a direct descendant of the Chen Clan.
"Master Ling, we have arrived. Please come down from the carriage." Yun Yan smiled happily and hopped off the carriage. She then extended a hand, an invitation for Ling Xian to enter the manor first.
"You go right ahead, and I will follow you. I really do not care for these types of meaningless etiquette where the higher leveled cultivator enters places first." Ling Xian grinned lightly.
Yun Yan nodded and gently stepped back. Leading everyone through the entrance door then a swirly road, she headed for the greeting hall.
Ling Xian, behind her, checked out the architectural design of the different buildings.
The entire manor was surrounded by man-made mountains, and hundreds of flowers bloomed beneath them. The little roads within this piece of land twirled and twisted, all leading to a pond that was transparently blue. The scenery was moving, beautiful, luxurious, and indifferent from the nine continents.
"It seems that despite the lack of interaction between the continents and the islands, our culture is not that different," Ling Xian whispered to himself in a low voice. He was very pleased with the design of the manor. After all, he grew up in the continents. If everything here were too drastically different, he would feel a little uncomfortable from the culture shock.
After a while, Yun Yan and company arrived at the greeting hall. However, her mouth widened in surprise the moment she pushed open the door.
Five people were sitting on the chairs of the greeting hall. The man at the front of the room was an elder with grey hair and a white robe. He was the Clan Leader of the Yun Clan, the only foundational cultivator of the clan – Yun Hai.
Across from him sat four other men, all of whom were also grey haired with long white beards. They were the elders of the Yun Clan.
Just then, the five of them were discussing something of the utmost importance. Every single one of them had a solemn look on their face. It appears that they had run into something troublesome.
"Hmm? Yun Yan, you came back?" The Clan Leader, seeing Yun Yan, relaxed his brows and expressed a loving smile.
"Yes, Grandfather. I was about to summon someone to go and get you. I didn’t expect you to be here already. Are you meeting to discuss something?" Yun Yan looked around suspiciously. She first glanced at the forced and squeezed smile of her Grandfather and then turned to look at the other troubled elders. Her heart fell as a bad premonition appeared.
"Ah, About that…" Yun Hai hesitated, unsure if he could disclose anything to Yun Yan.
"Father, you might as well tell Yun Yan. The situation we are in concerns her, and we will have to tell her sooner or later." a handsome middle-aged man bitterly smiled. He was another great figure to the Yun Clan and the next in line to become the Clan Leader. He was the father of the two sisters, and his name was Yun Jing Lei.
"Father, Grandfather, what has happened? Why are you looking so concerned?" Yun Yan’s brows locked together as the worry she felt grew.
"Alright, since you will find out soon or later…" Yun Hai sighed deeply. He was just about to tell her when he noticed the unfamiliar face in the crowd. He gasped and pointed at Ling Xian. "Yun Yan, who is this man?"
"This is Master Ling, the savior of our lives." Yun Yan’s lips curved up as she told everyone the tale of how they were pursued by Chen Feng and how Ling Xian brought them back from the brink of death.
Instantly, the hall silenced.
Everyone’s eyes were filled with the color of shock as they stared at the seemingly ordinary, yet extraordinary youth.
A weak youth in appearance killed six cultivators by flicking his fingers?
How capability was he to do that?!
Even Yun Hai, the foundational cultivator, fell into shock. He could flick his finger and kill a meditational cultivator. But if his health condition was the same as Ling Xian’s, who was heavily wounded and could barely walk, he did not think he could achieve the same result.
"If the battle really did unfold the way Yun Yan had described, then this person is more capable than me."
Yun Hai’s face was full of shock. He quickly walked before Ling Xian and laughed, "Thank you, friend, for saving my two granddaughters. I am Yun Hai, pleased to meet you."
"You are being polite. Yun Yan saved my life first, there is no need to thank me." Ling Xian beamed lightly.
"Grandpa, save your thanks for later. Please hurry up and tell me what exactly happened." Yun Yan’s brows were still locked together as she impatiently wanted to find out what exactly happened for her Grandpa to be so troubled. She was told that the situation involved her after all.
"I…" Yun Hai hesitated as he glanced at Ling Xian.
Ling Xian paused for a second then immediately took the hint, "I will go for a walk. You guys talk."
"Grandpa, it is okay. He saved my life. What can’t we discuss in front of him?" Yun Yan lifted a brow.
"Father, just tell her. It’s not a shameful thing anyway," Yun Jing Lei uttered out as he smiled at Ling Xian appreciatively.
"if that’s the case then I will speak," Yun Hai exhaled deeply, "Yun Yan, you should remember how half a year ago, Master Wang left our clan and joined the Chu Clan instead."
Hearing this, Yun Yan’s face turned cold, and she scorned, "Of course I remember. That old bastard! We took care of him for so many years, yet he betrayed us. He is worth less than a dog!"
"It is meaningless to say these things now. After losing Master Wang, we have nobody in the clan who practices alchemy. Therefore, the alchemy industry crashed. We have been sustaining the demand with what we already had in storage. However, for the past four months, we no longer have a single Dan left, which means it’s been four months since our clan has had any income. You should understand what this means right?" Yun Hai smiled bitterly.
What this means?
Yun Yan froze. Suddenly remembering that it was close to the date of paying the controlling force fees again, she realized, "Grandfather, you mean… We do not have enough spiritual stones to pay the Zi Yang House this year?"
"Yes, we are short 50,000 spiritual stones."
Yun Hai sighed. Yun Jing Lei and others appeared to be mourning as if they were seeing the Yun Clan dying.
Yun Yan jumped as her face turned pale white. The solemn look everyone had on their faces made sense to her now.
According to Zi Yang House’s rules, a Clan small in size like the Yun Clan must pay 100,000 spiritual stones every year. The payment cannot be late even by one day. If it is late, then what awaits the Yun Clan was a bloodbath.
Usually, the businesses the Yun Clan operates can generate an annual income of roughly 120,000 spiritual stones. This was enough for them to accomplish their duty of paying the Zi Yang House. However, an incident happened this year that changed everything.
The Ninth-Realm Alchemist left the Yun Clan and joined the Chu Clan. Therefore, the alchemy industry, the industry that made up most of the clan’s income, no longer existed. Thus, there was no way to generate the 100,000 spiritual stones needed.
As the payment date draws closer and closer, the figures in the Yun Clan were getting more and more troubled.
"Yes. An entire 50,000 spiritual stones. After losing the entire Dan business, where do we find this astronomical amount of spiritual stones?" Yun Hai exhaled deeply, "It seems like we cannot get away from this. Could this be the end of our clan?"
"Grandpa, calm down. Let me think this through. There has to be a way," Yun Yan soothed, though she didn’t sound very persuasive. She, herself did not have a hint of confidence that they will get away with this.
50,000 spiritual stones.
To the Yun Clan, this was an astronomical amount that required half a year of work if spiritual Dans were supplied and demanded. Now that Master Wang was gone, where do they get this money?
Yun Yan seemed to have lost her soul.
Everyone from the Yun Clan seemed to have turned to dust.
Just then, a confident laughter slowly rose.
"I have a way."