Mo Qing Wu had been feeling better since the Young Master of the major clans had come to visit her.
However, her father – Mo Xing Chen – discovered that his little daughter was turning more and more reticent. She would practice martial arts every day, but she would just sit alone in her small courtyard for the rest of the day. She’d hug that scabbard, and stare at it in a daze.
Her disposition had become quiet and reserved from her previously lively and adorable self. In fact, she seemed to be lost in worries at such a young age. She no longer hugged him, or called him ‘father’ as sweetly as she used to. She no longer showed him that sweet smiling face of hers either.
She would occasionally run into a clan member. But, she would merely give them a vacant look, and then walk on.
She was going to turn eleven in a few months. Yet, her melancholic and reserved demeanor was similar to that of a 20-year-old girl who had been subjected to years of hardships, and had eventually shut herself as a result. And, the people who saw her like this were usually upset by this sight.
When his daughter’s saber had been snatched away… she had come to meet him with tears in her eyes, and had begged, [Father, please return my saber to me...]
However, she no longer made that request either. It seemed as if that saber had never appeared in her life.
However, Mo Xing Chen knew that the aforementioned ‘saber incident’ had left a deep scar in his daughter’s mind; a scar that would never be erased!
There was no light in her eyes. And, her lifeless eyes were devoid of hope. Her father Mo Xing Chen would occasionally bring her toys and jewelry. But, this couldn’t even incite any excitement in her eyes. She would thank him out of mere formality, [Thank you, Father.] But, she wouldn’t say anything further.
Moreover, she never wore those jewelries either.
She was always in her red clothes. She would only wear that butterfly knot made of Red Cloud Steel on her head — the butterfly with spread wings… prepared to fly. And, she always held that tattered scabbard.
Mo Qing Wu’s eyes showed heartfelt desire for these two things only. She appeared to be earnestly longing for something… as if looking forward to something. But, she would never talk about it...
Mo Tian Ji had been fighting at the Cang Lan Battlefront this entire time, and he had been doing his best. He would often send some strange items for his little sister. However, Mo Qing Wu never showed the slightest excitement upon receiving them. She would merely store these items inside an empty room, and seal them.
On one occasion, the person who had brought these gifts for Mo Qing Wu told her that the Second Young Master would love to receive a letter from her. However, she had indifferently relied, [Second Brother has great ambitions. He doesn’t need a letter from me.]
Mo Tian Ji almost collapsed when he heard about this! He went all-out after that. He then began to gather his trusted troops, and started to make preparations to snatch the position of the first heir from Mo Tian Yun in one fell swoop! Then, he would find a proper place for his little sister to settle down!
He was only the Second Young Master at the moment. So, he didn’t have the power to deal with such a serious matter! He knew that his little sister was in deep pain; he had known this for a long time. And, he also knew that temporary happiness couldn’t cover-up a lifetime of sadness!
Mo Qing Wu would reveal her real emotions only when she was at her mother's side. Emotions like — being treated badly in the clan, yearnings for love, resentment, and helplessness...
Her small mind clear knew that her clan had abandoned her! She was the abandoned child of the clan. The clan had been indifferent towards her this entire time, and would send her greetings once in a while. However, they had realized that it was worth investing in her when young masters with promising futures such as Ji Mo and Dong Wu Shang came to visit her.
And, their attitude towards her changed slightly thereafter.
However, this change of attitude was incited by a greater and selfish goal of theirs! Mo Qing Wu was young, but it wasn’t hidden from anyone that she had grown-up in a big and influential clan.
These young masters had intentionally come to meet her. Perhaps their clans would eventually send marriage requests for her. And, that would be a great opportunity to form marital connections and allies!
This was especially true for the Great Elder Mo Wu Xin. He was said to have already started harboring thoughts of marrying her off. Moreover, the mysterious visits of Ji Mo, Gu Du Xing, Dong Wu Shang, and Rui Bu Tong had also conveyed this message. In fact, she would’ve been made ‘someone’s fiancée’ if the Mo Clan hadn’t been afraid of facing rejection because of her young age.
"Young Miss, Madam has invited you to come over," a maid came to inform her.
"Ok." Mo Qing Wu gently stood up. Her present height was only half-a-head shorter than what it used to be when she was in the Lower Three Heavens. However, her physique was thin, small, and fragile. She slowly walked out.
She had been putting great effort in practicing martial arts these days, but to no avail. She would try to urge her spiritual power, but it would only cause unbearable pain in her chest. And, this pain couldn’t be stopped. This had pushed her deeper into a state of despair.
"Little Wu, you're here." Madam Mo had a slight heartache when she saw how her little daughter had changed so much of late. The more she observed her… the more pain she felt in her heart. However, she was powerless. There was nothing she could do for her daughter.
She was the biological mother of Mo Qing Wu, but she was merely a woman in this patriarchal world… a world where it was common for men to have three wives and four concubines. The status of women in this big world was very low. Therefore, they had no right to speak in family affairs!
So, she had no other choice besides accepting the decision of the clan.
"Mother, why did you call me? What’s the matter?" Mo Qing Wu’s eyes flickered.
"Ah, Little Wu, I just wanted to confirm. You will turn 11 in a month, right?" a doting look flashed in Madam Mo’s eyes.
"Yes, Mother. I will turn 11 years old next month, on July 7th." Mo Qing Wu’s heart suddenly thumped, and an inexplicable sense of horror enveloped her heart, [why did mother ask my age? Don’t tell me…?]
"I see, my Little Wu has become a big girl in the blink of an eye… my little dance has become a big girl…" Madam Mo wore a disappointed and frustrated smile on her face as she said, "11 years old… I remember back in the day… I had been engaged to your father when I had turned 11 years old…"
"What?" Mo Qing Wu took a step back. She was panic-stricken as she looked at Madam Mo, "Mother... you?"
"The Mo Clan is in a precarious and unstable situation these days…" Madam Mo heaved a deep sigh, "The struggle between your Eldest Brother and your Second Brother is getting fiercer and fiercer. The strength of the clan has somewhat weakened as a result of that. This isn’t a good thing for the clan’s stability…"
"Therefore, the Great Elder has discussed with your father to see if we can find… a strong and reliable ally for our Mo Clan…" Madam Mo spoke-up with some difficulty.
Mo Qing Wu’s complexion turned deathly pale. Her frail body trembled as she looked at her mother.
"So… we want to fix your marriage … as soon as possible..." Madam Mo helplessly watched her own daughter, "The Meng Clan has approached seeking a marriage alliance with us…"
"Meng Clan?" Mo Qing Wu’s pale face turned even more pallid as she mumbled softly. An intense look of hatred flashed in her eyes.
"Yes, the Meng Clan. It’s for the brightest young star of the Meng Clan… as well as the Eldest Young Master of the Meng Clan — Meng Luo. Meng Luo has turned 23 this year, but he’s already considered the invincible top expert in the younger generation of the Meng Clan. His cultivation has broken through to the King Level." Madam Mo’s crooked her lips in a somewhat bitter and agonizing manner.
Meng Luo! Indeed, this Young Master Meng Luo had the cultivation of King Level, and his strength could be regarded as ‘outstanding’ in the younger generation of the Middle Three Heavens. He could be said to be at the pinnacle of the younger generation!
This young genius was certainly the most eligible ‘son-in-law candidate’ for most respected clans!
However… Young Master Meng Luo was already married. Moreover, he had wives and concubines! And, the Meng Clan was basically seeking a marriage alliance to get a cheap bargain.
This was Meng Luo’s way to enhance the strength of his Meng Clan. So, he didn’t care about his fiancée’s status in her clan, or her appearance, aptitude etc. His only goal was to use this marriage as a means to increase the influence of the Meng Clan.
Therefore, Meng Luo had sought a marriage alliance with the Mo Clan after he had found out that the Mo Clan’s daughter had lost her innate ability ‘Three Yin Meridians’. However, she used to be only nine-and-a-half years old back then. So, his hands had been tied for the fear of being ridiculed.
There would obviously be no such concerns now since she would soon turn 11 years old. Generally speaking… most influential clans would fix the marriage of their useless daughters at this age.
Therefore, Meng Luo had sent a marriage proposal the earliest possible time.
And, this was something the Mo Clan had been eagerly looking forward to. The Mo Clan was indulged in an internal strife at the moment, and was very much in need of such an ally.
"It doesn’t matter who he is. I won’t agree!" Mo Qing Wu stubbornly bit her lip, "Mother… Father had promised me that he would never force me for marriage! He had promised that he would never turn me into a marriage tool for the sake of the clan!"
"But, when you father had promised you… at that time..." Madam Mo helplessly sighed, and said in her heart, [you used to have Three Yin Meridians in your body when your father had made you that promise. A female with Three Yin Meridians in her body will have limitless future prospects. She would obviously not be married off in haste. But now, you no longer possess…]
"The clan has been very good to me since childhood. So, it was just because of the Three Yin Meridians?!" Mo Qing Wu asked with trembling lips, "So, the clan gave up on me, and turned entirely indifferent towards me when my Three Yin Meridians were destroyed! I’ve been raised like a puppy ever since… But mother, even a puppy needs to be gently caressed and stroked at times. It also needs to feel loved from time to time. But, everyone stopped caring about your daughter when she lost her Three Yin Meridians?
"And now, you want to trade this good-for-nothing crippled daughter – who has lost both her value and her happiness – for an ally…" Mo Qing Wu let out a hissing sound, "Why, Mother? Am I not your daughter anymore? Am I not the flesh and blood of the Mo Clan anymore? Why is our Mo Clan being so blatantly heartless and indifferent towards me?
"I already knew that my fate won’t be as I desire… but, when the other clans choose a husband for their daughter, and fix the marriage date… they at least do it with the consent of their daughter. Why is it that you are directly declaring everything to me in my case instead of taking my approval?"
Madam Mo had finally stepped forth – this clearly indicated that this matter had already been settled conclusively. Her only task was to use the final persuasion. Mo Qing Wu was young, but she was clearly aware of this.
"But... the Great Elder has taken charge to settle this matter…" Madam Mo helplessly watched her daughter in such a pathetic state, "Even your father is helpless ah."
"Is father scared? Is that’s why he readily agreed to this matter?" Mo Qing Wu asked in a sad yet taunting tone.
Madam Mo went speechless for a while. She then spoke-up in a trembling voice, "Little Wu... I also can’t do anything about it... we are a family, a family ah..."
"I can’t agree on this matter at this moment. I can’t agree until I’ve asked that person..." Mo Qing Wu wanted to say, [over my dead body!] But then, she suddenly thought of that person, and a ray of light flashed in her eyes. This was the glimmer of hope she needed, "I will agree to a marriage if he agrees that he doesn’t care about me…"
Madam Mo was very sensitive towards the sudden brightness that had appeared in her daughter’s eyes. Her daughter seemed happy all of a sudden. But, it seemed like this was the last glimmer of hope, and her daughter was clinging to it very strongly. Her heart involuntarily tightened as she asked, "Who?!"