Blue Expanse City, Xue clan’s entrance.
When Xue Dingtian landed, he noticed that the place was eerily quiet. There weren’t even guards around, it made his heart nervous and he rushed inside.
He soon arrived outside the main hall. As he looked inside, he saw a familiar figure in the seat of honor, Hell Valley’s seventh elder, You Guiqi.
The seventh elder was leisurely nursing a cup of tea.
“I wasn’t aware the seventh elder graced us with his presence. Please forgive me for not welcoming you!”
The seventh elder’s presence here intimidated Xue Dingtian but he forced himself to show proper respect as if all was normal in the world.
You Guiqi sipped his tea then smashed it on the table.
And Xue Dingtian’s heart sank with it.
Giving him a cursory glance, You Guiqi broke out in an insidious grin, “Xue Dingtian, you’ve been under Hell Valley’s care for a century now. We’ve always been kind to you.”
“Without a doubt! Thanks to Hell Valley and Seventh Elder assisting us, Xue clan reached today’s glory!” Xue Dingtian forced his anxiety down, hiding it behind a smile.
You Guiqi nodded and stood up. He strolled before Xue Dingtian and patted his shoulder with a warm smile.
“It’s great that you think so, then…”
As he spoke, You Guiqi’s face twisted and clawed at Xue Dingtian’s shoulder as he thundered, “Why did you collude with outsiders and steal Hell Valley’s Diamond Sand?”
Xue Dingtian was shaking in fear and fell on his knees to kowtow, “Seventh Elder! This is a misunderstanding! The Xue clan has been nothing but loyal to Hell Valley. We would never do such a thing!”
“Ha-ha-ha, there was a time I thought the same, that you wouldn’t be taking advantage of our kindness then move behind our backs. But that time has long passed!”
Grunting, You Guiqi slapped the table to splinters and barked, “Where is your grandchild, Xue Ningxiang?”
Xue Dingtian stammered for a response, but words left him.
“Humph, I will tell you. She and two runts stole my Diamond Sand and they now lie dead in Allbeast Mountain Range,” You Guiqi’s brow shook as he recalled the dreadful howl he heard at that time. If he had stayed a moment longer, he’d be a goner.
Despite not finishing the trio off, he assumed the monster would’ve finished the job with how wounded they were.
He thought ruefully about this event. Xue Ningxiang was of use to him, but now she was gone. He came back empty-handed too, no Diamond Sand and neither a cauldron.
Sighing, You Guiqi placed his rage on the Xue clan.
“Men, bring them in!” You Guiqi clapped and three Bone Tempering experts pulled three people in chains.
Xue Dingtian was filled with sorrow and tears fell as he looked at them.
They were Xue Wanlong and his sons, Xue Gang and Xue Lin. Heavy hooks dug deep into their shoulders, locking their clavicles in place and sealing their cultivation. From the bruises and wounds all over their bodies, it was clear how close they were to breathing their last.
Xue Dingtian bellowed and stared down the smirking You Guiqi with bloodshot eyes, “Xue clan sacrificed its all this past century for Hell Valley in defending Blue Expanse City. Is this how Hell Valley repays its vassal clan’s hard work?”
“He-he-he, your second rate clan is nothing but garbage. Hell Valley can have as many as it wants. To me, you’re no vassals, but somewhat useful watchdogs.”
“We throw you a bone, a reward, and you should be skipping around in joy. When a dog starts raising questions to his master about getting credit for its hard work, it must be put down!” You Guiqi cackled.
Unable to bear You Guiqi’s mockery any further, Xue Dingtian clenched his fist and unleashed his fury.
Exerting his pressure as a Profound Heaven expert, he pushed back the three Bone Tempering experts around him while You Guiqi just watched on with naked killing intent.
“It seems that the watchdog wants to take a bite out of its master, he-he-he… Then it’s time to replace it!”
In his entire life, this was the first time Xue Dingtian uttered the seventh elder’s taboo name out of sheer rage, “Let me ask you. Isn’t Ning’er’s marriage just a cover to use her as a cauldron and practice martial arts?”
You Guiqi looked at him in surprise before laughing, “Ha-ha-ha, I used to look down on you every time, but look at how smart you are. We’ve been at it for so long yet you’re the only vassal clan that figured it out. So that’s why you defected, it’s all for a silly girl!”
Xue Dingtian’s fury exploded and rushed with his entire Yuan Qi laid bare, “I’ll kill you!”
You Guiqi sneered, sidestepping Xue Dingtian’s palm and delivering an attack of his own.
The blow on his chest upset his blood flow and Xue Dingtian spat blood as he tumbled backward.
You Guiqi made use of Xue Dingtian’s prone condition and delivered two more palm attacks.
Xue Dingtian felt his chest burning and he spurted blood like a fountain.
“Ha-ha-ha, Xue Dingtian, you think you have what it takes to kill me? You’re nothing but a greenhorn Profound Heaven Stage cultivator that just broke through, while I am in the 3rd layer. You are at the bottom and I am at the peak. You will never overcome this chasm!”
You Guiqi then dealt another palm attack with bloodthirsty eyes, “Old coot, die! But go in peace knowing that your son and grandsons will follow you!”
Powerless to do anything, Xue Dingtian closed his eyes awaiting the final strike. Such an ending, he never wished for his Xue clan. But at the very least, his dear granddaughter escaped this calamity.
Xue Dingtian was relieved that You Guiqi assumed her to be dead and wouldn’t search for her…
A high pitched cry was heard and You Guiqi stopped his attack midway. Looking ahead, he saw Xue Ningxiang at the gate, holding a dagger to her neck.
“You’re alive?” You Guiqi was in shock. His sole reason for coming to this clan was to have her as a cauldron.
Xue Ningxiang took in the sight of her suffering family, her grandfather beaten to a pulp, and her eyes teared. She only had hatred towards You Guiqi for his cruelty.
Dagger inching at her throat, Xue Ningxiang threatened, “If you still want me as a cauldron, release them! Or I will take my life right here and now!”
You Guiqi mocked, “He-he-he, Ning’er, get off your high horse. We do need you to practice martial arts, but you aren’t irreplaceable. You have nothing to bargain with.”
Xue Ningxiang was startled and worry gnawed her heart, but she recalled Zhuo Fan’s analysis and showed her white neck as she mocked, “Seventh Elder, you can’t lie to me. I know Hell Valley lacks cauldrons, I know of my value. Since you do not care, then I will die along with my family.”
Xue Ningxiang then traced her dagger along her neck and blood trickled.
Xue Dingtian and You Guiqi cried at once. Xue Ningxiang looked down on You Guiqi, “Seventh Elder, it seems to me that you’re not yet ready to let me go!”
You Guiqi’s ruthless eyes flashed, “Is that runt still alive?”
Xue Ningxiang avoided his gaze. She knew who he was talking about, “He died in Allbeast Mountain Range and you can go look for his body if you want to. But I’m afraid spiritual beasts would’ve devoured it by now.”
“Humph, don’t try to lie to me!” You Guiqi’s sneered, “I have many enemies, but that runt was the first to bring me to such a state—coming back empty-handed and heavily wounded.”
Chuckling, You Guiqi continued, “Girlie, don’t take this the wrong way, but you do not have what it takes to see through me. That runt must’ve told you.”
Xue Ningxiang only stared back, to which You Guiqi shook his head, “In any case, I will have to take a step back. Since you put me on the spot, I will not take your family’s lives.”
“Really?” Xue Ningxiang was about to go help her grandfather in joy, but You Guiqi shook his hand and a hook bit into Xue Dingtian!
A wail of agony resounded and Xue Dingtian blacked out. His chest was soaked in blood and his clavicle was pierced, just like his son’s.
“You Guiqi, you…”
“I said I won’t kill them, but your grandfather is a Profound Heaven expert. I have to make sure he falls in line. I will, of course, let them go once we’re at Hell Valley.”
“You better honor your word!” Xue Ningxiang stared at him.
Nodding, You Guiqi snickered, “How could I lie when you’re so valuable!”
“Men, take Miss Ning’er to rest, we will return to Hell Valley on the morrow!”
An elegant youth arrived next to Xue Ningxiang along with two servants. Zhuo Fan would’ve recognized him in an instant. He was You Ming, who infiltrated Blackwind Mountain as Yang Ming and later escaped Windgaze City.
Standing next to Xue Ningxiang, You Ming snickered, “So you are the cauldron for my seniors’ use? I have to say, you sure are pretty.”
Xue Ningxiang snorted and turned to look at her family as she left accompanied by the servants.
You Ming shrugged then went to You Guiqi, “Master, what would you like us to do in regards to Luo clan? We have suffered greatly at the hands of their steward, Zhuo Fan!”
Xue Ningxiang’s pace faltered at the name.
“Did you tell anyone else that he killed two of our elders?”
“No!” You Ming was cautious, “Even if I do, no one would believe me.”
“Ha-ha-ha, I didn’t believe it either. But a few months back, I met a freak of nature that countered everything I threw at him. With how large the world is, there are bound to be some monsters out there.”
“Master, then…” You Ming spoke softly.
Shaking his head, You Guiqi’s eyes flashed with killing intent, “We will deal with this runt first, then think of a way to end that Zhuo Fan. Or these two whelps will one day be Hell Valley’s nightmare.”
Xue Ningxiang was worried sick at his words and picked up the pace.
She was worried since You Guiqi had set his eyes on Zhuo Fan because of her. Yet none of them knew that the two whelps were one and the same…
The night seemed endless to Xue Ningxiang as her heart was unable to find peace.
At dawn, the first rays of sunlight washed over the unusually quiet Xue clan’s small courtyard. A dozen servants were already tending to Xue Ningxiang’s preparations.
Meanwhile, a shockwave passed through the first area of Allbeast Mountain Range and exposed a pitch-black cave.
A naked man staggered outside in the gentle sunlight, giving his body a golden shine.
His every step left deep prints in the earth, and even the rock crumbled to dust.
He sheltered his eyes from the sunlight and looked around. He took another step and rested his hand on the cave wall for support.
But his small action destroyed the stone wall completely and he fell to the ground.
The man stood up among the rubble, however, the rock he was on also turned to dust.
Taking a moment to adapt, his face now showed resolve. At a closer look, it was clear this man was Zhuo Fan.
Just that his every line and features were as if sculpted, exuding sharp power. When he opened his eyes, streaks of lightning sparked.
Zhuo Fan got a feel of his body and revealed a manic grin. Everywhere he touched let out a metallic sound.
He was immensely pleased with his body, which was now completely refined with the Diamond Sand and was as tough as a 5th-grade spiritual weapon.
He then touched his forehead and a blue flame drifted out.
This was the flame that the mysterious expert gifted. He couldn’t control it until now. But through the strange array’s refining, it fused with his soul and became his Soul Flame. He could now use it any way he wished.
Thinking of this made him burst out in laughter.
The refining process was hellish, excruciating, and deadly, but the result was astounding. He was now reborn with an unbreakable Diamond Body. Even a Profound Heaven expert wouldn’t be able to make a dent in his body.
With but a thought, a pair of wings with lightning flickering over their surface, burst from his back and lifted him ten meters in the air.
They were the wings of Thunder Skylark, a creature who’s speed was incredible even against a Profound Heaven expert. This was why he chose to refine them into his body.
With them, he became a freak, a true monster!
Putting on new clothes, he flashed towards the Blue Expanse City like lightning…