Ziju Min had made some hyperbolic statements, but he hadn’t strayed away from the truth. It’d be a great shame for House Yan to lose a pill dao genius like Shao Yuan.
Returning Huang’er to House Xiahou would only temporarily appease the latter. There was no guarantee that House Xiahou wouldn’t trouble them again. On the other hand, marrying Huang’er off to Shao Yuan would bring them many benefits. Even a fool would choose that instead.
However, House Yan was bound to draw House Xiahou’s ire for letting Shao Yuan take Huang’er, and the retribution wasn’t something House Yan could survive.
The patriarch fell silent, at a loss of what to say.
Yan Wanjun was disappointed by the patriarch’s inability to take a stand when it mattered. He looked at his granddaughter apologetically. Overwhelmed by shame and regret, he could barely meet her sorrowful eyes.
“Huang’er, the genius Shao Yuan has expressed his deep feelings for you. What do you think?”
Yan Wanjun was shamefaced as soon as he posed the question. It was the first time he’d ever asked for his granddaughter’s own opinion.
Huang’er smiled wryly. “You finally ask about what I want, grandfather. Do you know that this is the first time the senior executives of the family have treated me like a person? You’ve never cared about what I thought. You never considered my feelings. You never asked if I was willing!”
Yan Wanjun flushed a deep red, his hands fidgeting. He couldn’t face his granddaughter.
The patriarch had no comeback either. He knew that Huang’er was unwilling. House Xiahou had imprisoned her parents and now they wanted her to be a cultivation vessel. How could she possibly be accepting of that?
And yet, no one in the family had ever asked about her opinion. They knew what her answer would be. Why waste their breath? It was easier to just ignore things.
Yan Wanjun’s eyes were ringed with red as he croaked, “Then tell us what you want without worry. Grandfather has been a coward my entire life, but I’ll take a stand for you today! Fate has treated you unfairly. I’m going to fight for your fair treatment today even at the cost of my life!”
Yan Wanjun had always felt guilty about not fighting for Yan Qinghuang. He’d given her up in order to protect Yan Qingsang, his only hope for passing down his legacy. He’d chosen to devote his remaining years to paving a path for his grandson.
He’d chosen grandson over granddaughter.
Yan Qingsang was now a genius of the Eternal Sacred Land and was on his way to a bright future. Even if Yan Wanjun died at this moment, he’d be just fine with Shao Yuan by his side. There was nothing holding the elder back now.
The regret and anger he’d suppressed over the years were slowly rekindled. He couldn’t stand seeing the patriarch being too cowardly to even make a decision.
“Elder Wanjun, you—” started a shocked patriarch.
“Don’t try to sway me otherwise,” Yan Wanjun boomed. “I’ve never wronged House Yan. Over the years, I’ve listened to you and held steadfast to the bigger picture, but how has the clan treated me? My son and daughter-in-law are in the Boundless Prison. My granddaughter is promised off as a cultivation vessel. My only grandson didn’t even receive targeted attention from the family. How do I focus on the big picture under these circumstances?”
He spoke from the bottom of his heart, quickly and passionately. “I’m not an unfeeling monster. I’m of flesh and blood. I want to protect my children as well. Now that I’m old and have contributed everything to the family, let me be willful for once. I’ve wronged Huang’er and her parents, but no more! I’m going to win her a chance for a new life even if all I can give her is the freedom to make a decision!”
The patriarch gaped. He didn’t expect Elder Wanjun, of all people, to make such a statement. The elder had always had the family’s interest at heart.
A Xiahou elder scoffed. “You clearly have troubles keeping your family under control, Patriarch Yan. Both the youths and the elders in your clan go against your will. How pathetic for a patriarch to end up like this...”
Yan Wanjun glared at him and snapped, “Shut up! Stop trying to start drama! I’ve never thought about troubling the patriarch, and you’re not in any place to criticize House Yan. Let me tell you one thing: there’s no written contract stating that Huang’er is to be gifted to House Xiahou! Even if there is, I deny its existence! If you want to take my granddaughter away, you’ll have to do it over my dead body!”
He cupped his hands at the patriarch. “I mean no disrespect. Please grant my wish this once. I won’t complain even if you banish both me and Huang’er from the family.”
Huang’er’s chest tightened. If she hadn’t learned to stay strong in front of other people, her face would’ve been covered in tears.
For years, she’d been ignored and overlooked. She’d almost never received any support from the family. She’d never felt such strong love. Her grandfather’s unyielding support and protectiveness melted the ice encasing her heart.
She’d always been a soft-hearted and considerate person. Despite her cursed fate, she never hated her family. She simply felt distant from them and never deeply attached to them. Now, she realized that her grandfather still loved her and was willing to protect her at the cost of his life.
She didn’t know if he’d follow through with his words, but she was content, the grievances in her heart dissolving.
“Tell us what you want in front of all the guests, Huang’er. Be brave. I’ll stand by you!” Yan Wanjun had thrown all reservation out of the window.
Not even Jiang Chen had anticipated the dramatic change to the elder’s attitude. He said gently, “Please tell the world what your decision is, Miss Huang’er.”
She gazed at him with loving eyes. Her silence spoke volumes, but there were things she wanted to express that she couldn’t convey with her gaze.
“I, Yan Qinghuang, have come to know and love Sir Shao Yuan through an exchange of music. I wish to stay by Sir Shao Yuan for the rest of my days. Not even death do us part!” she announced firmly.
Huang’er had never been a timid person. She wasn’t going to act like a typical bashful girl. She was bold in love and had never shied away from expressing her love. She simply hadn’t met someone who inspired that bravery.
But a hero came to her when she was at her most vulnerable, and saved her life and soul. She’d fallen for that extraordinary man with all her heart at that moment. There was no reason for her to hold back now.
Silence descended after her explicit declaration. Everyone looked at her with tremendous shock. They’d thought that Shao Yuan’s love was one-sided, that he’d fallen for Yan Qinghuang because of her unparalleled grace, but patently that wasn’t the case.
They must have developed feelings for each other when Shao Yuan was still in House Yan.
The crowd peered at Xiahou Zong with a hint of mockery. She wasn’t yet his, but everyone knew she was to be his cultivation vessel.
And yet, Yan Qinghuang had declared that she wanted to spend her life with Shao Yuan until the end of time. There was nothing more insulting to Xiahou Zong. He hadn’t technically been jilted, but it was pretty much the same.
Xiahou Zong’s face contorted into a scowl.
Meanwhile, Xiahou Ying had predicted this outcome. She muttered angrily beneath her breath, cursing at Huang’er.
Those from the Eternal Sacred Land had been worried that Yan Qinghuang didn’t return Jiang Chen’s feelings. Ziju Min was especially glad to hear her response.
He put his hands together and laughed heartily. “They make a perfect match, and they’re already in love! What a wonderful love story. It would be shameful if someone forced them to part.”
He made a good point. Many of the guests nodded in agreement. Those from other nations would rather take Jiang Chen’s side than House Xiahou’s.
In their eyes, the young man was more valuable than Xiahou Zong. Besides, the young woman from House Yan had made herself clear. She wouldn’t marry anyone but Shao Yuan. Theirs was a match made in heaven. It was human nature to want a happen ending.
People preferred seeing a couple living happily ever after rather than forced to part by outsiders. They also sympathized with Jiang Chen and Huang’er and disapproved of Xiahou Zong’s forceful attitude.
Xiahou Zong finally managed to suppress his anger in the end. He threw Huang’er a brief glance before shifting his frigid gaze to Jiang Chen.
“I don’t know how you seduced the wench, but my possession is mine unless I discard her myself. I don’t care who you are and how talented you are in pill dao. The only fate befitting a man who dares take what is rightfully mine… is death!”