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A red light streaked in the dead of night, passing through doors and entering Zhuo Fan’s body.
Letting out a breath, Zhuo Fan opened his eyes as he rejoiced. Fortunately, the Blood Infant was quick to escape or it would’ve been ruined by the bald elder.
He never imagined he’d bump into such a strong opponent in the Cai clan. Even if he couldn’t recognize the elder’s cultivation, he was certain the elder was no less powerful than Godeye Long Jiu.
And once Blood Infant was destroyed, because of Zhuo Fan’s connection with it, it would spell doom for him too. But the opposite was also true. Even if his heart exploded, he wouldn’t die as long as the Blood Infant lived; because the moment he bound with the Blood Infant, it became his heart.
“I need to work harder on improving my strength.”
His vast experience told him danger was looming. For now, it looked like Hell Valley and Veiled Dragon Pavilion were silent, but the Blackwind Mountain might be the fuse to a disaster with the Luo clan smack in the middle.
His fate rested on strengthening the Blood Infant to Bone Tempering Stage. This was the only way to ensure some semblance of control when he met an expert like Long Jiu.
Zhuo Fan closed his eyes and refined the Yuan Qi and blood essence the Blood Infant collected.
In the next moment, red flashes came from his chest as red energy coursed through his veins to his heart. As the energy gathered the whole in his chest began to heal. His weak heartbeat soon started pounding with greater force.
In but an hour, his chest healed, with not even a scar left behind. If one didn’t witness his heart exploding, they wouldn’t believe the events of this morning occurred.
He continued refining Blood Infant’s gathered Yuan Qi and turning into black energy. One part flowed into his Dantian and another back to the Blood Infant.
No less than 50 Qi Condensation experts’ Yuan Qi were refined and propelled Zhuo Fan through the 3rd layer of Qi Condensation and to the brink of entering the 4th layer.
With a faint boom, Zhuo Fan and Blood Infant broke through to the 4th layer.
Zhuo Fan was happy. It was so easy to increase one’s strength. It was only ten days ago that he entered the 2nd layer and here he was now in the 4th.
But when he wanted to work towards the 5th layer, he found Blood Infant’s Yuan Qi reserves had been spent.
He wanted to keep going, but he was satisfied he at least advanced two layers in one go.
He looked out the window at the clearing sky and walked out to stretch his legs. Now that Blackwind Mountain was coming, he had to find a safe haven for the Luo clan.
Zhuo Fan opened the door to his room but before he could take a step, a thump resounded and something fell at his feet. He looked to see a drowsy Luo Yunchang getting back up in embarrassment.
“What are you doing?” Zhuo Fan frowned.
He poured all his focus on controlling the Blood Infant last night and then cultivating, so he didn’t pay attention to what happened outside his room to the point he didn’t detect her.
[Damn it! How could I become so careless? If it were an enemy instead, I would’ve been dead.]
Seeing his angry look, Luo Yunchang was apologetic as she mumbled, “I was worried about your wounds worsening and waited outside. Now that you’re alright, I’ll be going. “
“Wait, you stood guard all night?” Zhuo Fan was shocked.
Luo Yunchang blushed and turned to leave with a hurried pace than before.
Captain Pang took this moment to appear and saw Zhuo safe and sound and shouted in joy, “Brother Zhuo, you’ve recovered. That wound of yours scared all of us to death. Young miss always stayed at your door, worried for your life. Eh, where is she?”
Zhuo Fan rubbed his nose and said calmly, yet warmth grew in his heart.
[Damn this heart demon!]
Zhuo Fan cursed. How could the glorious Demonic Emperor feel anything for a mere woman? [This must be the work of the kid’s heart demon.]
“Right, old Pang, you came right on time. Come with me to the Veiled Dragon Pavilion.”
“But what about young miss and…”
“Relax, after yesterday’s event, no one would dare touch them, if not for fear of offending Veiled Dragon Pavilion…” Zhuo Fan snickered.
Captain Pang had to take a moment to recover and reacted by giving thumbs up as his eyes glittered with worship. He didn’t get Zhuo Fan’s plan but he was clear Zhuo Fan made others misunderstand Veiled Dragon Pavilion was backing Luo clan.
“Steward Zhuo, I am now thoroughly convinced. If the Luo clan doesn’t have you as a steward, we would have been doomed. It was a waste of your talents to have left you sweeping the courtyard back in the day.”
Laughing, Zhuo Fan patted Captain Pang’s shoulder and shook his head.
[That person wasn’t me…]
Fifteen minutes later found the two at the gates of Veiled Dragon Pavilion, before the same two guards. But this time, they showed proper respect.
“Please enter, dear guests.”
“What, you won’t go and report first?” Zhuo Fan mocked.
After giving a silly laugh, a guard knew Zhuo Fan was still bothered by what happened before and apologized, “It was us who were ignorant before and didn’t recognize your greatness. You made a deal of a million spirit stones. We do not have the right to block such an honorable guest.”
“Humph, snobs!” Zhuo Fan sneered then took Captain Pang inside, leaving the guards still bent and flattering him. They were clearly miserable inside but still plastered a fake smile on their faces.
The two ran into Long Kui. This time, she lacked the respect she showed before and snorted in anger as she walked away.
“Uhm, how did we offended her?” Captain Pang was baffled.
Zhuo Fan smiled.
“Young miss Long Kui, is this how Veiled Dragon Pavilion treats its guests?”
“Humph, how are you guests?” Raising an eyebrow, she glared at him, “You don’t deserve to be guests when you used us!”
Rubbing his chin, Zhuo Fan smiled and muttered, “Still just a girl, and so naive.”
Zhuo Fan’s voice was faint but not enough to prevent the disdain in his voice from reaching Long Kui. She was treated as the jewel of the clan, and never received such contempt, especially from people around her age.
“Zhuo Fan, who are you calling naive?”
“You, of course!” Zhuo Fan smiled, “Be it business or the politics between the seven houses, everything must be taken into consideration when looking to make a profit. Yet you are prone to anger just from being used in someone else’s plan. Just how did you survive this long? Compared to you, Long Jie is much more mature. He realized I used him and just walked away instead. The way I see it, admitting a loss is also a kind of power. At least the next time I plan on using him, it won’t be as easy.”
This was the first time Long Kui heard such an argument and was stunned.
She came from the clan’s estate and was put in Long Jiu’s care. The elders in the estate spoke highly of her talent but not enough to entrust her with heavy responsibility. When she arrived here, Long Jiu spoke the same. Her talent wasn’t any less than Long Jie but Long Jiu didn’t trust her in being responsible.
She didn’t understand, but now it seemed she was clear on something…
“Love, hate, closeness, and vengeance won’t help you, only benefits.” Zhuo Fan saw her bewildered eyes and chuckled, “Let’s set aside our personal grievances and talk about business. It is also where your talent lies.”
Long Kui thought for a bit and nodded.
But just then a light cough came, along with an aged voice, “Mister Zhuo Fan, let’s talk.”
The three of them looked to see Long Jiu accompanied by Long Jie walking towards them. But Long Jie couldn’t mask a glint of shock as he gazed upon Zhuo Fan.
Yesterday, he saw Zhuo Fan’s heart exploding, but now, he was walking like it never happened. His breath was even and spoke calmly.
[Did he recover in one night? How?]
“Grandpa Jiu, won’t you give this young one a chance?” Not paying any heed to Long Jie’s shock, Zhuo Fan spoke.
Shaking his head, Long Jiu laughed, “Ha-ha-ha, just from talking with you, I ended up being used in the end. To think you still dare to come here. If I knew your true colors before, I would’ve taken you as a thousand-year-old monster taking shelter in the Luo clan.”
[Damn! I almost got found out!]
Zhuo Fan forced a laugh as he dismissed him, “You’re too kind, grandpa Jiu. How can I compare to you?”
“Cut the crap!” Long Jiu switched tones in an instant and said harshly, “Why are you here?”
“I am looking for a safe house for the Luo clan to live in. Does grandpa Jiu know of a good place?”
Stroking his beard, Long Jiu replied, “Why should I help you?”
“Simple, Veiled Dragon Pavilion owes us! Also…” Zhuo Fan laughed eerily, “It will help you watch over us more easily.”
Long Jiu’s eyes squinted as his heart trembled in shock.
[This punk can see through anyone. Ever since killing You Quan yesterday, Veiled Dragon Pavilion has been on the defensive. With how tense our relation with Hell Valley is now, a battle might break out at any time.]
And Luo clan was a variable because of their connection with Veiled Dragon Pavilion, no one dared to mess with it, but it also allowed the Luo clan to do whatever it wanted. One wrong move and it could trigger a war between the houses.
This was why Long Jiu placed surveillance over the Luo clan. Yet, Zhuo Fan went and exposed it. This left Long Jiu feeling apprehensive.
[What is this punk scheming?]
He never imagined a veteran practitioner a century-old would one day be toyed with by a punk. And he didn’t understand the whole picture either, leaving him with an unpleasant feeling…