"Step aside! Is my father sleeping yet? I want to see him!!"
"Young master, the lord has instructed that no one is to disturb him. The lord will…"
"Scram!! I want to see father! I don't have the time to listen to your nonsense!"
"Young master, young master!!"
The northern courtyards of Qin Manor were particularly noisy today. Clamors and noise could be heard from the scrambling of the people there before the loud slamming of a door made itself known.
On the other side of the door was a seated Qin Long with a cup of tea in hand. Troubled by the unexpected commotion, he sent a cross stare at the newcomer, "Little Feng, it's already late, whatever for are you making such a racket!"
So angry was Qin Shoufeng that he didn't even care about the rebuking remarks of his father. "Father!! Why did you cancel the betrothment with the Tang?! Why did you agree!? Why!!"
Qin Long's eye traveled over to an exasperated-looking Qin Shouhao behind Qin Shoufeng. He looked back to Qin Shoufeng with a stern look. "They requested that the betrothment be rescinded, why would I not agree? It was but an oral agreement, let it be canceled if they wish. Don't tell me you're lovestruck with the girl?"
Qin Shoufeng was dissatisfied by such an answer, "But you said to be prepared to send a gift to the Tang a few days ago! How come you changed your mind now? And…why would that damned Bai Yunfei come to cancel it? Why would he steal my fiance, and how can he dare act towards us like that? Why?!"
A flash of steel entered Qin Long's eyes. "The matter is finished, so I will not have it with your yapping! It doesn't matter if it's that Tang Xinyun or that Bai Yunfei, don't you dare think about starting anything!"
"Don't I dare start anything?" The muscles on Qin Shoufeng's face twitched angrily. "They made me suffer so much, so how can you say I shouldn't 'start' anything?! Where's the logic in that?!"
Qin Long had had enough at his son's stubbornness. "Logic? One is from the Crafting School, the other is from the Tang!! Which is it that you'll start trouble with?! Continue with this and you'll only make it worst, cease it with your degrading of our family name!!"
"Degrading our family name? Me?! Haha! I'm the one degrading our name?!" Qin Shoufeng roared with disbelief, "I had my betrothment canceled and I can't even make a sound for it? The Qin has long since been degraded if that can happen!"
"You will stay quiet!!" Qin Long roared. There was a ringing sound as he slapped the face of his son and sent him flying backward.
Qin Shouhao was in shock. Moving to grab hold of his brother, he gave his father a disbelieving look. "Father, what are you doing?! Little Feng might've been too emotional, but that's no reason to hit him!"
"Haha, let him hit me, just let him!! I didn't say anything wrong! I understand it now!" Qin Shoufeng nursed the left side of his face with a maniacal laugh. "I finally understand now! The family I thought was a proud one was nothing but a lie! Soul King? A coward is more like it! A coward!!"
"You—get out of here!!"
The anger had reached a boiling point. Soulforce burst out from Qin Long with so devastating force that the table he had been next to was reduced to nothing but powder! The pressure from his person brought everyone into a terrified stupor, and Qin Shoufeng immediately went limp in his brother's arms.
"Take him away! He is forbidden from taking even a step out from Qin Manor for a month!!"
It was a still shell-shocked Qin Shouhao that took Qin Shoufeng away. Unwilling to stick around, everyone else scattered apart, leaving Qin Long by himself in the now quiet courtyard.
He fell upon his own chair with a dark expression, stewing in his own thoughts about something.
"Haha, how young and vibrant young master Shoufeng is. He's an honest person, that one…"
The voice of a second person spoke out from the room Qin Long was in. A second later, a person stepped out from the dark corners of the room.
There had been someone else in the room with Qin Long the entire time!
Qin Long didn't respond to those words at first. "What are you doing here in Swallow City, Mo Ni? I've said it before, it's best that we don't see each other so often. Trouble will be had if people find out about our meetings."
"I heard there's plenty of treasures in Swallow City, so I came to take a look." The person responded. Now that he was completely out from the shadows, his face could be seen.
If Bai Yunfei was here, he'd be shocked for sure! This person was…Mo Ni!
Mo Ni was here in Swallow City! And here to see the Qin!
"You're here for the auction?" Qin Long had a flash of annoyance go across his eyes, as if angry by such a whimsical excuse.
"I'm warning you, don't make any trouble here in Swallow City. If you try to involve my family in anything, I'll see that retribution is made!"
Mo Ni smiled. "A funny joke, lord Qin. What trouble would I bring here?"
"Hmph! Don't think I can't surmise what's going on. You're here for Bai Yunfei and Tang Xinyun, correct?" Qin Long snorted.
"I received information not too long ago that Tang Xinyun was kidnapped and a battle was had. The kidnappers were a group of wandering soul cultivators, and Bai Yunfei was the one who fought them off!"
He glared at Mo Ni with eyes as sharp as daggers. "I also heard that the Soul Refining School are behind it! The last time you came, you wanted us to go through with the betrothment. I recall you saying you wanted to see the Tang and Qin closer together, but that was just your ploy to draw Tang Qianlei away, wasn't it? With their Late-stage Soul King gone, you'd have a good opportunity to kidnap Tang Xinyun? What is your ultimate goal for Bai Yunfei? What are you planning at?"
Mo Ni was unnerved by the stare. "I only wish to get rid of a danger before it grows too large, that's all. I just didn't expect Bai Yunfei to be this challenging to take care of. Several attempts have been made, but none decisive yet. It's best for him to die sooner rather than later, or he'll bring trouble on us all."
"I care little if you kill him but do not bring my family in your personal spat. It has nothing to do with us. We have no desire to anger the Crafting School!"
"You say it has nothing to do with the Qin, but he is already an enemy of your family, is he not? You have already allied with my school, so conflict with the Crafting School and even the Tang is inevitable." Mo Ni smiled. "I know what you're worrying about, lord Qin, but rest assured. As long as elder Qin becomes a Soul Emperor, you'll have more than enough power to resist all enemies. There's no need to hide behind someone else afterward. After the 'Great Purge', your Qin will become the strongest family in the world. Your family will help herald in a new golden age."
Qin Long had still an impassive look on his face. "Everything you say now is something for the far future. I only know that my family hasn't the strength to fight off the Crafting School. We will have nothing to do with your dealings with Bai Yunfei. Give up on the notion.
"And," He glared at Mo Ni, "while it's true we have allied with the Soul Refining School, this isn't a master-slave relationship. We have no reason to follow your orders. If you don't assist us as stipulated, then this 'alliance' is over."