The patriarch knew that House Xiahou was ruthless and made for a formidable foe, yet he was still taken aback by their boldness.
Though House Yan had been in decline, they were still among the first tier factions in Eternal Divine Nation. They weren’t at House Xiahou’s level, but should still have some confidence when facing the former.
And yet, House Xiahou had boldly sent a venerated elder to House Yan to threaten the patriarch! Their complete lack of hesitation shocked and terrified him. They’d also done so without the slightest bit of psychological pressure.
Weren’t they worried that House Yan would report the transgression to the Eternal Sacred Land?
What happened left a bitter taste in the patriarch’s mouth. A shudder ran down his spine when he thought about Xiahou Zhen’s threat. The foreign elder even knew how many sons and grandsons the patriarch had. Clearly, the man was prepared to eliminate his bloodline once and for all.
In House Yan’s heyday, the patriarch wouldn’t have been fazed by such a threat, but House Yan wasn’t what it’d been, and House Xiahou was at its peak. House Yan was absolutely helpless.
What should he do?
House Xiahou has made themselves clear. If I don’t follow their instructions, the clan will be at the mercy of their ire.
Conflict roiled within the patriarch. It was either Yan Wanjun, or all his own descendants. Someone had to die!
He relied heavily enough on Yan Wanjun and knew that the elder was one of the few pillars of the family, but that didn’t mean much when House Xiahou had painted a target on the elder’s back. As long as Yan Wanjun lived, House Xiahou would never be appeased.
Therefore, he couldn’t be allowed to survive.
The patriarch wavered for a long time. Finally, he hardened his heart and came to a decision. “It didn’t have to be this way, Yan Wanjun. You were the one who insisted on protecting your granddaughter. Now you’re losing both her and your life. For House Yan, I can only sacrifice you for the greater good!”
His reluctance gave way to determination. His mind was made up.
Yan Wanjun’s mood recovered a little after returning to his residence. Although he’d been attacked by many elders during the meeting, there were still those who supported him. And the patriarch still trusted him enough to task him with the defense of Cloud Camel Mountain.
There was still use for him. He would do his best to secure the mountain and protect the family’s industry.
He’d be able to win the family’s approval if he made a grand enough achievement in the mountain. Then, he’d have more leverage to protect his granddaughter. This rekindled his motivation.
Early the next morning, Yan Wanjun brought his confidantes back to Cloud Camel Mountain to secure it. The trip went very smoothly.
Less than two days later, he received a delightful letter from his grandson saying that both him and Shao Yuan were coming to the mountain.
The letter also stated that the two youths would be keeping their identities a secret, which Yan Wanjun understood. After all, Shao Yuan wasn’t the nobody he’d once been. After his amazing performance in the Skymender Festival, many had set their eyes on the young genius. House Xiahou especially saw him as a threat that must be eliminated.
It was smart of them to keep a low profile.
That afternoon, Yan Qingsang and Jiang Chen entered Cloud Camel Mountain. They were greeted with the magnificent visage of endless, towering mountain ranges covered with lush vegetation.
As Jiang Chen flew over the mountain, he felt the awe-inspiring presence filling the air and marveled, “The mountain sure is impressive, Brother Yan.”
Yan Qingsang smiled wryly. “However, many feng shui masters said that it’s filled with too much murderous intent, which will hinder excavation. Therefore, the house never considered the mountain a valuable asset. Still, we defend it at a high cost because it’s part of our territory. For House Yan, it’s a useless plot of land that we’d love to give up but can’t.”
Jiang Chen smiled. “It would be a great loss if House Yan loses the mountain.”
He hadn’t conducted an in-depth survey yet, but his knowledge from his past life gave him a deep understanding of landscape and spirit veins.
The way the series of mountains intersected and connected in the area created a vein. He didn’t yet know what it meant, but it was impossible for the mountain to be completely without value.
As Yan Qingsang had said, the place was filled with murderous intent, but the implications were many. For example, this place might be an ancient battlefield. The lingering killing intent was gathered and trapped by the mountains, creating a land of great aggression.
Since Jiang Chen had come with Yan Qingsang in secret, he didn’t want to attract any attention. Once they landed, they made their way to the meeting spot and were soon met by Yan Wanjun’s personal guards.
It didn’t take long for them to arrive at Yan Wanjun’s temporary residence. House Yan had established a base of operations in the mountain, which could rival a second or third tier sect in Myriad Abyss.
As the commander of defense for the mountain, Yan Wanjun’s residence was hidden away and more sophistically constructed. He was very excited by their arrival.
“Qingsang, Shao Yuan, you came sooner than I expected.” Yan Wanjun had been in a bad mood ever since he returned to the mountain, but most of the heavy weight in his heart lifted when he saw his grandson.
He was glad to see Shao Yuan as well. The young man was likely to become his grandson-in-law in the near future, which meant he was pleasing to the eye no matter how the elder looked at him. The genius had made a name for himself in the Skymender Festival. It would’ve been a great shame for House Yan to lose him.
“Grandfather, has the family made things difficult for you?” asked Yan Qingsang, worried about House Yan’s internal situation.
“Hmph, there have always been some despicable lowlifes who insist on badgering me, but a clean hand wants no washing. I’m not afraid of them.” Yan Wanjun’s tone was determined and proud.
Jiang Chen sighed. “Elder Wanjun, you must stay on your guard even if you’ve done nothing wrong. House Yan is a tangled mess. As an outsider, I’m in no place to offer advice. However, it’s imperative for you to exert caution at this critical juncture.”
Yan Wanjun paused. “What should I be cautious about? The family isn’t going to hurt me now. If they are, they’d have done it already, and I wouldn’t have resisted at all.”
His logic was simple: the patriarch had had the perfect opportunity to take him out when he was in the house, yet he was still alive. Why would the patriarch do anything now?
Since this was a familial matter, it’d be inappropriate for Jiang Chen to keep pushing. If he did, it would seem like he was trying to drive a wedge between the elder and the family. He smiled with resignation in lieu of a response.
Yan Qingsang spoke up, “Grandfather, Brother Shao is right. You must be careful. The house is riddled with problems, and it’s impossible to predict what the clan will or will not do. You should stay alert.”
“Hahaha, I’m glad to hear that. It seems that you’ve made some significant progress in the sacred land, Qingsang.”
There was nothing that could make him happier than to see his grandson’s continuous growth, especially since Yan Qingsang hadn’t been the most dependable sort in the past.
Yan Qingsang still cared greatly about how his family viewed him. He smiled upon hearing his grandfather’s praise. “I can’t grow complacent when I have such a monstrous brother making such ridiculous progress, urging me to work harder. If I get left behind, I won’t know how to face him as his future brother-in-law!”
In the past, Yan Wanjun would’ve reprimanded or even punished the boy for the remark. Now, though, Jiang Chen had made his intentions clear, and Yan Wanjun had agreed to the marriage proposal. The elder only smiled in response to Yan Qingsang’s joking.
Yan Wanjun’s eyes turned thoughtful when they landed on Yan Qingsang. “Qingsang… are you about to ascend to empyrean realm?”
Yan Qingsang grinned from ear to ear. “You finally notice, grandfather. I’ve made a lot of discoveries lately. With the help of the Taiyi Skymender Pill, I’m only a step away from reaching empyrean realm. It’s possible that I’ll make the breakthrough in only half a month!”
Yan Wanjun stilled, a look of delight on his wrinkled face. He was overwhelmed with great contentment.
His grandson was the main reason he kept going. A large part of his happiness and worries was attributed to his grandson as well.
How could he not be delighted to hear that Yan Qingsang was going to break through?
“The Taiyi Skymender Pill?” muttered Yan Wanjun, his eyes lighting up with wonder. “This pill is as magical as it’s said to be?”
Yan Qingsang nodded. “Even more so, grandfather. To me, the pill is a divine miracle!”