"What, father, you want me to solve the case?" The girl pointed to herself, her face in utter shock.
"Why, are you unwilling?" Tie Xue Leng smiled gently.
"No, no, of course I’m willing!" Tie Ruo Nan finally reacted, jumping in joy.
Tie Xue Leng nodded, sighing in a complex tone, "You aspire to walk the same path as me. These few years where you were by my side, you have been greatly influenced by me and learnt much. An eagle can only learn to fly by itself, only then can it truly grow up. Your father is old already, my injuries cannot be cured. I cannot continue being with you as you live your life, and as the newer generations replace the old, what happens next is up to you."
"Father… don’t give up yet, isn’t there still hope for treatment?" The young girl’s voice trembled as she choked back tears.
"You and I both know that the chances are infinitely slim. People have to learn to face facts, Ruo Nan," Tie Xue Leng laughed, then turned towards Gu Yue Bo, "Don’t worry Gu Yue clan leader, this daughter of mine has learnt at least 80% of my abilities. With my guidance along the way, she will not let your clan suffer any injustice."
"Of course, of course." Gu Yue Bo quickly cupped his fist, "Young heroines are on par with males; such an elegant disposition and the child of a hero, there is no reason for me to worry. Please come to the village and let us feast upon your arrival."
The dishes filled the entire table, with the fragrance overwhelming the surroundings. Clear wine was poured out from the wine jar in a straight line into Tie Xue Leng’s cup.
The wolf tide was just over, and Gu Yue village was in its toughest period. Large amounts of resources had been expended, causing a food shortage and lack of commodities. Many mortals would starve to death.
But even so, to welcome Tie Xue Leng, Gu Yue clan still assembled this banquet.
As the clan leader, Gu Yue Bo sat at the clan head’s seat, while Tie Xue Leng and Tie Ruo Nan were beside him.
Other than that, Gu Yue Chi Zhong, Gu Yue Ge Yan, Gu Yue Mo Chen, Gu Yue Yao Ji, as well as Fang Yuan and the others, all being elders, were present.
Before the wolf tide, Gu Yue clan had over a dozen clan elders. But now, only one table remained, and there were less than ten elders.
Moreover, the clan elders present were all injured to varying degrees.
Especially in the case of Gu Yue Mo Chen — two weeks ago when he resisted the wolf tide, he was heavily injured and had been hiding in his private room to recuperate. He was resting in bed, but when he heard about the arrival of Tie Xue Leng, he forced his body up and attended this banquet.
But this also let him escape the crisis, while his old rival Gu Yue Chi Lian had followed the clan leader in assaulting the thunder crown wolf and was killed by the lightning lycan.
"If not for Brother Tie’s help today, I might’ve become the lightning lycan’s lunch already. For saving my life, I toast Brother Tie this cup!" Gu Yue Bo stood up, holding the cup with both hands and bending his back, sincerely offering his gratitude.
"I was only doing what I could." Tie Xue Leng raised his cup, drinking the wine in one go.
He had a vigilant and strict lifestyle, refusing to gamble or find prostitutes, standing by his morals and never went greedy on drinking. He had thus, never been drunk.
After drinking this cup, Gu Yue Bo looked at the people in the banquet, his eyes turning red, sighing and sitting down.
Tie Xue Leng had seen such situations many times, and he consoled, "Gu Yue clan leader, my condolences. As long as your clansmen still exist, the village will definitely thrive again one day. That lightning lycan was heavily injured as well, and the lightning wolves have greatly been damaged, they will not attack for the next few years. This wolf tide has been safely endured."
The wolf tide’s harshest period is indeed over. For the next few months, although lightning wolves will still appear, their quantity will continue to decrease, and no large groups will be formed. The wolf packs no longer have the ability to directly charge at the village.
The lightning lycan will return to the wolf den and recuperate there, while slowly organising the remaining wolves. Many wolves will be recalled, and many lightning wolves would die, causing the wolf pack’s need for food to decrease drastically.
The wolf packs would become self-sufficient, and in the next few years, they would gradually get stronger, during which new hundred beast kings - bold lightning wolves, thousand beast kings - frenzy lightning wolves, and myriad beast kings - thunder crown wolves would appear.
At its peak, it begins to weaken, and at its weakest, it begins to prosper.
Regardless of humans or wolves, they follow such a law.
But although Tie Xue Leng’s words were right, humans are not grass or trees, they have feelings. The Gu Yue clan leader understood this fact much better than Tie Xue Leng, but the misery and pain in his heart was unavoidable.
The sacrifice was too big…...
Just the higher-up clan elders were already gone by at least half. As for the Rank two and Rank one Gu Masters, they had an even larger amount of casualties. The entire Gu Yue village’s strength had fallen to rock bottom, and could no longer endure any more disasters.
"Why is it that you guys do not counter attack, and go wreck their den?" On one side, Tie Ruo Nan could not understand and asked in confusion.
"That is because inside the wolf den, there are over dozens of groups of thunder gas worms, amounting to over a million of them in total. There are also large numbers of wild Gu mixed in. It is hard to cause any damage to them, unless all three clans work together," Gu Yue Yao Ji explained.
Saying so, she suddenly snorted, staring at Fang Yuan, "But this possibility is too small. Even within our clan, there are clan elders shrinking in fear, and during the wolf tide’s attack, god knows where they were hiding!"
Saying so, all the other clan elders turned their vision towards Fang Yuan.
Previously, Fang Yuan was inside the rock crack secret cave exploring the Flower Wine Monk’s inheritance, causing him to miss the huge battle in resisting the wolf tide. In everyone’s eyes, this was being crafty and evasive, as well as being timid and fearing death.
Thus, the clan elders’ expression towards Fang Yuan were all full of unhappiness, disdain, and some hidden anger.
Even Gu Yue Bo’s expression was looking ugly.
As the clan leader, he was most revolted by people like Fang Yuan, doing things according to their own will, mysterious and having their own little schemes. He could not feel safe with such a person around.
The atmosphere at the banquet immediately transformed.
The Tie father and daughter also felt this change, following everyone’s gaze and looking towards Fang Yuan.
Fang Yuan’s young appearance had attracted the attention of Tie Ruo Nan who was the same age as him.
Fang Yuan drank his wine calmly. Even though everyone’s gaze was on him, he acted as if he felt nothing.
His expression was calm, as he already had anticipated such a situation of people finding problems with him.
"Things are getting troublesome," he sighed in his heart. Although worried, he was not frightened.
Tie Xue Leng’s appearance had heavily destroyed his plans to leave. If he took the Heavenly Essence Treasure Lotus and destroyed the foundation of the Gu Yue village, this would cause the Tie father and daughter to arrest him.
The name of divine investigator is not just a myth. With his abilities and strength, as long as Tie Xue Leng commences his chase, there is no possibility of failing.
Even if he does not take the Heavenly Essence Treasure Lotus, his mysterious disappearance would cause the clan to investigate. As it involves Jia Jin Sheng’s death, even the Tie father and daughter would get involved.
If he left without notice, in their eyes it would be a thief trying to escape, running from his crimes.
With no choice, Fang Yuan could only choose to stay and observe the situation.
Although everyone reprimanded him, the situation now was still not at its worst. If he left right now, that would be a panicky move, and it would cause the entire situation to worsen.
"Is the wine nice?" Gu Yue Yao Ji laughed sinisterly, staring at Fang Yuan, "Aren’t you going to explain?"
Fang Yuan slowly put down his cup, raising his head and looking at Gu Yue Yao Ji’s broken arm.
The old are the most cunning, this is extremely true.
To preserve her life, Gu Yue Yao Ji broke her own arm, and under the name of being injured, she avoided the clan mission of entering the battlefield.
This happened in Fang Yuan’s previous life as well, but to think she did the same thing once again.
Her act of sacrificing one limb to save her life, was indeed effective. It prevented her from getting killed by the thunder crown wolf and not participating in the chase, thus keeping herself alive. However, right now she was finding problems with Fang Yuan — one aspect was due to old grudges, but mostly was because she wanted to bring the attention to Fang Yuan and reduce people’s attention on herself.
"What do you want me to explain? Explain how you broke your own limb just to preserve your miserable life?" Fang Yuan sneered.
"WHAT?!" Gu Yue Yao Ji was shocked and enraged, standing up from her seat.
She stared with both eyes wide open, pointing at Fang Yuan’s nose, shrilling, "You little rascal! How dare you accuse me like this, this is blatant defamation, slander!! How can you be so shameless? How can our Gu Yue clan have such a joke like you?"
"Gu Yue Yao Ji!" Gu Yue Bo’s expression changed, shouting, "Sit down at once, we have an important guest here, how can you scream and shout freely like this?"
Gu Yue Yao Ji wanted to continue scolding, but on seeing Gu Yue Bo’s dim expression, she could only swallow the words she was about to spit out.
She stared angrily at Fang Yuan, sitting down reluctantly.
Gu Yue Bo settled Yao Ji’s problem, then turned to look at Fang Yuan, "Elder Fang Yuan, I need an explanation. During the attack of the wolf tide, where were you?"
"Fang Yuan... he’s Fang Yuan?" Tie Xue Leng’s eyes shone with surprise. In Jia Jin Sheng’s mysterious disappearance, Fang Yuan had played an important role. Before coming here, Tie Xue Leng had already gotten much intel from Jia Fu. But to think that this young elder was Fang Yuan himself. At once, Tie Xue Leng’s heart became interested.
He had solved numerous cases and could see the peculiarity from all the traces of evidence, to guess the actual fact. From everyone’s expression, he could tell the truth behind Fang Yuan’s sudden evasion from battle.
But the truth that everyone knew was only scratching the surface, what is the utter reality?
Regardless of what the truth is, Fang Yuan’s answer would reveal a fragment of his inner thought. That would be very helpful in solving the case later.
Sensing Tie Xue Leng’s attention on him, Fang Yuan’s heart tightened, but his expression remained the same.
He looked at everyone plainly, and a mocking smile appeared on his face, "There’s not much to explain. Since clan elder asked, I’ll just say it out. I was extremely frightened back then. The stressed accumulated during this extensive period, as well as my fear of death that had reached its limits. I could not endure it, I was cowardly and weak, I hid in a corner and no longer dared to enter the frontlines."
Once he said so, everyone was dumbfounded.
They had expected Fang Yuan to use all sorts of excuses and reasons, and were prepared to expose his lies and criticize Fang Yuan. But to think he admitted it directly!
"Any kind of lie, as long as it is not true, will have loopholes. Furthermore, Tie Xue Leng is here..." Fang Yuan’s expression was calm, looking down and staring at the wine in his cup.
Tie Xue Leng’s expression turned weird. He subconsciously frowned, and a sense of loathing and antipathy rose in his heart.
"This young man, he has an inbred demonic nature!"