Published at 20th of November 2020 10:50:48 AM
“Stop!” cried Xue Ningxiang .
Xue Dingtian turned towards his granddaughter and was startled to see her in tears with a dagger at her neck .
“What are you doing, Ning’er?” Xue Dingtian became nervous .
Xue Ningxiang spoke between sobs, “Grandpa, let them go, they’re my friends . ”
“If I do, then our Xue clan will be no more!” Xue Dingtian stepped towards Zhuo Fan with hatred and killing intent .
“Grandpa, take one more step and I will be leaving this world before you!” Xue Ningxiang nervously pushed the dagger closer to her throat .
Blood began to trace the blade .
“Don’t!” Xie Tianyang was frightened, but Xue Dingtian gnashed his teeth and pressed on . However, Zhuo Fan noticed the tears in the old man’s eyes .
Zhuo Fan laughed, “Hhha, Xue Dingtian, you’ve gotten senile . You think taking us to the seventh elder will save Xue clan? It will only hasten your downfall . ”
“What are you saying?” Xue Dingtian stopped and stared at Zhuo Fan .
Sneering, Zhuo Fan turned to Xie Tianyang, “Do you know who this is? He’s from Sword Marquise Abode! By handing him over to the Hell Valley, you will make one of the seven houses into your enemy . Do you think you can handle their wrath and prevent the downfall of your second rate clan!”
Xue Dingtian became apprehensive, he spoke while scrutinizing Xie Tianyang, “Impossible, you are trying to play me . I would’ve known by now if someone from Sword Marquise Abode came to Blue Expanse City!”
“Seven Noble Houses’ disciples wander the world, so why should they report to you? Clear those muddy eyes of yours and take a closer look at his spiritual weapon, his martial arts! Are they common? Even in the seven houses, such a masterful disciple is rare . ”
A chill shook his very core and Xue Dingtian staggered back a few steps .
He knew that was a 4th-grade spiritual weapon and the kid was using a profound ranked martial art . Who could wield both if not a man from the seven houses?
Having Xue Dingtian right where he wanted, Zhuo Fan drove in the last nail with a sneer, “You want to take us back to Hell Valley when it’s uncertain if they’ll even accept us . But if they do, will the Sword Marquise Abode just let you go?”
Xue Dingtian lost all his nerve and collapsed in a shivering mess .
The Xue Clan was under Hell Valley, but never would they think to step between the conflicts of the seven houses . If it ever happened, the Hell Valley would toss them in front as cannon fodder .
Xue Dingtian began to feel mournful and lost .
[This year is a disaster for Xue clan . Do we have no other choice but to die at the hands of one of the seven houses?]
He could take these runts with him, but he wouldn’t want them now even if they landed in his lap .
“Y-young m-masters, forgive this old man’s rash behavior . I was blind to young masters’ identity!” Xue Dingtian squeezed through clenched teeth and crouched before them to kowtow three times .
Everyone was dumbfounded, while Zhuo Fan just took it all in with a critical eye .
Xie Tianyang couldn’t quite accept it and rushed over . Forgetting the fact he was Ning’er’s grandfather, just being an aged Profound Heaven expert was enough to make Xie Tianyang unable to receive such a gesture .
Would the Profound Heaven experts, elders in title, back at Sword Marquise Abode had to kneel too?
But Zhuo Fan’s hand barred his way .
“If you want to save Ning’er, show off your status . ” Zhuo Fan whispered, to which Xie Tianyang nodded with a bit of startle .
“Grandfather, get up!”
Xue Ningxiang had never seen her grandfather so humiliated and rushed to help him up . But then Zhuo Fan yelled, “Who told you to get up?”
Xue Dingtian shivered and was back on his knees with a red face .
Xue Ningxiang was angry, but Xue Dingtian pulled her back . Zhuo Fan strutted before the old man and said in a clipped tone, “Do you know of our young master’s eminent identity in the house? You hurt him today and us, the Sword Marquise Abode, will not let this go unpunished . ”
“Yes, I was ignorant in my offense . ” Xue Dingtian hung his head which was already full of cold sweat .
“Humph, then we will take Ning’er . If you want to get her back, have the Xue clan or Hell Valley come for her at Sword Marquise Abode . ”
Zhuo Fan was about to leave when Xue Dingtian grabbed his ankle, “It doesn’t matter if Ning’er offended the seventh elder, but she cannot leave . Or the Xue clan will be dead for good . I cannot accept it even if it means offending Sword Marquise Abode’s young masters . ”
Frowning, Zhuo Fan eyed him thoughtfully and saw the staunch resolve in his eyes .
Zhuo Fan’s eyes flashed with killing intent . He snatched Xie Tianyang’s Star Sword and stabbed at the old man’s chest .
Xue Ningxiang panicked and threw herself before Xue Dingtian, stopping Zhuo Fan’s attack just in time .
“Damnable and crazy punk!”
Xie Tianyang came to and took his sword, “I thought you were just scaring the old man, not being serious . He is Ning’er’s grandfather!”
Zhuo Fan spoke coldly, “If you were to choose who dies, who will you pick among the two?”
“Of course it’s…” Xie Tianyang hesitated as he got caught in a dilemma . Xue Ningxiang didn’t understand what was going on between her grandfather and Zhuo Fan .
“Xue Dingtian, what do you need Ning’er for?” Zhuo Fan spoke harshly .
Xue Dingtian sighed, “I know that young masters like my granddaughter, but she is already betrothed to Hell Valley’s young master . When she is 16 years of age, I will have to take her to them . Because of this, she has tried to run from home so many times . With how the time is nearing its end, if I don’t take her, our whole clan will perish . ”
Xie Tianyang asked, “Ning’er, is this why you ran away?”
Xue Ningxiang nodded sadly .
Zhuo Fan watched Xue Dingtian’s wrinkled face for any lies but found none, “So even you do not know for sure . If it’s marriage then it’s fine, but…”
“But what?” Xie Tianyang snapped, “Ning’er can’t marry some random guy from Hell Valley . Come, follow brother to Sword Marquise Abode . ”
“Xue Tianyang, this marriage is fake!” Zhuo Fan shot him a glance then spoke to Xue Dingtian, “If it was about Hell Valley’s marriage they would’ve come for her ages ago . But have you seen any girl getting married off to them coming back alive?”
Xue Dingtian pondered then shook his head, “Hell Valley is one of the seven houses, with proper rules and manners . Marrying with our second rate clan already deserves heartfelt gratitude . What other reason can there be? She is ready to be wed to someone, and it’s no longer our place to ask . ”
“Hhha, that’s exactly what they want . ” Zhuo Fan cackled, “If I were to tell you that all the girls who got married to the Hell Valley’s people died, what will you do? Will you still let Ning’er go?”
“What? Impossible!” Xue Dingtian refuted, “Why would they do that? We’ve always been loyal to them . ”
“It is because you are so devoted that they chose you to raise a cauldron!” Zhuo Fan declared .
Everyone asked in shock, “What cauldron?”
Zhuo Fan answered calmly, “There are some demonic cultivators who train in a cultivation method that utilizes ghosts of the people dying gruesome deaths . But too heavy grievance would lead to an imbalance in the yin and yang, this would increase the risk of oneself getting devoured by the ghosts . Therefore, the purest soul is needed as a foundation to train in it . And 16-year-old maidens are the best materials . ”
“You’re saying they want Ning’er to train some art?” Xie Tianyang looked at Xue Ningxiang with worry .
Zhuo Fan nodded, “Most likely . Do you remember the seventh elder’s martial art? That profound ranked martial art wasn’t trained to completion and was weak because the cauldron was lacking . You think he’d go easy on us on purpose?”
They all gasped at the cruelty of Hell Valley which was using people as materials to practice arts .
But Zhuo Fan couldn’t care less . Demonic cultivators were selfish, not cruel or humane . Anything that killed one’s opponent was most welcomed .
He recalled that one time back in the Sacred Domain when an Emperor Stage expert cultivated this demonic method and killed ten thousand cultivators, the expert provoked the entire Sacred Domain’s cultivators into an uprising against him . Even demonic cultivators rose the flag of righteousness, vowing to wipe such filth from the world .
That was one of the rare occasions in which the two paths joined .
Luck had it that Zhuo Fan was among them, witnessing this force on the move . He learned then not to incur public hatred if he wasn’t the strongest .
That was also why he trained in the dark after getting the Nine Serenities Secret Records . Even now, despite having the Demon Transformation Art, which could raise his cultivation without a limit, he wasn’t slaughtering left and right .
If he’d get found out, he’d be the next target of both paths!