The bolt of purple lightning was like a dividing line between the two halves of its path. Striking the earth with a mighty crash, the bolt of lightning illuminated the area for one instantaneous moment before it faded away to leave behind a crater and a storm of dust to cover all. Even Bai Yunfei and Qin Long were obscured by the dust.
The drop of lightning had been so sudden! Everyone's breath hitched within their throats when a fifth source of soulforce exploded onto the area to cover the entire battlefield with it!
A ripple splashed across the skies to allow for a person to walk out from behind it. This elderly figure wore an expensive-looking embroidered robe and had a regal aura to his entire person. Violet light flashed from all around him where he stood as if he was the living embodiment of divine lightning.
"That's…the lord-mayor!! The lord-mayor is here! What powerful soulforce…he's even stronger than lord Qin!!"
"The lord-mayor is here! What timing! Someone would've died if he was late by even just a few seconds."
"What's going on between Bai Yunfei and lord Qin? Did the lord-mayor manage to stop that last attack?"
"Wasn't that Qin Pingzhi that just 'ambushed' Bai Yunfei just now? Who was the person that stopped him?"
The battlefield had taken such a strange turn in the last few seconds that hardly anyone could understand what was going on.
They just knew that the one who was interfering in the battle now was the lord-mayor of Swallow City, the lightning-type Late-stage Soul King, Yan Tianxing!
He was at the moment staring at the place where Bai Yunfei and Qin Long had been. His eyes twinkled with a mysterious light as if thinking about something at first, but then a surprised expression came across his face as he watched a figure in red fly out from the dust before a figure in green flew out from the other direction.
It was Bai Yunfei and Qin Long. Neither of the two looked all too worse for wear, especially Qin Long. That meant the spear hadn't managed to pierce his chest.
What surprised Qin Long was Bai Yunfei. When he saw Bai Yunfei retreat, Yan Tianxing could've sworn he saw a flicker of purple lightning come to life within the red flames before disappearing back into it again.
The shield Qin Long used earlier to defend himself was utterly useless now. He tossed away the fragments a little absent-mindedly and retreated back several hundred steps more. He didn't make another attack. Either Bai Yunfei's tactics had frightened him off, or Yan Tianxing's arrival was a large enough obstruction for him to think otherwise.
"Lord Qin, Bai Yunfei…I hope we can cease this needless battle and discuss this peacefully."
Yan Tianxing spoke slowly, but carefully.
"I am the lord-mayor of Swallow City, Yan Tianxing." He added for Bai Yunfei.
The only sign of recognition Bai Yunfei had for his title was just a small flicker of light. "Pleased to meet you, lord Yan."
A streak of orange flew forward from the other side of Bai Yunfei. It was the person that had helped get in the way of Qin Pingzhi earlier.
"Brother Xiao Nan. Thank you for your assistance earlier." Bai Yunfei smiled in pleasant surprise at the person.
The person who helped him was Xiao Nan!
"Oh? Is this your friend?" Yan Tianxing spoke in idle curiosity.
Xiao Nan cupped his hands in salute. "This one is an instructor of Tianhun Academy, Xiao Nan. It is an honor to meet you, lord Yan."
"An instructor from Tianhun Academy…" Yan Tianxing replied as he cupped his hands back. Xiao Nan was much younger than he was, but the man was surprisingly also a Soul King at his young age. And an instructor at Tianhun Academy as well.
"It's a little complicated here, you shouldn't have come out, brother Xiao Nan. It'd be best that I deal with all this…" Bai Yunfei whispered to Xiao Nan.
"We're both instructors of Tianhun Academy, how could I not get involved when you were in trouble? I might not be as strong as you, but even I can help even the odds for you. But the case is indeed complicated as you say…how'd the two sons die in front of you? There's no chance of a calm negotiation now…"
"I can't figure that out," Bai Yunfei huffed, "it was like they both went crazy were in a rush to die. I didn't even do anything before they blew themselves up…I won't be able to smile my way out of this…"
"Lord Yan! This is a private matter between the Qin and Bai Yunfei! Stay out of this! I will not live under the same skies as the killer of my sons! I'll make sure he'll accompany my two sons to the underworld!!"
A few hundred meters away, Qin Long was giving Bai Yunfei a tremendous death stare as he howled to Yan Tianxing.
"Sons?!" Yan Tianxing was taken aback—he had only known about the death of Qin Shoufeng. The lord-mayor only started to head out from the city when he felt Qin Long's aura blazing outside of it and hurried over. It was only a short while for him to reach this place, but the second son of Qin Long had actually died during that time! It was startling news that also made Yan Tianxing feel regretful. Any chance of an 'amicable' talk was no longer possible between Bai Yunfei and Qin Long.
But his duties as lord-mayor of Swallow City and Marquis of the Swallow Province prohibited him from allowing Bai Yunfei to die here in the proximity of Swallow City. Swallow City would be swallowed up by no small amount of trouble should Bai Yunfei die here.
But what was he to do then?! He couldn't exactly say that this was a case of misunderstanding and that they should talk things out over a nice cup of tea! The hate Qin Long had for Bai Yunfei was justifiable and unrelenting. How could he possibly stand to persuaded to 'negotiate' with the killer of his sons?
Yan Tianxing felt the starting of a headache begin in his mind as he tried to think of a solution.
"Lord Yan, there's a few things I would like to clarify about this situation. I was originally leaving Swallow City to avoid any trouble. It was Qin Shoufeng that chased after me and started to fight. I only wanted to injure him, but he decided to self-destruct before I could take actions to prevent it. Then Qin Shouhao came. He wanted to fight me as well after he saw Qin Shoufeng die but knew he wasn't strong enough to beat me and left to Swallow City. He came back shortly afterward and self-destructed just as quickly as his younger brother. I believe the two of them were influenced by someone to go crazy. In short…I didn't do anything to kill anyone. I am confident many of the passersby can bear witness to this. Most of them are still here, in fact, you can ask them. I hope lord Yan will deal out justice in this matter."
Bai Yunfei made sure to summarize the series of events that had just happened to him and to emphasize how strange the circumstances were behind Qin Shouhao and Qin Shoufeng's deaths. He also wanted to make sure he had a way out in the case that people started to think he was the actual murderer.
"Oh? Is that so?" Yan Tianxing remarked. "Could the two brothers be bewitched? If that is the case…"
"What utter nonsense!! I can't even bring myself to laugh at it!!" Qin Long barked, "Bewitchment?! My son was fine just the day before and when he was at the auction, how could he possibly have been bewitched? Illusionary arts wouldn't even be able to influence a person's emotions to self-destruct in the first place! You're using an excuse for your crimes, but these excuses are utterly ridiculous!!"
"That's correct! Little Hao and Feng were with me just an hour ago, and the both of them were just fine! How could the two of them be under the influence of any technique during that time? Hints of bewitchment would be noticeable to see, would they not? And I've never heard of anything that could possibly influence a person to decide to self-destruct! You are spouting nonsense of the highest order!"
Qin Pingzhi piped up in agreement.
The killing intent in Qin Long's eyes kicked up a notch to stare down the audience around them. "You say there were many people here that saw the things you say? Then who is willing to testify?!"
Though separated by several kilometers of distance, the people who had been watching the battle all looked off into a different direction when Qin Long looked over. Those who had been there when the two brothers died were especially quiet.
Bai Yunfei narrowed his eyes. He knew that it'd be hard for anyone to want to testify in this case. The Qin wasn't a family anyone would want to anger for no reason, especially if it meant sticking their necks out for someone they didn't even know.
"I'll testify! What Bai Yunfei said earlier is true! The two brothers were the ones to self-destruct! Bai Yunfei didn't even do anything that'd kill them!"
But after several seconds passed, a loud and hoarse voice spoke out from among the crowd to the mountains on the right of Bai Yunfei!