Cui Clan. Distinguished Guest Pavilion.
Cui Fanghu left hastily after he brought Chen Xi and Bei Ling over here. As one of the higher-ups of the Cui Clan, he had to participate in the Ancestral Worship Ceremony.
Within the empty and luxurious hall, only Chen Xi and Bei Ling remained.
Chen Xi held a cup of tea and sipped it silently while he was recalling all the details since they entered into the Cui Clan Estate.
"I…" The nearby Bei Ling hesitated for a long time, and she found it difficult to speak her mind.
Since they entered the Distinguished Guest Pavilion, this icy cold woman seemed as if something was weighing down on her mind. At this moment, Chen Xi couldn't help but grin when he saw her like this. "Only you and I are here. Feel free to speak your mind."
A wisp of self-ridicule arose on the corners of Bei Ling's cherry lips, and she said after a short moment, "I wonder if it's me who's being too sensitive, but I keep having the feeling that the changes in Qingning have occurred too quickly, and it makes her feel very unfamiliar to me."
"She has changed indeed." Chen Xi nodded and said, "It's about right when you think about it. She's only around the age of twelve, yet she experienced so many tribulations. So how could she possibly be the same as she was in the past?"
Bei Ling raised her head and stared at Chen Xi before she said abruptly, "Then do you have the feeling that after we entered Violetsilk City, the outcome would be the same even if we weren't there?"
Chen Xi was stunned and went silent because this was exactly the question that he was contemplating earlier.
Earlier, the Cui Clan's Ancestor, Cui Zhenkong, and all the seniors of the Cui Clan had made an appearance, and they captured the Second Elder Cui Fangjun before directly annihilating the Thousandeye Ghost Ape, Hou Zhan. This string of actions caused Chen Xi to have the feeling that everything that had happened earlier was completely noticed by the seniors of the Cui Clan a long time ago.
This sort of feeling caused him to feel uncomfortable in his heart. Thus, he'd been silently contemplating this since he entered the Distinguished Guest Pavilion. At this moment, when Bei Ling exposed it, he finally understood that his feelings seemed to be correct…
"In short, I have the feeling of being deceived." Bei Ling's beautiful brows knit together as she pondered deeply for a long time, and then she made a conclusion.
Chen Xi raised his eyes to glance at Bei Ling, and he didn't speak any further
Meanwhile, a wave of footsteps sounded out from outside the Distinguished Guest Pavilion, and accompanying this wave of footsteps was an emaciated and hunchbacked old man with jade green hair striding over with a cane in his hand.
It was exactly Wen Xiaofeng.
"Fellow Daoists, thank you for having me." Wen Xiaofeng smiled as he spoke.
Bei Ling was stunned and glanced at Chen Xi.
Chen Xi spoke calmly instead. "Don't be mistaken, this Elder Wen isn't like Second Elder. Otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to succeed so easily when I exchanged blows with Elder Wen earlier."
Wen Xiaofeng roared with laughter and said, "Fellow Daoist is being modest. With your strength, even if I don't hold back, it would probably be impossible for me to be a match for you."
He was speaking the truth. Even though he'd only exchanged a single blow with Chen Xi, Chen Xi's unfathomable strength caused him to feel a wisp of terror.
To an old fellow like him who was a piece of Jadesky Ghosteye Wood that had attained the Dao, this sort of feeling was something that had never appeared in many years.
So he didn't dare put on airs when speaking with Chen Xi, nor did he dare to assume the position of a senior.
Bei Ling finally came to an understanding when she heard this. Wen Xiaofeng and Cui Fangjun weren't working together, and he'd even secretly lost intentionally in the confrontation from before.
So this old fellow is a crafty person as well… In her heart, Bei Ling seemed to have taken Wen Xiaofeng to be an existence like Hou Zhan.
After they took their seats, Chen Xi asked. "Elder Wen, aren't you participating in the Ancestral Worship Ceremony?"
"I'm only a Guest Elder and not a member of the Cui Clan, so I'm naturally unqualified to participate in it." Wen Xiaofeng shook his head, and then he said, "I have to thank Fellow Daoists for escorting the Young Miss back safely this time. I've already received the instructions of the Ancestor, and both of you can put forward any request. Take it as a tiny form of the kind intentions of my Cui Clan. I hope both of you will kindly accept this."
Chen Xi's brows raised.
Bei Ling was unable to restrain herself instead, and she said coldly, "Could it be that your Cui Clan thinks that we escorted Young Miss Cui back for the sake of some sort of repayment?"
As far as she was concerned, they seemed to have taken all of this as a trade, and they intended to drive everyone away after the trade was completed. This was bitterly disappointing to her.
Wen Xiaofeng seemed to have expected this scene since the beginning, and he explained immediately. "Fellow Daoist, you've misunderstood. This is merely the kind intentions of my Cui Clan. We're just deeply afraid of neglecting the two of you, and we absolutely have no other intentions…"
Bei Ling's beautiful brows knit together, and she was just about to say something when she was restrained with a glance from Chen Xi.
"Elder Wen, there's no need for any thanks." Chen Xi said indifferently, "I only want to know how the Cui Clan will deal with Cui Fangjun."
Wen Xiaofeng pondered deeply for a short moment before he revealed a wisp of a tight-lipped grin on the corners of his mouth, and he said, "Actually, the fate of Second Elder was determined a long time ago, and he's naturally of no more use after the Young Miss returned."
These words were extremely thought provoking, yet to figures like Chen Xi and Bei Ling, they instantly guessed what these words meant, and their hearts practically instantly went cold.
What did these words mean?
It was very simple. Since Cui Qingning had returned, then Cui Fangjun had to die because everything Cui Fangjun did was noticed by the higher-ups of the Cui Clan since the beginning!
"In this way, to Young Miss Cui, or perhaps to the entire Cui Clan, Second Elder was merely a whetstone?" Bei Ling puckered her cherry lips lightly as she spoke slowly, and her voice didn't carry any fluctuation of emotion.
"You can think of it in that way." Wen Xiaofeng nodded and didn't evade it at all.
"All of you were actually clearly aware of the various tribulations that Young Miss Cui encountered all along the way?" Bei Ling's clear eyes couldn't help but narrow, and they drew out a horrifying arc.
Wen Xiaofeng seemed as if he hadn't noticed instead, and he shook his head and said, "We weren't aware of all of this because everything was arranged by the Ancestor. His intentions are vast like the world, so how could it possibly be determined by us?"
Bei Ling puckered her lips and didn't speak any further. She was worried that she would be unable to control the rage in her heart if she continued asking about it.
"Then what about the Netherworld Disk?" Chen Xi who'd been silent all along suddenly spoke with a question. His handsome face was completely calm and indifferent, causing no one to be able to discern exactly what he was thinking in his heart.
"Fellow Daoist, let me ask you something. With the presence of the Ancestor, do you think my Cui Clan could watch idly by as the Saint Artifact of the clan was stolen?" As Wen Xiaofeng spoke, he couldn't help but roar with laughter. "Unfortunately, Second Elder was brilliant in his entire lifetime, yet his desire for power was too great. For the sake of controlling the Punishment Bureau, he colluded with outsiders to bring calamity to the clan. He felt that he'd done this flawlessly, yet he didn't know that all of this was actually under the control of the Ancestor."
Wen Xiaofeng instantly restrained his laughter when he saw both Chen Xi and Bei Ling were silent, and he faintly sensed that the mood of these two people was slightly off.
After chatting idly about some irrelevant topics, Wen Xiaofeng bid his farewells right away when he saw that the two of them were inattentive.
Before he left, Wen Xiaofeng repeatedly notified them that the Ancestor would find some time to grant Chen Xi and Bei Ling an audience after the Ancestral Worship Ceremony ended, and he said this opportunity was difficult to come by, so they shouldn't leave beforehand so as to avoid missing a golden opportunity.
Within the Distinguished Guest Pavilion, only Chen Xi and Bei Ling remained.
The atmosphere was oppressive.
A wisp of rage couldn't help but hang on Bei Ling's peerlessly beautiful and white face. "I never imagined that all of this was a situation that someone had planned since the beginning, and he played with us in circles."
Chen Xi took a deep breath and laughed with self ridicule before he said, "Comparatively speaking, that Second Elder is actually a pitiable person. He took infinite pains to devise so many operations, yet he became a whetstone in the hands of the Cui Clan's ancestor. He was truly stupid and naïve."
Bei Ling was stunned, and then she laughed lightly with a complicated expression. "Is he pitiable? The most pitiable are probably those Cui Clan members that died at our hands. Moreover, weren't we executioner's blades in the hands of the Cui Clan's ancestor?"
When she spoke up to here, she suddenly thought of something and said, "Do you think Qingning knew about all this?"
Chen Xi was silent for a long moment before he shook his head in the end. It wasn't that he refused to answer, but he was unable to confirm the answer.
At this point, Chen Xi and Bei Ling had roughly determined that all the attacks and tribulations that Cui Qingning had encountered all along the way were actually training that had been planned and controlled by the Cui Clan's Ancestor since the beginning.
The objective of this was extremely simple, and it was none other than to allow Cui Qingning to swiftly transform and mature amidst moments of life and death.
On the other hand, the two of them just happened to be present at the right moment and were swept into this training, so they couldn't blame anyone for this.
"The methods of this Ancestor of the Cui Clan can really be said to be produced clouds with a flip of one hand and produce rain with the other, and he obtained benefit in many aspects from a single move." After calming down for a long time, Chen Xi couldn't help but sigh with emotion. "The problems in the Cui Clan had probably existed long ago, and Cui Fangjun wasn't a good person at all, whereas the Cui Clan's Ancestor relied on this opportunity to make arrangements with Young Miss Cui as a chess piece."
"These arrangements didn't just temper a future Patriarch for the Cui Clan, even those black sheep in the Cui Clan were wiped out during this training, and it was equivalent to assisting Young Miss Cui in eliminating all obstruction that stood before her and controlling the authority in the Cui Clan."
"The thing that was most difficult to come by was that from the beginning until the end, the Cui Clan's Ancestor didn't make a move by himself at all, so it naturally couldn't be considered as brutally killing his own clansmen."
As soon as he finished speaking, Chen Xi started laughing for no reason, and he didn't speak any further.
At the bottom of it all, he deserved to be used by another this time because from the beginning until the end, they'd utterly not invited him to participate in it, and it was he who'd taken the initiative to come forward. So who could he blame?
Of course, he could dispel this from his mind, and he wouldn't resent the Cui Clan's Ancestor as well, but the precondition was that he had to confirm one thing.
He wanted to know if Cui Qingning was aware of all of this since the beginning!
This had always been extremely important to Chen Xi!
Bei Ling wasn't so magnanimous as Chen Xi, and she felt more and more disgruntled the more she thought about it. This sort of feeling of being schemed against by another caused her to feel unwell as if she'd swallowed a fly.
"Let's go. I don't want to stay here for another moment. The opportunity to be granted an audience by the Cui Clan's Ancestor is difficult to come by? I don't value it at all. Perhaps he'll even deceive us." She suddenly stood up and spoke resolutely.
"Alright." Chen Xi thought for a moment before he agreed because it wouldn't be too late for him to go ask Cui Qingning about all of this after he found Qing Xiuyi and was about to leave the Netherworld.
But right when the two of them had just walked out of the Distinguished Guest Pavilion, they saw a familiar face that they'd never expected to see coming over to greet them.
"Brother Chen Xi, Miss Bei Ling, I know that both of you are extremely surprised. But both of you'll naturally understand everything after you've met the Ancestor." When he saw the two of them walking out of the Distinguished Guest Pavilion, that person was stunned, and then he cupped his hand and spoke with an apologetic expression.
His figure was thin, and his appearance was cold and stiff. Shockingly, he was Gu Tian, the leader of the guards that Chen Xi firmly believed had suffered misfortune a long time ago!