Ling Fengyun looked at him quietly .
Ling Hanwu returned his gaze, unrelenting .
For the longest time, the two of them stood motionless!
Ling Hanwu had always held strong admiration for this Elder Master; he had always viewed him as his idol . Whenever he saw him in the past, he would prostrate on the ground, never daring to lift his head to take even a glance . For so long, the countless legends about the Old Grandmaster had already become an undying record of great deeds in the hearts of the Ling Clan disciples!
He could only be looked upon in admiration from the bottom, never on an equal level!
But this time, he raised his head resolutely and stubbornly, returning the Elder Master's gaze .
This moment, he suddenly discovered… that when he did raise his head, this was all it was!
The Elder Master was human too; he had emotions too .
Looking at the proud and unyielding eyes before him, flashing with pride and a determination with no regret, Ling Fengyen let out a deep and long sigh .
His heart was rather overwhelmed at this moment .
Countless years ago, he was like that too…
The reason why Ling Fengyun took to Ling Hanwu was not because he was a direct descendant of the Ling Clan; the most important reason was because Ling Hanwu's journey, when it came to matters of the heart, held incredible similarities to his own .
They were shockingly identical!
That was why Ling Fengyun regarded Ling Hanwu, this great-grandson of his with several generations in between, different from the rest . Now, as he looked at Ling Hanwu, he felt as if he was looking at himself back then .
A bitter romance filled with hopelessness, just like him; the person haunting his dreams was in love with someone else, just like him; and… just like him, the person whom the woman he loved was in love with, was his clan's enemy, resulting in her losing her life to his clan!
Looking at Ling Hanwu's resolute eyes, Ling Fengyun was lost in his memories .
As if he was back to that night so long ago .
That night, the pure white snow was swirling about in the snow-capped mountains .
That woman, unsteady on her feet, came looking for him, begging him to save that man . He wanted to go and he was about to, but was stopped by his father .
Tears rolled down that woman's face at that time . She kowtowed to him fervently, her face filled with hopelessness .
"As long as you save him, I'm yours to do as you please! You can do whatever you want with me! As a servant or a slave, a wife or a concubine… Fengyun, as long as you can let him live on…"
That tragic voice seemed like it was still ringing in his ears .
He ultimately did not go .
He only brought that woman there when it was over… That person was already laying lifeless in the snow .
He could never forget how hopeless and crazed that woman was then… She just stood there staring at him, her eyes filled with endless loathing and intense hatred!
She did not speak a single word, only pulling out her sword and cutting off her hair, tying it together with his before slitting her throat with her sword and collapsing into the arms of that person's corpse…
Tying their hair together in matrimony!
Was that a vow of fate for their next lifetime?
But she, unwilling to even say a word in the end, ended her life without a moment's hesitation .
A few thousand years had passed, but Ling Fengyun could never forget that scene .
Decades later, he finally calmed his state of mind enough to get married . On the night of the wedding, he dreamt of that scene yet again…
Over the span of a few thousand years, it had turned into a demon in his heart .
And his cultivation, after reaching the pinnacle of Supreme Martial artist eighth-grade, could not advance any further! Everything was because of that! The demons haunting him would never fade till the day he died!
. . .
Ling Fengyun was so immersed in his memories that he forgot that someone was still in front of him .
Ling Hanwu stared at him for a while .
And then he walked resolutely in the direction of the exit, his feet just about to step out of the gates!
"Stop!" Ling Fengyun shouted .
Ling Hanwu halted his steps at the gates, though he did not turn back .
. . .
"We are dealing with Chu Yang now!" Ling Fengyun continued, "Chu Yang is someone that we cannot leave alive . However, using his Teacher to deal him a blow or to threaten him is inadvisable . "
"I will not stop you if you want to go!"
"But you must think it through! This concerns the survival of the Nine Super Clans! If you go, it is highly likely that you will lose your life!" Ling Fengyun said in a low voice .
There was something in his mind that he did not say — If he went and managed to survive, then his return would signify that the biggest demon in his heart was gone . The Ling Clan would then once again herald the birth of a ninth-grade Supreme Martial Artist, or even better, a super expert that could sink the heavens and break through the void!
"I know," Ling Hanwu answered calmly .
"I am already forty-odd this year, almost fifty-year-old . My state of mind is very mature, I am aware of what I am doing, as well as the consequences!" Ling Hanwu said quietly, "But… my heart is not something I can control! And love, all the more so! Nor do I wish to!"
"It has been so many years . If I had wanted it, I would have gotten long ago . But I have been helping them, have been fulfilling her wishes; it has become a habit . I do not wish to force her into doing anything she doesn't want to . "
"I can die, but Meng Geyin cannot!"
Ling Hanwu said softly .
Ling Fengyun let out a long sigh . "Then go!"
Ling Hanwu turned back to face him . He dropped to his knees and kowtowed nine times to the figure of Ling Fengyun's back . Then, without a single word, he rose to his feet and left, swift as the wind!
At the moment he darted out of the Ling Clan courtyard, the incoming chilly breeze brought along freezing wetness that stung his cheeks . Without any prompt, a thought suddenly appeared in Ling Hanwu's mind — Decades later, when Ye Chuchen's marriage was fulfilling and surrounded by her offspring… would she think of him?
As he thought about it, the corners of his lips curled up into a melancholic smile .
In the sky, icy cold flakes floated downward .
An elated smile appeared on Ling Hanwu's face — It was snowing! Had it finally decided to snow?
Could my wish be…
. . .
Ling Fengyun listened to the sound of the man kneeling, kowtowing, getting up and then flying off…
He stood motionless .
After a long while, he finally murmured, "You have to come back alive…"
Snowflakes floated about and fell .
Tianji City finally welcomed the first snowfall this winter .
It gradually became heavier and heavier…
. . .
Chu Yang had been keeping a close eye on the city's happenings these past few days . At the same time, he was also overseeing the cultivation of Mo Qingwu and Dong Wushang and the rest, as well as the Sword Spirit's elixir refining…
He had been steadily and systematically going about the preparation work in every aspect, including refining a large number of the incomplete version of the Nine Tribulations Pill, in view of the 'possible' casualties in the 'possibly' upcoming great battle .
Nangong Shifeng's days during this period of time had been incredibly fulfilling, going about gathering all kinds of intel every day and then happily sending them to Chu Yang .
Every time he came to deliver the intel, Chu Yang would treat Nangong Shifeng's condition .
As such, every time he left, Nangong Shifeng would feel intense relief from his old affliction . Overjoyed, he became even more diligent in his intel gathering .
What puzzled him the most was that Chu Yang now wanted news about anything and everything happening within Tianji City . This greatly increased Nangong Shifeng's workload, forcing him to dish out loads and loads of crystals, first to buy intel and second, to hire a few ringleaders of local ruffians .
These few days, Nangong Shifeng almost became the local ruffians' big boss . Every moment of the day, several people would come to him to report intel . Then, he would gather all these intel, which was worthless in his eyes, and give out load after load of crystals…
This day, after collating everything, he came to deliver intel to Chu Yang as per usual .
After Nangong Shifeng's departure, Chu Yang started to flip through the intel . Toward these intel, it wasn't that he didn't hold any hope in it, but the effect it could present was minimal . He could only surmise a guess based on any minor clues that it might contain .
When he reached the latter half, his eyes were already rather tired . Judging from the sky, it was already evening, the colors of dusk descending upon the land .
He stretched his arms, intending to take a break when suddenly, a piece of news entered his line of vision . A jolt went through Chu Yang's mind and he froze in his stretching position .
Shivers ran down his spine! He became awake in an instant .
The news was as follows:
A substantial number of people from the Ye Clan headed toward the South, in the direction of the South gate . The leader was Ye Shiyu .
The size of the group was unknown, cultivation level unknown, motive unknown .
According to conjectures, they might be headed to an inn? Or Ye Chuchen's living quarters…
"Ye Chuchen's living quarters"— these four words made Chu Yang fiercely wary .
Ye Chuchen had been living there ever since she came to Tianji City; she rarely appeared, as if isolated from the world . Chu Yang had secretly gone over a few times before and not once did he catch sight of her…
People from the Ye Clan rarely went over too .
Why did the people of the Ye Clan head there in a large group today?
There didn't seem to be anything worth the Ye Clan setting out like that for .
He thought of how his Teacher Meng Chaoran had vanished without a trace ever since he entered the city, and how Ling Hanwu had been drinking himself silly every day this period of time…
Chu Yang suddenly had a frightening thought — Could his Teacher be at Ye Chuchen's now?
Could this large-scale operation of the Ye Clan be because of him?
Chu Yang jumped to his feet in shock, his heart instinctively beating fast and perspiration drenching him in a split second…
With a loud bang, Chu Yang charged out of the room . The courtyard was quiet .
Feng and Yue had brought their disciple out for some unknown reason; Zi Xieqing had brought the two young girls, Chu Le'er and Mo Qingwu, out shopping and hadn't returned .
Dong Wushang and Rui Butong were meditating .
A bored Bu Liuqing was drinking under the flower archways .
Chu Yang thought about it for a while and then he made a beeline for the flower archways .
Dong Wushang etc would not be of any help yet . The only safe and reliable solution was to get Bu Liuqing to help .
It was better to be safe than sorry! It didn't hurt to make a wasted trip but if something happened to Meng Chaoran, Chu Yang would never forgive himself .
"Elder Bu! Do me a favor and accompany me to do something," Chu Yang said anxiously .
"Do what?" Bu Liuqing rolled his eyes . "Can't you see that I'm busy?"
Chu Yang was sweating . "Something incredibly urgent!"
Bu Liuqing was unmoved .
"Are you going or not?" In a panic, Chu Yang threatened him . "If you don't come with me and hold up my urgent business, when Xiaowu returns, I'll incite her to dissolve the Teacher-disciple relationship between the two of you and her! I'm not joking!"
"How dare you!" Bu Liuqing was enraged .
"Don't you know what kind of person I am? I am definitely capable of doing what I say!" Chu Yang lowered his voice and leaned over to Bu Liuqing . In a dangerous tone, he said emphatically in a low voice, "You should know, I am the Nine Tribulations Sword Master!"
"F*ck you!" Bu Liuqing got to his feet in a rage . "Don't mention these few words to me! I'm sensitive to them! I get cramps whenever I hear them! Damn you… This is the first time I'm being threatened like this in my life! And by a greenhorn like you no less!"
"So will you come with me or not?" asked Chu Yang fiercely .
"I will!" Bu Liuqing felt incredibly repressed in his chest, almost to the point of exploding . He said furiously, "I'll make this trip with you! I'm warning you! If it's nothing, don't blame me for taking hard measures later on!"A traditional custom during the marriage . During the wedding, hair from both the man and woman are tied together, signifying the union of a man and a woman in holy matrimony