There was a flash of green light speeding to the west. A bit of orange light was imbued in the green light. Within the green light, two people could be seen standing on top of a sword enjoying the scenery and talking to one another.
It was Bai Yunfei and Tang Xinyun.
The orange light was from the +12 effect of the Cataclysmic Seal, but since Bai Yunfei was worried that the essence fireseed in the brick would be affected somehow, he had toned down the effects enough so that most of the wind would be blocked.
Bai Yunfei directed Tang Xinyun toward the Forest Pass Province since they started. The cities and villages below came and went in a linear fashion. They were traveling in one direction, getting lost wouldn’t be that easy.
At first, the two of them felt rather awkward since they were ‘alone together,’ but with time, the two of them started to lighten up.
Soon enough, they started to enjoy the scenery with one another and had pleasant conversations to pass the time. Every so often, they would drop down to ask for directions or lodging for the night. When there were days that they couldn’t find any lodging, they’d sleep in the mountains or continue flying through the air.
For the sake of reaching Mo City for the Reunion Festival, Bai Yunfei was flying as fast as he could. Whenever the situation allowed for it, he would activate the speed boosting effect of the Tempest Sword to fly even faster for a minute.
He came up with a method to make the process even more efficient. Since he had the Violet Soul Ring and its stockpiling ability, he’d give Tang Xinyun it. She’d fill it up with soulforce for him to withdraw.
This way, the two of them were able to prolong the amount of time they spent in the air.
The secret ring no longer needed to be hidden to Tang Xinyun.
The results from flying outclassed the results from walking by a very large margin. In just a short six days, the two of them were able to reach the Great Plains Province. From there, only another thirteen days were needed for them to cross into the Northern Cliff Province and enter the the Forest Pass Province right next to it.
It was only after they reached the Forest Pass Province when Bai Yunfei let out a sigh of relief. One week was left until their deadline, so Bai Yunfei sped up the pace and hoped that nothing bad would happen.
Today, Bai Yunfei and Tang Xinyun were taking a rest in a small town in the Forest Pass Province. After this break, they’d continue on their journey.
“I’ve been meaning to ask you, Xinyun. Is your family in the interior of Mo City? I hear it’s the capital city of the province.” Bai Yunfei asked her.
Slightly taken aback from the question, Tang Xinyun took a minute to compose herself before answering, “Yes, my family lives at the very center.”
Since Bai Yunfei had never talked with Tang Xinyun about her family, he didn’t know much about her familial background.
Though he did know a few things, like that the Tang was a large clan—even larger than Mo Xiaoxuan’s family—but other than that, he knew nothing else.
Tang Xinyun wasn’t very willing to talk about it, and Bai Yunfei wasn’t willing to press her about it. However, since they were about to visit her family, Bai Yunfei found it prudent to at least clear some things up first.
“Your clan is a big one, isn’t it?” Bai Yunfei asked.
Then a strange thought occurred to him, “Hold on… Mo City? The Tang clan in Mo City…? It seems a little familiar, strange. Maybe I heard about them somewhere…?”
When he said that he might’ve heard about them somewhere, he clearly wasn’t talking about Tang Xinyun. He was instead talking about hearing about them from somewhere else.
The situation took a turn.
Tang Xinyun bit her lower lip as if she was hesitating.
In time, she looked as if she managed to draw up enough motivation to face Bai Yunfei. “The Tang clan in Mo City are one of the Five Clans…”
All of a sudden, the Tempest Sword suddenly swung off course by a slight margin.
Managing to stabilize the sword, Bai Yunfei swung his head back to look at Tang Xinyun, “One of the Five Clans!? You’re from that family in Mo City?”
It was only after Tang Xinyun’s explanation that Bai Yunfei remembered what Song Lin once told him about the soul cultivator world. The continent had the Ten Schools and also the Five Clans. Of the Five Clans, the Tang clan from Mo City was one of them!
“Yes,” Tang Xinyun whispered, “my family is that Tang clan.”
Bai Yunfei didn’t know what to say. He knew that her family was large, but never did he expect them to be this large!
One of the Five Clans!
A myriad of clans, families, and households existed on the continent; to have the title of being one of the Five Clans, just what kind of accomplishments would that need!?
“Yunfei, the ‘cage’ I told you about is the very same Tang clan. Are you… going to treat me differently now that you know that?”
She sounded slightly distressed.
Turning his head, Bai Yunfei noticed that Tang Xinyun was looking at the ground.
“What does my opinion of you have to do with your family? Even if you’re just some sort of girl born in some ordinary village, you are still you, Xinyun.”
His answer caught Tang Xinyun off guard.
“Eh?” She responded blankly.
Her head tilted to stare hard at Bai Yunfei, and her eyes were shining brighter than before. Her lips were curling, as if she was touched by what Bai Yunfei said.
Bai Yunfei found it rather embarrassing to be looked at like that. Scratching his head, he asked, “Did… did I say something wrong?”
“No… you didn’t,” Tang Xinyun shook her head with a smile, “thank you, Yunfei.”
“Eh? What are you thanking me for?”
Tang Xinyun didn’t answer him.
“Yunfei, do you want to know about my family?” She prompted him with a question.
Noticing the difference in her attitude, Bai Yunfei said nothing so he could listen.
He didn’t have to say anything, as Tang Xinyun continued on without waiting for his response. “As one of the Five Clans, the Tang has plenty of influence and subordinates. Even the overseer of the Forest Pass Province, Marquis Xuanyuan has to be kind to them to a degree. In just Mo City alone, there’s thousands of people in the clan compared to the ten thousand people in the continent. Even if the Tang were a security institution, any outsider would still look to them with a great amount of respect…
“What plenty of people don’t know about the very same powerful family is that the Tang has a dark side… internal disputes happen without end in the clan. It doesn’t matter if it’s for an object or status, the family will treat each other as enemies. Even during meal times, many of them plot against one another.
“I am from the Tang. More specifically, I am the fourth daughter of the head of the Tang…”
Bai Yunfei’s mouth dropped open; Tang Xinyun was the daughter of the head of Tang!!
That was simply beyond his expectations.
Ignoring the shock Bai Yunfei was going through, Tang Xinyun continued to speak, “But, so what? I am not just some tool to be used to expand the influence of the family! We’re already one of the Five Clans, yet that isn’t enough. For the sake of becoming the ‘strongest,’ the clan is willing to sacrifice the lives of the younger! We are used as bargaining chips to be wed off for political and martial power…
“Only three people in that place felt like family to me. Aunty Zhao, my mother, and my third brother who left the Tang a long time ago. They were the only ones. My own father, eldest brother, second brother, my other brothers, my sisters, my uncles, grandfathers, and even my hermit of a great grandfather, none of them treated me like family…”
“My mother was wed into the Tang clan when she was eighteen as the first wife. Father loved her dearly at first, but when some of the other members of the clan started to criticize him for not marrying another after several years, father wed another and she gave birth to three sons.
“I was conceived shortly after they were, but mother and I lost favor with my father since I was born female…
“During the seventeen years after that woman entered the Tang, my mother never experienced a good day again. For my entire upbringing, I never saw mother happy once. Mother was mocked constantly by that woman, but all mother could do was bear it in silence and hope that father would one day go back to what he used to be, but after waiting almost twenty years, isn’t that hope as dried up as a wilted Wisteria tree? How much longer should she wait?
“I want to get stronger. So strong that I can help mother break away from our family, but…”
Her words trailed off.
Bai Yunfei knew that she was thinking about her loss of strength.
Not only did she lose her strength. She lost her ‘hope.’
“Xinyun…” He wanted to say something comforting, but he didn’t know what to say. He was neither strong enough nor influential enough to declare the entirety of the Tang as his enemies for Xinyun’s sake. Just helping Tang Xinyun recover was hard enough, so to promise her anything bigger than that would be nothing but hot air.
While Bai Yunfei was trying to formulate something to say and while Tang Xinyun was in her downcasted mood, a sudden explosion snapped the two back to reality.
Whipping his head down in surprise, Bai Yunfei could see several golden rays of light come flying out of the forest down below!