In one short day, the landscape of the City of Qing had undergone a permanent transformation.
An alliance between the Fang and Qi Clans had launched an attack on the Ling Clan. Just as the Ling Clan was on the verge of defeat, a young man named Ling Xian descended from the Heavens to obliterate the advancing army and saved his Clan from the brink of destruction.
No one from the two Clans who stayed behind was spared. Of course, a few had managed to escape, but that was inconsequential.
The Fang and Qi Clans had been wiped off the map. The Ling Clan emerged as the single mightiest and noblest Clan in the City of Qing. The smaller Clans which took cover under the wings of the two now non-existent Clans quickly switched sides and pledged their loyalty to their new Master.
The Ling Clan was now the undisputed leader of the City.
One Clan, two foundational cultivators.
Five words that described it all. The power of the Ling Clan was now unrivaled within the borders of the Qin Dynasty.
Foundational-level cultivators are few and far in between. According to statistics collected by the Clandestine House, there was one foundational cultivator for every 100,000 meditational cultivators. Clearly, the gap between these two levels was incredibly difficult to overcome.
But the Ling Clan was home to two of such cultivators. One was the best of the City in the words of the City's Master Ye Xiao Tian, who willingly admitted and he, himself, was no match.
Despite its horrific sacrifice - only about a hundred of the Clan's members survived the battle - the Lings inherited all the lands and wealth of the enemy Clans they defeated.
Not to mention, the current Clan Leader was brave and just. He welcomed students of the annexed Clans into his to create one united Ling Clan.
This act of generosity was applauded by most members of the old Clans. Those who opposed it had elected not to speak up during such times of jubilation.
Therefore, even though the Clan continued to mourn the losses of their departed members, there was much more to be celebrated. The Ling Clan emerged from this tragedy stronger and more prominent than ever.
Since the unification of the noble Clans into one, visitors had traveled from far and wide to pay tributes to the Lings, bringing with them mountains of gifts. Of course, the majority had come to see the 15-year-old protégé who had deemed the best of his generation.
Such talent, such charisma, it is hard to imagine how far he will go.
It was for this reason that many people chose to come bearing expensive and rare gifts. They had hoped that their gifts, and in turn themselves, will be remembered by the youth when he becomes ruler of the universe.
Perhaps one face-to-face meeting today could come in handy years down the road.
Today, a woman of legendary beauty had come for such a visit.
It was Gong Suo Xin.
She breathed charm and charisma. Her flawless complexion was bewitching to anyone who lays their eyes on her. However, at this moment, her eyes were fixated on Ling Xian.
Ling Xian was seated in a chair, returning her gaze. He began, "Pardon me, Mistress, my room cannot give you the comfort you are used to. I don't even have tea prepared. Forgive me."
"You are too modest. A hero of the foundational level, who dares to judge? In this City, who does not wish to meet with you face to face, who does not fear you?" Gong Suo Xin responded with a radiant smile.
"My guess is you, Mistress." Ling Xian did not mean to flatter her. When he pretended to be a cultivator of the completion level and caused quite the disturbance at the Pavilion, she showed no fear whatsoever. Clearly, she was not one easily intimidated.
Gong Suo Xin took a few light steps towards Ling Xian, lowered her head down to his ears and whispered, "It's true I do not fear you, but perhaps I will once in bed."
Ling Xian frowned, a fire of rage erupted on the inside. The century he spent inside his Fantasy had forged somewhat of an iron will when it came to women, but such directness still made him blush."
"Please watch yourself, Mistress."
He spoke those words softly, then lightly shook his left arm. An invisible air forced Gong Suo Xin a few steps backward.
"A man who does not know how to please," Gong Suo Xin muttered. Instead of anger, she showed a slight hint of amusement.
"Let's talk business. I don't like to exchange pleasantries. You are not here only to deliver these gifts." Ling Xian redirected the conversation.
"Nothing escapes those powerful eyes of yours." Gong Suo Xin continued with her flattery. "But that can wait. Why don't you come see the three gifts I brought with me?"
She swung her sleeves across the table as she spoke. The first chest slowly opened.
A medicinal aroma rose out of the chest. Inside it was a blue root shaped medicinal herb resembling Ginseng. Cold air slowly seeped from the herb and permeated through the air. The temperatures in the room suddenly dropped.
Ling Xian raised an eyebrow in curiosity. He had no particular interest in her gifts. However, upon seeing and feeling the powers of the root, he knew this was a rare herb of incredible value.
"You have seen much of this world and must know the origins of this plant. I won't bore you with the details," Gong Suo Xin said happily.
Gong Suo Xin had been seeing and collecting rare Treasures and housing them in her Pavilion since a young age. She knew this item was so rare that very few experienced alchemists could ever correctly identify its origins, let alone a 15-year-old.
She said those words as a little act of revenge.
Ling Xian frowned, understanding that Gong Suo Xin was trying purposely to mock him.
But she had chosen the wrong subject to quiz him in.
"A Millennium Winter Plant, matures every eighteen hundred years, a type of seventh-realm spiritual Dan, unparalleled healing power. Typically grows in places of wintery conditions, but some may be found in hot and humid conditions."
Description from the Dan Essence echoed in his mind, word for word. His frown disappeared as he finished recalling this description from the corner of his memory. He looked up at Gong Suo Xin and threw her a soft smile. "It's the Millennium Winter Plant, typically grows in cold climates, but some may survive in hot and humid conditions. This particular one has been maturing for eighteen hundred years. You have cared for it well, Mistress Gong."
Ling Xian immediately detected a sign of shock on Gong Suo Xin's face, although she hid it well. Gong Suo Xin was indeed taken aback. Not only did he correctly name this rare plant, but he also managed to recite its qualities flawlessly. This would have been difficult even for a cultivator who specialized in herbalism.
Little did she know, Ling Xian could be considered a living, walking encyclopedia of Dans. If a Dan existed, Ling Xian would know it. One would need to violate the laws of Taoism to surpass him in this regard.
Despite this unpleasant surprise, Gong Suo Xin responded with a respectful grin, "I knew this would be too easy for you. Your wisdom is indeed unsurpassed."
"This item is of incredible value, will you not miss it if I accepted?" Ling Xian teased a little.
"Naturally, but regardless of its value, this is nothing compared to my affection for you." Gong Suo Xin threw a flirty glance in Ling Xian's direction. Anyone who saw this exchange would have interpreted it differently.
"Fine, I'll take this one, let's see the next one," Ling Xian asked politely, betraying his curiosity.
Gong Suo Xin smirked. "Good, you won't be disappointed."
She opened the second chest, a multi colored aura immediately filled the room. Ling Xian narrowed his eyes at the room lit up. He could barely contain his excitement.
The magical aura expanded and captured the entire room before gradually fading away. Ling Xian looked towards the chest. Inside, there was a pure white, jade hairpin the length of a hand. The craftsmanship was exquisite, the details of the carving seemingly alive under a magical Qi.
"Indeed, this is the Pin of the Jade Phoenix, a treasure of the eighth realm. Inside this pin, there is a special matrix formation that captures energy. When a cultivator injects sufficient energy into it, this pin can withstand any spell thrown at them by someone at the early stages of the foundational period. This is a weapon that can save your life." Gong Suo Xin explained carefully, the more she did so, the more she hated having to part with it.
However, the favor she needed from him was worth the parting pains
"Can withstand any spell from a cultivator at the early stages of their foundational period.
Ling Xian was truly stunned by this proclamation. This was indeed a rare artifact, a priceless artifact many would kill to possess.
"Are you certain, this can withstand a full blow?"
"Of course, if you don't believe it, then try it," Gong Suo Xin responded as she lifted the hairpin out of its chest and removed its invisible protective shield.
A milky white twilight emerged from the hairpin and closed in on Gong Suo Xin's shapely body. Then, flaming red phoenixes materialized from this murky cloud and began encircling her body from head to toe.
Ling Xian was beyond excited. Summoning up a powerful spell, he unleashed directly at her.
A loud exploding noise shook the room.
Having reached the Perfect Realm, Ling Xian was not quite as powerful as someone of the foundational realm. However, he was not too far behind. But this attempt did not cause any destruction to his target.
Gong Suo Xin was completed unharmed. She smiled proudly and said, "What do you think, not too shabby I hope. Even inside my Pavilion, this belongs in the top ten of my most valuable artifacts."
"Not too shabby indeed, seems like you were not exaggerating." Ling Xian nodded in satisfaction. He paused a moment, then asked the most crucial question, "You say this requires the cultivator to inject his powers first, how much power does it require?"
"I knew you'd ask this. It's an important question." Gong Suo Xin beamed. "It only requires power equivalent to the sixth realm. However, because it requires a period of rejuvenation after each use, it's best to use this once per day at most. If you use it more than twice a day, it will implode and shatter."
"I see. Even if that's the case, it's still a powerful weapon." With a wave of his hand, the hairpin flew into his traveling sack. He continued, "Then I shall keep this one too. Let's see the third gift. Hopefully, it'll continue this impressive streak."
"Rest assured, you will not be disappointed." Gong Suo Xin let out a mysterious smile this time, then slowly opened the last chest.
A magnificent rainbow exploded onto the scene. An incredulously strong energy instantly filled the room.