The sunshine extended for kilometers; the day was hot.
Ling Chen however, was feeling incomparably cold. It was a coldness that stemmed from the death of his heart.
He was the youth leader of the Ying Clan, a genius young man who had a qi level of six, the winner of last year's clan combat competition and the winner of this year's clan combat competition. People have been crowning him with haloes for many years, promoting him to be in a respected position where he became the star in all the elders' eyes.
His hair hung loosely, and his gaze was sluggish. As if he lost his soul, he stood there with a red palm print on his cheek.
"I lost, I completely lost…" Ling Chen's head was heavy, and his confidence was completely shattered. He only made two offensive moves. Although the first one was completely broken down by Ling Xian, he thought Ling Xian simply got lucky. Even if it wasn't luck, Ling Xian was not worthy to be his opponent.
When he made the second move, he was full of confidence too. He thought he would be able to defeat Ling Xian after suddenly reaching the seventh stage of the Tidal Wave Technique. However, it was easily counter-attacked by Ling Xian. The mental blow he received as a result of the event made him clearly realize how laughable he was to think that Ling Xian was simply lucky.
He had a qi level of six, and Ling Xian was only five. With an entire level of difference between them, he lost after summoning only one technique.
The Tidal Wave Technique that he dedicated his life to was defenseless and turned to dust before the heaven shadowing palm. If this was the result when his level of training was higher than Ling Xian's, does it mean that once Ling Xian reached the same level of training as him, he wouldn't even be worthy of competing with Ling Xian?
Thinking about this possibility, Ling Chen's heart turned even colder.
"Laughable, this whole situation is laughable!" Ling Chen's nerves were shaken out of him, as his entire body emitted a dead presence. The arrogant and cocky vibe in him was long lost. He mumbled to himself, "all I could think of was to make him lose his face and destroy his reputation. I cannot believe that in the end, it was me who was beaten to a point where I cannot be rebounded to prominence."
"If you knew what would happen today, you never would've done what you did." Ling Xian sighed softly. "If you didn't provoke me and tried to ruin my reputation, then you would still be enjoying your title as the highly-respected youth leader. You would not look as beaten as you do now."
After that dramatic turn of events, the genius Ling Chen was now considered a waste. Even though he was still well-trained, his resolve broke and he could not put it back together. With this determination gone, his entire life will be haunted by the day Ling Xian mightily defeated him.
Ling Chen snapped up his head, and his eyes were filled with bone-deep hatred. He sneered, "There is no need to talk anymore. The strong dominates the weak, and I do not need your pity. However, I want you to remember that one day I will beat you to the abyss and avenge the humiliation I received today!"
"You still can't differentiate the good from the bad, and you still don't know how to self-evaluate. It was you who went over the line, and yet you dump all the responsibilities onto someone else." Ling Xian frowned. "If you think what happened today was me intentionally humiliating you, then I have nothing to say to you."
If Ling Chen could truly accept his defeat and view Ling Xian the way he sees everyone else, then Ling Xian would only be a barrier that he has to overcome during his journey to Immortality. If he thought that way then maybe he could one day repair his Taoism resolve and achieve greatness. However, all he could think about was how much he hated Ling Xian and how humiliating that slap was. Unfortunately, he was going to drown in this hatred his entire life and not move an inch further in his pursuit of Immortality.
"I am the youth leader of the Ling Clan, and you are in no position to lecture me." Ling Chen's face was full of the devious grudge. "Remember, one day I will return the humiliation you brought me back to you. I will make sure you taste the pain of being beaten out of your mind!"
Ling Xian's gaze turned cold, and he had the thought of killing him.
Just then, Ling Tian Qing jumped down from the stage and slapped Ling Chen on the other cheek. This slap was a lot lighter than the heaven shadowing palm's slap. After all, Ling Chen was his son, and he didn't have the heart to hurt him too much.
"Father…" Ling Chen froze and then screamed crazily, "You hit me? You hit me because of a collateral sibling?!"
Ling Tian Qing looked at his beloved son with a pained look on his face. He had no choice but to toughen up and warn his son, "I hit you to wake you up! Look at the way you are! Arrogant, imperious, and smug, you do not even try to see how you are at fault here! What has Ling Xian done for you to want to ruin his reputation and make him die suffering? How did I raise such a deviate son?"
"Father, to put it gracefully, he is a collateral sibling of the Ling Clan. To put it bluntly, he is a slave of the Ling Clan. So I want him to suffer. What's wrong with that? To even associate myself with him means I see some value in him. I can't believe you are lecturing me because of a slave." Ling Chen was over-emotional and did not choose his words carefully. He didn't even notice what he had said until he realized the change in the way everyone looked at him.
The statement he made was not something that should be said out loud.
In all honesty, the ancestors of most collateral siblings were slaves of the Ling Clan. Because of this, even today, the direct descendants of the Ling Clan often teased and taunted them. They also did not view them as part of the family. This was the unwritten rule and natural instinct of the clan. Even though both sides knew the story, it was not a story that was talked about.
Because of this, the statement Ling Chen made lifted the veil off of the hidden truth. What welcomed him was the crowd's anger.
The direct descendants were forgiving towards what he said and merely frowned. After all, mocking collateral siblings and calling them slaves was something everyone did in private.
The collateral sibling, however, were more than pissed off. In their minds, their ancestors have worked hard and even sacrificed their lives for the Ling Clan. How dare the direct descendants treat them like slaves, mock them and not even see them as humans?
Every one of them was enraged. Their eyes screamed fury. If the clan leader was not standing right there on the stage, they would've dashed forward and tore Ling Chen to pieces.
"You fool! Why would you say that publicly? Now we are in trouble. If we don't manage this well, the accumulated anger between the direct descendants and the collateral siblings will finally explode!" The second elder Ling Tian Jiao was distressed.
"I trust that our brother will handle it well. Since we can't turn back time, there is no reason to be irritated." Ling Tian Xiang was also frowning. This was a tricky situation. Ever since the creation of the clan, the collateral siblings and the direct descendants have had conflicts.
The direct descendants have always been above everyone else. They could enjoy plenty of resources and always made fun of the collateral siblings as a pastime. The collateral siblings on the other end could only collect a pitiful amount of monthly wage to support their training. Not only did they have to endure the mockery from the descendants, but they also had to face many types of discrimination. Their hearts filled with dissatisfaction.
In reality, all they wanted was fairness. However, there was no fairness in the world.
It was, for this reason, that conflicts accumulated little by little. But because both sides had scruples, the situation remained controlled.
However, Ling Chen's one statement today acted as a catalyst that ignited all the piled-up conflicts.
"Leader, why would he call us slaves? Explain yourselves!" A person from the crowd suddenly asked, and the rest of the crowd roared after him.
"Is it true that, as the clan leader, you think the same way as him? If not, give us an explanation!"
"For the Ling Clan to have the achievements it does today, our ancestors made great contributions that should not be ignored. After all we have done, you still see us as slaves?"
"This is so hurtful. When there were dangerous missions, we were always the ones you sent. Why are you direct descendants the only ones enjoying all the glory and riches? Why? Give us an explanation!"
The atmosphere turned tense. Every single collateral sibling carried a dissatisfied face and asked for clarifications.
Ling Tian Qing's face was heavy, and his headache grew. He did not expect his son to say something so vulgar, and now he was stuck in a situation where he could not move forward or backward.
What kind of explanation?
Do they want him to kill Ling Chen?
"You bastard! Look at what you've done!" Ling Tian Qing wanted to slap him so hard, but it was his own blood and bone after all, how could he have the heart?
"I…" Ling Chen realized that he had misspoken. However, it was too late. He staggered backward, afraid that those agitated collateral siblings would slaughter him here and now.
"What did I teach you as you were growing up? The Ling Clan is an entirety that should not be separated into collateral and direct siblings. I cannot believe you would think of your collateral sibling as your slaves. How did I raise such a bastard!" Ling Tian Qing's heart was filled with hatred and resentment.
The words he said was not just an act. He did firmly believe in that concept, and it was the way he taught Ling Chen.
Sadly, a tiger father raised a dog son.
"Clan Leader, do something to resolve the situation today. I'm afraid that if you drag it on, the people will riot," Ling Xian opened his mouth and said.
Ling Tian Qing sighed, he could somehow suppress the opinions expressed by the collateral siblings as long as their father ancestor do not come out. However, if Ling Xian were the one talking, it would be difficult to ignore.
Because Ling Xian was the victim and he demonstrated his rare talent, Ling Tian Qing knew that once Ling Xian grew up, he would become invincible and can protect the Ling Clan for a very long time.
On top of that, whether or not the Ling Clan could overcome the next crucial and dangerous situation was highly dependent on him.
How could he not value Ling Xian's opinion highly?
Just as Ling Tian Qing was stuck in the middle and was not sure what to do, a ghost like shadow swept over and stood in the middle of the arena.
It was a white bearded slouchy old man dressed in a linen robe.
"Uncle Yun, why did you come?" Ling Tian Qing quickly walked before him and bowed.
The elderly helped him up and laughed. "I am merely a slave, and you are the Clan Leader of the Lings. Don't torture me like this by showing me an excess amount of respect. "
"Uncle Yun must be kidding. In the entire clan, who would call you a slave?" Ling Tian Qing asked.
"Hehe, the youth leader just did." The elderly faintly smiled.
"This..." Ling Tian Qing was embarrassed. "My dog of a one has been vile. Please don't be angered by him. I will teach him a lesson later."
"Alright, I will not waste too many words and get straight to the point. I am present here today to pass on a message from the master." The elderly waved his hand, and a piece of paper floated up in midair. It then flew into Ling Tian Qing's hand.
"The master has been staying in the back mountain and watching every single detail that happened here today. The paper carries advice for what he suggest you do. You may choose to listen or you may not, it is completely up to you. After all, you are the leader of the Ling Clan," the elderly said sternly.
As soon as his voice faded, his physical body disappeared as well. The only thing left was the xuan paper in Ling Tian Qing's hand.
There was only one word on it.