“Who are you?”
Zhuo Fan asked the shadow in a cold tone.
After another cackle, the shadow’s reply was, “Hi-hi-hi, where are my manners. I am Demon Scheming Sects’ Sect Leader, Xie Wuyue!”
“One of the empire’s three guardian sects, Demon Scheming Sect?”
He had heard of them as protectors of Tianyu from invasions, yet they wouldn’t meddle in Tianyu’s internal affairs.
Not even when Gu Santong brought the imperial family to the brink of annihilation three hundred years ago did they interfere. But now, the Demon Scheming Sect’s Sect Leader showed himself here to see him of all people?
This had him second-guessing.
“What do you need me for?”
“Hi-hi-hi, didn’t I tell you? It’s you I want. All that’s left to settle is your price.” The shadow cackled.
Frowning, Zhuo Fan understood. The man wanted him on his side. But why? The Sect Leaders disdain worldly affairs, so how did he know about him while also willing to travel leagues to get him.
The shadow easily picked up on his conundrum, “You don’t have to be so suspicious. I never knew about you and only came this time to get Tianyu’s number one genius, Huangpu Qingtian. But you, kid, are far better. The genius of the millennium that is rarely seen even in my sect. Who knew there’d be an even more outstanding genius out there? Your presence made me give up on him and choose you instead. Hi-hi-hi, you should be honored. By putting your life on the line and defeating a far greater opponent, you are blessed with the fortune of catching my attention.”
[Humph, how smug!]
Zhuo Fan snorted.
Was there a sect in the mortal domain capable of catching the eye of this grand Demonic Emperor? He didn’t feel a hint of honor even when some Sect Leader came to see him.
It was all in the Sect Leader’s head, thinking he was so great, superfluous!
Seeing Zhuo Fan’s contempt on his lips, the shadow laughed, “Ha-ha-ha, good, great even. I like brash guys like you the most, like a true king. Then let’s talk business. In my capacity as Demon Scheming Sect’s Sect Leader, I invite you to join my sect. State your terms, but let’s get one thing straight. If there’s anything out there I can’t have, I’d rather see it destroyed.”
“We’re both demonic cultivators, looking out only for ourselves. I understand it perfectly, but… there’s something I have to finish here before I can leave.”
“The Luo clan? Who knew a demonic cultivator could be so loyal? It won’t matter. I’ll give you three years to settle your affairs and then I will take you with me. It should be enough for you to get everything in order. If there’s anything you need, I will help you as much as I can.”
Xie Wuyue’s proposal was quite tempting. It was the same as Luo clan getting the Demon Scheming Sect behind it. Not even the imperial family would dare touch them after that.
The situation right now was highly volatile and this sudden arrival of a powerful backer was heaven sent.
But the expert negotiator Zhuo Fan didn’t let it show and sighed, “I’ll need time to consider.”
Xie Wuyue faltered a second.
[Consider my ass! For my Demon Scheming Sect to have your back is the greatest fortune of your life! You should be damn grateful.]
[What’s with that long face? As if you’re the one losing.]
Noticing him playing the loser, Xie Wuyue’s mouth twitched. If he were back in the sect, any elder that would’ve spoken to him like that would receive a beating to make them forget where they were.
Hadn’t he dumped those four pricks in Thunder Swarm Mountain just the same?
But when facing Zhuo Fan’s cunning nature, he both loved and hated it. He had looked down on Zhuo Fan as if he didn’t have a scheming bone in his back, but at this point, he had accepted him without question.
“Ha-ha-ha, fine. I like your greed. The stronger you are, the greedier you can be! What I said just now was a welcoming gift to the sect, not a term. Now, speak what you want.”
Zhuo Fan smiled, “Don’t you know already?”
“Save that girl?”
Xie Wuyue laughed, “Zhuo Fan, I know you’re vile and insidious from how sinisterly you tormented Huangpu Qingtian and the other three. Who knew you still had a soft spot? But I hope you won’t enter the sect with such a weakness. We, demonic cultivators, are dead the instant we let emotions take hold. I don’t want to destroy you, nor see the sect fall. Have I made myself clear?”
Xie Wuyue treated him with ridicule at first, but as they talked, he grew colder, finishing with a warning. Zhuo Fan knew it to be a rule of the sect, to not get attached. He nodded and said, “I know it far better than you do. This will be the first and last time.”
With a pop, a bright pill shot for Zhuo Fan. Zhuo Fan caught it and looked at it in shock, “9th grade pill, Soul Returning Pill!”
“Indeed. You have good eyes. I wasn’t wrong about you.”
Xie Wuyue continued, “The Soul Returning Pill can heal wounds of the soul, strengthen the essence and protect the mind. To an Ethereal Stage cultivator, it is like a second life, very sought after. Even I have only one pill of this kind. But I will give it to you in good faith. I hope that you will live up to my expectations and return this investment.”
The shadow was gone with these last words, leaving Zhuo Fan staring at the shiny pill as hope burned in his eyes.
Taking a deep breath, Zhuo Fan clenched the pill and ran for Drifting Flowers Edifices. The disciples there watched in shock as he stormed into Chu Qingcheng’s chamber.
“What, you already found a way to save Ning’er?” Chu Qingcheng said seeing Zhuo Fan gasping.
Zhuo Fan frowned, “Did you know Xie Wuyue would come for me?”
“Who’s that?” Chu Qingcheng’s eyes trembled.
Zhuo Fan’s eyes searched her face for any clues, “Xie Wuyue is the Demon Scheming Sect’s Sect Leader. You don’t know him? Then why were you so sure I’d have a way to save Ning’er? “
“Someone told me without leaving their name. So don’t ask.” Chu Qingcheng smiled, “All that matters is that Ning’er will be saved. Right?”
Sizing her for a while, Zhuo Fan nodded, “You’re right. As long as Ning’er lives, I’d even sell my body, ha-ha-ha…”
Laughing, Zhuo Fan went to Xue Ningxiang on the bed. He took the Anchoring Soul Bead out, then returned her essence before feeding her the Soul Returning Pill.
Ripples passed all over Ning’er’s body and the spiritual energy also gathered within her in waves, reshaping her soul.
Zhuo Fan sighed, gratified Ning’er would be alright soon.
Yet in his moment of joy, he didn’t notice Chu Qingcheng staring at him with deep yearning.
“Qingcheng, send someone for Ning’er’s clan. She’ll soon wake up and would like to see her family.” Zhuo Fan said but never looked away from Xue Ningxiang.
Chu Qingcheng found it difficult to swallow the bitterness as she nodded, “Alright. I’ll send someone now. You are so thoughtful.”
Those words contained deep sarcasm as well, but they shot way over Zhuo Fan’s head, deeply moved by Xue Ningxiang’s recovery as he was.
He only nodded and a wide smile spread to his ears.
Chu Qingcheng sighed.
Fifteen minutes later, the Xue clan came as well as Xie Tianyang looking distressed. Everyone looked at Ning’er with tears flowing.
They had heard of the possibility of saving Ning’er, but no one believed it. How could one come back after losing their essence? When Chu Qingcheng said she had to take her body, they didn’t refuse, thinking all would be for naught.
But here she was, dead for a month now, yet coming back to the living. Everyone was overjoyed.
Ning’er was their darling. Her survival was their greatest joy.
Zhuo Fan was also overcome with emotion for the first time in his two lives and a genuine smile formed on his lips.
Xue Dingtian turned to him and said after hesitating, “Steward Zhuo, may I have a word with you?”
Zhuo Fan didn’t understand. But he followed after Ning’er’s grandfather.
The two only got ten meters from the room, when Xue Dingtian kneeled before Zhuo Fan, his tears flowing in rivers, “Steward Zhuo, please let go…”
Zhuo Fan was stunned and baffled seeing the old man do this.
[What does he mean…]