Someone had once said that Gu Clan's strongest point was their unity... That's because the Gu Clan would've perhaps ceased to exist long ago if it wasn't so...
Therefore, the strength of such a united clan was bound to erupt once it had a strong leader. This point was something that no one would argue against.
A fist alone can at most smash-open a pit in a vast desert spanning tens of thousands of miles. However, even enemies as vast as a desert would only be like loose-sand once several fists are clenched together!
This was the strength of the Gu Clan!
A King Expert laughed as he jokingly said, "It seems like all of us should thank our Young Miss. After all, our Young Clan Lord wouldn't have had the motivation to go all out if she hadn't been imprisoned in the Dragon Prison Cave. He has jumped from Martial Great Master to Sword Emperor… He's the only one in the history of Nine Heavens who has pulled off something like this."
Everyone couldn't help but laugh when they heard this remark.
However, Gu Du Xing's complexion slowly turned cold when he heard this sentence… It gradually turned as cold as ice. The most unacceptable thing for him was Gu Miao Ling's time in the Dragon Prison Cave.
He couldn't even accept a joke on this matter.
Gu Du Xing's gaze looked cold as he slowly said, "I don't want anyone to mention this matter again. Also, Dragon Prison Cave must be destroyed! Whoever dares to mention it again mustn't blame me - Gu Du Xing - for being disrespectful."
A chilling sword-energy suddenly filled the entire hall along with a whizzing sound as soon as Gu Du Xing got angry. That King Expert who had spoken the sentence trembled in his heart, and his complexion became deathly pale.
Gu Du Xing knew that this King Expert was only joking, and had no evil intentions. So, he took a deep breath, and suppressed the wrath in his heart. Then, he insipidly said, "Actually... I would've done anything for her… I would've gone begging if I had to. I just didn't want Sister Xiao Miao to suffer for all those years… In fact, I - Gu Du Xing - won't hesitate to destroy my cultivation… if I can erase all those painful experiences from Sister Xiao Miao's life at the cost of my Sword Emperor cultivation."
He gently looked around. Then, he sincerely bowed, and said, "So... I don't want to hear this again. I hope everyone will respect my decision."
Gu Du Xing had said these words in an extremely impolite manner. However, everyone still felt a profound respect for him.
There had been countless heroes through the ages. But, who had been willing to make such a sacrifice for their woman? In fact, very few would even bother to mention it as lip service. After all, the status of women in the Nine Heavens was very low.
However, everyone was convinced that Gu Du Xing would do it without any hesitation whatsoever when they heard him say this.
He had broken through to the Sword Emperor Level within two years for Gu Miao Ling. So, he could very well cripple himself for her in a flash!
…as long as Gu Miao Ling would require it!
Everyone knew how much pain and sacrifices Gu Du Xing must've endured to break through to the Sword Emperor Level within two years. That must've felt like suffering the death of a thousand cuts every single day for two years!
Gu Du Xing had still managed to accomplish this feat. He hadn't said it out loud. However, everyone here was an expert… All of them were familiar with that hellish feeling.
Therefore, no one was suspecting that his words weren't sincere!
[This cold-faced boy is ever-ready to set the entire world on fire for the passion in his heart. He won't regret it even if he himself burns in the process!]
[He can do it!]
Gu Yun Lan's eyes lit up. He felt gratified in his heart, [These words of Gu Du Xing are alone enough to show that I haven't entrusted my daughter's lifelong happiness to the wrong person. I can finally rest assured now.]
Therefore, that uneasy feeling in Gu Yun Lan's heart completely vanished.
After all, Gu Miao Ling was his own daughter. Parents get anxious when a daughter grows up, and is about to get married. Moreover, they are reluctant to part with her, and become double minded at that time.
Gu Yun Lan hadn't been able to shake off that sense of worry and unwillingness even if the son-in-law was his own foster son. This was a kind of mentality that was very strange. Moreover, it was extremely contradictory for a father.
[I want my daughter to be happy. I wish for her to start her new life as soon as possible. But, I don't want my daughter to get married…]
However, Gu Yun Lan became overwhelmed with emotion when he heard Gu Du Xing's words. He turned his head about, and secretly wiped the corners of his eyes when no one was paying attention. Then, he silently said, "Dear wife... Our sons are gone, but our daughter can obtain the greatest happiness a woman can get…
"Moreover, our son-in-law is a strange man who is very affectionate and righteous. He may be our foster son, but he's just like our own son. There's no difference... So, you can rest assured. Wait for me to go back tonight… I'll have a proper chat and a proper drink with you. The netherworld keeps us apart, but I know that you can still hear me…
"I still remember how you had firmly clutched my hand when you were dying. You hadn't been able to utter even a single word. But, I know that you had been worried for us. I know… I hope that you would chide our sons in the afterlife. Don't let them become that sort of hedonistic sons of rich parents like they were while they were alive..."
Gu Yun Lan wiped his eyes. Then, he turned around, and looked at Gu Du Xing with a smile on his face. He felt the joyful atmosphere in the hall, and said in his heart, [My dear wife… how wonderful would it be… if you were by my side at this moment! I wouldn't have any regrets in my life anymore…]
[I remember that you would always be angry and jealous when you were alive... But, you know… I haven't looked at any woman again since you've passed away. I spend my sleepless nights alone. The dream finally comes at midnight when I'm drinking with you in front of your portrait...]
[I miss you so much...]
[I can also achieve the level of devotion that Du Xing has for our Miao Ling! Can you feel it?]
Gu Yun Lan quietly walked out of the hall amidst the jubilant atmosphere, and went away. The loud and happy laughter behind him gradually got farther and farther away… until it couldn't be heard anymore...
Not long after… inside Gu Yun Lan's bedroom…
Gu Yun Lan raised a cup of wine, and stared at the portrait on the wall. He smiled, and said, "My Beloved Ling, today is a day of great celebration. Everyone is celebrating. But, I came back to celebrate with you… I can't drink without you on this day of celebration. I'll get drunk with you today!"
He stared at the portrait for a long while. Then, he raised his neck, and drained the cup in one gulp.
There was a scent of incense before the portrait; the blue smoke was curling up.
There was also a cup of wine. The wine inside this cup was still… It was like still water.
And, there was also a pair of chopsticks with their ends sticking upright.
There was a middle-aged woman in the portrait… She had a beautiful and gentle face. Her sleeves seemed to be fluttering-about. There was a look of anxiety and unwillingness to let go in her eyes. She seemed to be quietly watching the white-haired man before her. She was apparently consoling, apparently sighing, apparently sobbing… just like a living person.
"Cheers!" Gu Yun Lan's eyes closed-shut, and he drank another cup.
"I can finally unload the burden on my shoulders after today. Thereafter, I'll stay with you.
"You didn't like me working all the time back then. You used to say that I didn't have time to accompany you. However, I'll accompany you every day from now on...
"You didn't like my drinking. But, you would still sit calmly beside me, and fill my cup for me with eyes full of helplessness… every time I drank... I still wish... I could again look at you pouring a cup of wine for me…
"My Beloved Ling, I miss you so much."
Gu Yun Lan muttered. Then, he gulped down another cup of wine while keeping his eyes closed... That's because closing his eyes made him feel as if his loving wife was by his side, and was pouring wine for him… that she was anxiously looking at him with her tender eyes…
He was afraid of opening his eyes… lest that he would only see that lifeless portrait in front.
He also felt as if he could smell a faint but familiar scent...
A long time passed. Then, the wine-pot fell on the ground with a 'slam' sound. Gu Yun Lan then slowly leant over the table, and fell asleep with his eyes closed…
"My Beloved Ling... is everything well over there?" he murmured...
A gust of wind blew-in through the window, and the portrait fluttered. It seemed as if the woman in the portrait was looking at her man. She seemed anxious and worried… It seemed as if she was wishing that she could come out from the portrait, and put some warm clothes on her drunken man...
However, the night wind was cold and desolate...
The Gu Clan announced to the outside world in the following days — [The current Clan Lord of Gu Clan — Gu Yun Lan has retired behind the scenes. He will now live a simple life in seclusion. Hereafter, he'll never get involved with the clan's affairs!]
[The new Clan Lord is the original Young Clan Lord of the Gu Clan - Gu Du Xing! Henceforth, the Gu Clan will have a transition of power. The new Clan Lord - Gu Du Xing - will have supreme authority in the Gu Clan!]
[It's hereby notified to the entire world.]
[The disturbance caused due to the current turbulence in the Jianghu is dangerous. Therefore, the likeminded people of the Jianghu will be invited to attend the grand ceremony of the new Clan Lord's coronation after this storm subsides].
Meanwhile, there was another news, [The new Clan Lord of the Gu Clan - Gu Du Xing - and the eldest daughter of the previous Clan Lord — Gu Miao Ling have been officially engaged. And, the marriage alliance has been sealed!]
[Similarly… they will formally get married when the storm in the Jianghu subsides!]
It would go something like this if this was said in more fashionable words, [This current Gu Du Xing has made a double harvest of career and love. This may very well be three bumper harvests if this is further coupled with limitless future prospects... And, this wouldn't just be in name, but also in reality!]
Meanwhile, Chu Yang had finally reached the Mo Clan after a 5000 Km trek across mountains and rivers.
Mo Tian Ji hastily rushed out to welcome when he heard that King of Hell Chu had arrived. He firmly held Chu Yang's hand, and shook it again and again, "You came… You've arrived at the best time. I was worried because there was no one to discuss stuff with me here..."
Chu Yang pulled back his hand, and stared at Mo Tian Ji. He then said with vigilance, "I can discuss with you if it's something nice. However, I'll have to excuse myself from getting involved in advance if it's something bad."
Mo Tian Ji was amazed, [How is this guy so astute?]
Chu Yang was undoubtedly astute. However, Mo Tian Ji didn't know that Chu Yang's reaction today hadn't come from his astuteness… It had come from his experience instead!
These two had been close friends in the previous life. So, Chu Yang was very familiar with Mo Tian Ji's habits.
This familiarity even included the movements of Mo Tian Ji's eyebrows… what it meant when his brows jumped to the upper-left corner… what it meant if they were raised to the upper-right corner… It was like this — [I know you so well that I'll know whether you want to shit or fart by the manner in which you stick out your butt!]
Chu Yang had such a profound understanding of Mo Tian Ji's habits. So, how could he be fooled by his superficial and overfriendly enthusiasm?
Mo Tian Ji's understanding of Chu Yang was only superficial. However, Chu Yang's understanding of Mo Tian Ji stemmed from his cumulative study of two lives.
It could even be said that Chu Yang's understanding of Mo Tian Ji had already reached the point of perfection. Chu Yang could definitely be called a great scholar if this was a subject… In fact, he could be considered an unprecedented one!
For example… Some small habits of Mo Tian Ji were as such — Mo Tian Ji would assume a calm and moderate stance to keep people on tenterhooks if he had a card up his sleeve… to the extent that it would even make those who were best at self-restraint vomit blood and drop dead!
And, this kind of enthusiasm that Mo Tian Ji showed just now… this sort of familiarity at first sight… Chu Yang had already sniffed the smell of a plot from it... [This guy definitely wants to exploit me!]
Therefore, Chu Yang had closed the door shut before Mo Tian Ji could even start to speak!
[You may have a thousand ingenious tricks, dear sir. But, I'll stay motionless like a high and mighty mountain!]