Suddenly, there was a monstrous shout from Three Stars Divine Clan's side. The remaining eighty or so Iron-Clad Lion beasts retreated like a tide.
Three individuals among those people from the Three Stars Divine Clan had a solemn look on their faces. Their gazes were focused on Tan Tan's body. They seemed to be sizing-up his 'out of the ordinary' appearance; especially his eyebrows since they seemed like they could pierce the sky and stab the earth. There was a baffled look in their eyes...
Those three maintained a 'nonchalant' attitude while Tan Tan spoke; almost as if they weren't paying attention. However, their ears were secretly erect and were earnestly listening to Tan Tan's voice...
The person-in-the-middle suddenly waved his hand after some time. He then issued a sharp sound from his mouth. The loud and rumbling sound echoed and those three individuals retreated; along with that large group of Iron-Clad Lion beasts. They had simply vanished like a retreating tide.
Meng Chao Ran had stayed hidden; he had been standing guard. However, he was concerned by the manner in which those three individuals kept turning their gazes towards Tan Tan's face. It seemed as if they were gazing at a peak level expert. They had finally noticed that Tan Tan had a cultivation of Martial Great Master!
[What is this?]
Meng Chao Ran wrinkled his eyebrows, and began to ponder over it. He suddenly felt an inexplicable sense of crisis originating from the bottom of his heart.
He had a strange feeling that something was about to happen. Therefore, he immediately decided: [I must take Tan Tan and leave this place! We must leave as soon as possible; no matter what!]
[And without any delay!]
"Huh? They're running away?" Luo Ke Di's eyes widened.
[This is the first time a situation like this has occurred since the beginning of this war between the aristocratic clans and the Three Stars Divine Clan. They retreated instead of fighting... what's going on? This doesn't conform to their usually aggressive style ah...]
"Xie Dan Feng! Come here!" Xie Dan Qiong was relieved at first, but the anger welled-up in his voice soon-after.
"Who are you shouting at?" Xie Dan Feng initially had a guilty conscience. But the manner in which her elder brother had shouted at her instantly gave rise to a feeling of resentment in her heart. Therefore, she had reacted angrily; without showing any sign of weakness.
"Is that your elder brother?" Tan Tan narrowed his eyes and looked at the man standing beside her.
"Yes." Xie Dan Feng snorted as she nodded.
"I must say..." Tan Tan clicked his tongue and said, "…your brother is prettier than you…"
"Tan Tan!" Xie Dan Feng suddenly got furious.
One other person was driven mad by this — Xie Dan Qiong!
'Pretty'... this word could be used to describe a female. But if used to describe a man… that would be somewhat... *cough cough cough*. Xie Dan Qiong had been supercilious his entire life. But he hated it when someone called him 'as pretty as a woman'. His eyes turned blue with anger when he heard the same words from Tan Tan's mouth.
Xie Dan Feng slowly and gently walked towards Xie Dan Qiong, and started talking to him; she would point her finger at Tan Tan from time to time. She was telling him about how she first met Tan Tan… how he took care of her… and protected her on the journey...
Xie Dan Feng herself didn't know how she felt about him. Either way, she didn't hesitate in exaggerating things ten-folds while talking about Tan Tan.
However, Xie Dan Qiong's facial expression became more and more conflicted as she continued to tell more and more about Tan Tan…
"Hey bro..." Xie Dan Qiong cupped his hands in greeting towards Tan Tan. He then said in a friendly manner, "May I ask your surname and given name?"
"My surname is Tan, and given name is Tan." Tan Tan answered in a proud and upright manner. Then, he immediately thought of putting on a 'shocked' expression so as to leave a good impression on his future brother-in-law. Therefore, he promptly did that as he added in a 'shocked' tone, "My name 'Tan' is derived from Tanhua(1). What do you think? Don't you think that I'm incomparably elegant and dashing like a Tanhua?"
"Cough cough cough..." Xie Dan Qiong had been put in a difficult situation. He coughed a few times and then rubbed his temple. He was suddenly at a loss for words. He had prepared a bellyful of words, but he suddenly felt his whole body exploding with anger after he heard this ugly guy call himself 'as elegant and dashing like Tanhua'. In fact, he seemed to have forgotten what he was about to say.
Luo Ke Di was watching from the side; he smiled, and his mouth became crooked.
"So, it's Brother Tan." Xie Dan Qiong rubbed his nose as if he had a burning sensation in it, "Brother Tan… mind if I ask… your origin?"
"My origin?" Tan Tan hurriedly smiled. He believed that this guy was going to be his own brother-in-law. Therefore, he couldn't possibly dare to neglect this question. He hastily put on a confident look and a genuinely 'shocked' smile on his face as he said, "I'm from the Lower Three Heavens..."
Xie Dan Qiong scratched his head in confusion. It seemed as if he had got a splitting headache.
His action was very similar to that of a naive kid. He hadn't done something like this since he was seven or eight years old. However, he scratched his hair to the point of turning it into a chicken-nest…
[So he is from the Lower Three Heavens ... humph.] Xie Dan Qiong immediately concluded, [this guy doesn't deserve my sister's family background!] He then looked at Tan Tan who was still maintaining that exaggerated look of 'shock' on his face. He seriously didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
[There's a normal small-talk going on between us... why do you look so shocked? It's making me feel as if my appearance is making you shocked. I feel like looking for a mirror to check… whether I look handsome or not?]
Xie Dan Qiong felt a little awkward. However, he still managed to say, "Brother Tan, I thank you for being so brave and chivalrous. You've saved my younger sister. My Xie Clan will surely give you a generous reward for this kindness!"
The meaning of his words was quite simply... [You don't expect anything else! I will give you compensation for what you did for my younger sister.]
"What would I do with your generous reward?" Tan Tan scratched his head and said, "I like Xie Dan Feng; so I saved her. I want her to be my wife ah."
Xie Dan Qiong's complexion suddenly turned black like the bottom of a frying pan. He looked to his side and saw his valiant sister — her head was lowered and blushing. He couldn't help but be dumbstruck by this. He somehow suppressed the rage within his heart and said, "Bro, you're joking, right?"
Shifting from 'Brother Tan' to 'Bro' was an attempt to create distance.
However, this plan of Xie Dan Qiong's didn't work on Tan Tan. He simply didn't notice the hidden intricacy in the difference between 'Brother Tan' and 'Bro'.
"Why would I joke about it?" Tan Tan stared at him. He then shouted, "This is an important matter about my marriage. It is related to my life and my son. How can I joke about it?"
Xie Dan Feng blushed in embarrassment. She stamped her feet as she rebuked, "Who would want to have your son? You're shameless! Humph!"
"You ah..." Tan Tan replied in a matter of fact way, "You'll be my wife. Then, how can you not give birth to my son?"
"You bastard!" Xie Dan Feng seethed with anger as she glared at him; she indeed looked very angry from her appearance…
Xie Dan Qiong was stupefied. [I haven't said anything about it, and these two have already started flirting in front of me. In fact, they've reached all the way to talk about having a son together...]
He stayed confused and disoriented for a while. He then shouted angrily, "Shut up! Xie Dan Feng. You are getting more and more daring, aren't you?! Marriage... how can you make this decision on your own? This is something only our Clan Lord can decide. It is absurd for the young daughter of a prestigious clan to be saying such words!"
"What's absurd about it?!" Luo Ke Di exclaimed in an eccentric tone, "I think the very thought of Brother Tan Tan not deserving your younger sister's family background is a 'typical snobbish bullshit'..."
"Luo Ke Di! Stay out of this! This is none of your business!" Xie Dan Qiong coldly shouted. He suddenly felt a demonic fire gushing-about in his belly.
"How's this 'none of my business'?" Luo Ke Di bravely stepped forward, "This is my brother! What's up with your Xie Clan? Have you started to regard yourselves as a prominent and large clan? It's weird to see how you keep looking down on this-and-that... I spit on you! You're already married. You embrace your wife daily, and live your life happily! But do you plan to keep your sister unmarried, huh?"
Luo Ke Di spoke with contempt, "You're a 'fully satisfied' man who doesn't know what it means to be hungry. It's all very well to stand here and talk big… but getting things done is another matter... because who doesn't know that your sister has… what kind of... crap, ahwooh..."
He was basically going to say… [You should be glad that someone is willing to marry your sister even though she has that kind of temperament.] However, he stopped midway and didn't let those words slip from his tongue since he felt that they might offend Tan Tan.
Xie Dan Qiong seethed with rage and pointed his halberd at him as he shouted, "Luo Ke Di! If you want to die this badly — I will gladly fulfill your wish!" He had been overwhelmed and pushed back by an army of spirit beasts. Then, he got saved from being taken advantage of. But then, he was scared to the point of anxiety by his own young sister. Xie Dan Qiong had been suppressing a lot of frustration within himself — but it had finally erupted.
"Ahwooh..." Luo Ke Di puffed-out his chest and took a step forward. He frivolous waved his hands back and forth as he challenged him, "Rightly said. This young master really wants to die. He f**king wants to die! Come on, Xie Dan Qiong! You motherf*ker! The one to die today won't be me; but you… 'Rabbit Lord'!"
"You!" 'Rabbit Lord' these two words aroused Xie Dan Qiong's killing intention. He roared, and was suddenly surrounded by a burst of chill. Two thin pieces of flowers made up of jasper (3) appeared, and started to revolve around him. Such a wondrous spectacle had appeared at the spot where the killing intention had appeared a moment ago; in fact, it seemed like an illusion.
His killing intention had condensed to gain mass and shape in the air!
"Clang!" Luo Ke Di unsheathed his long sword and gave out a loud howl, "Ahwooh..."
Talk Tan was on the side. He scratched his head and appeared somewhat puzzled, [looks like he is speaking on my behalf... speaking is fine… but why is he willing to go so far?]
He didn't know why Luo Ke Di was helping him — it was a mystery to him. However, Tan Tan couldn't help but develop a favorable impression of Luo Ke Di when he saw him prepared to fight for his sake...
Two shouts resounded in unintended unison.
One was violent — the other was gentle and refined.
Luo Ke Wu and Meng Chao Ran had arrived.
"Dan Qiong, I will surely accompany you if you wish to fight!" Luo Ke Wu snorted, "However, don't give others a chance to say that 'Xie Dan Qiong is a bully who only picks on the weak. He didn't even spare his own younger sister', ah."
Xie Dan Qiong gritted his teeth. He was unable to control himself no matter how profound his self-restraint was.
"Hold on a minute," Meng Chao Ran stepped forward and looked at Xie Dan Qiong with a profound look in his eyes. He could feel that this youngster was extraordinary. He then said, "Are you the Xie Clan's Young Master?"
"You are?" Xie Dan Qiong's attention turned towards Meng Chao Ran. He didn't think Meng Chao Ran to be a formidable person at first-sight. However, he had rarely seen someone with such a calm, tranquil and elegant temperament.
Xie Dan Qiong noticed that half of his hostility had disappeared in thin air upon seeing this man's warm and gentle smile.
"I am Tan Tan's master." Meng Chao Ran insipidly said, "I have something to say to Young Master Xie. Would he be interested in listening?"
"Please say." Xie Dan Qiong slowly gained control over his own temper, and that illusion of the two jasper flowers suddenly disappeared.
Meng Chao Ran fixed his gaze at him. There was a profound tranquility in his eyes. He continued to look at Xie Dan Qiong for a long time. However, Xie Dan Qiong felt that his mood was changing along with that gaze. His anger slowly subsided, and he slowly regained his calm-and-composure.
In fact, he could accept all matters in his current mentality.
"A marriage demands the two families to be well-matched in terms of social status." Meng Chao Ran crossed his hands behind his back and continued, "This fact has existed since ancient times. If they're not well-matched… the chance of a tragedy is more likely to happen..."
Xie Dan Qiong pondered deeply and couldn't help but nod. He felt that the words Meng Chao Ran had said contained a strong sense of realism; in fact, he felt as if it had happened to him before…
Tanhua = It's a beautiful flower that is called 'queen of the night'. It's actually a night blood orchid cactus. It is often used as symbolism to describe someone who has an impressive but very brief moment of glory because this flower might bloom only once a year over a few days.
'Brother' is a term of formal and respectful address. 'Bro' is slang; often considered disrespectful in some cultures.
Jasper: The literal translation for Jasper is 'Qiong' which is derived from Xie Dan Qiong's name itself.