“Young miss is marrying!”
Outside Xue clan’s gate, an obese granny yelled as Xue Ningxiang was led outside by two servant girls. The entire Blue Expanse City gathered around to witness the event.
You Guiqi and You Ming sported a faint smile.
Everyone was happy towards Hell Valley’s show of gratitude. Some people were even tearing, imagining it was their family’s daughter getting married.
Xue Ningxiang walked before the shocked masses. If before they were amazed by Hell Valley’s power, now they were in awe by her beauty.
Xue Ningxiang was dressed in a common wedding gown but lacked the heavy makeup other brides had. Yet solely from this, her appearance evoked a feeling of genuine beauty, not a fake one from excess preparations. Pure as an orchid, making people afraid of marring!
Only this beauty deserved to be married into the seven houses!
The crowd gathered to see her smile, to wish her blessings.
But their best wishes and kind thoughts only worked to burden Xue Ningxiang’s already heavy heart.
Everyone here envied her second rate clan for their marriage with one of the seven houses, unaware of the hell that awaited her.
Slanting her head towards You Guiqi, Xue Ningxiang asked in a cold tone, “Will seventh elder accompany me?”
“Ha-ha-ha, but of course. It is my duty to protect miss Ning’er and Hell Valley’s disciple’s wedding, to safely deliver you to Hell Valley.”
The crowd was once again in awe of their kindness.
However, Xue Ningxiang only showed a smile of disdain, [What safeguard, it’s clearly for monitoring us.]
[At least once You Guiqi leaves Blue Expanse City, big brother Zhuo can escape.]
Before she could breathe easy, You Guiqi saw through her and said with a cold smile, “Oh right, miss Ning’er, I sealed off Allbeast Mountain Range, even your secret tunnel. Those rats won’t be able to escape from my palm.”
Xue Ningxiang flared as her face blanched. It was her clan’s secret and You Guiqi must have pulled it out from her father and brothers.
Zhuo Fan’s means of escape was now cut off.
“Seventh elder, I want…”
“No need to say it!” You Guiqi cut her off with a cold smile, “Your life was exchanged for your family, nothing more nothing less.”
“Miss Ning’er, after you!” He then shook his sleeve.
A lavish palanquin was before her with fifty Bone Tempering experts around it.
Xue Ningxiang frowned as she lifted her leg only to put it back down. She wanted to save Zhuo Fan but You Guiqi had her family’s lives in his hand. She had nothing to bargain with.
Suddenly, Xue Ningxiang’s Thunder Ring flashed and her heart seized in panic.
“Don’t come!” Xue Ningxiang shouted at the sky, startling the onlookers.
No one except You Guiqi understood the reason behind her reaction. With a sinister flash in his eyes, he patiently waited for his prey.
“Ning’er, I have come to save you!”
In response to Xue Ningxiang’s shout came another. It was Xie Tianyang piercing forward with Star Sword at You Guiqi.
Sword intent made the crowd gasp as they scattered.
You Guiqi just mocked, “Humph, so you want to die. A mere Bone Tempering cultivator would find their death close at hand against me!”
You Guiqi, unafraid of the 4th-grade spiritual weapon, struck back with a palm.
Against the wind pressure of the palm, Xie Tianyang’s sword tip trembled and the sword intent scattered.
He was shocked but didn’t use the sword to defend and added more power to it.
A golden sword light flew from the sword tip and pierced the mighty palm, then it continued towards You Guiqi.
“Space Rupturing Form!”
You Guiqi’s heart tightened and he vanished from his spot. The sword light struck the palanquin and turned it into splinters.
“Sword Marquise Abode’s profound ranked martial art, Flowing Space’s Nine Forms?”
You Guiqi appeared behind Xie Tianyang and spoke with derision, “You’re from Sword Marquise Abode. How can a boy wield its legacy? Are you… ”
“Humph, none of your business!”
Xie Tianyang snorted and stabbed backward.
This time, the sword no longer had the imposing might. But everywhere it struck, it made space stagnate and You Guiqi was slowed.
“Empty Net!” Xie Tianyang bellowed.
“Humph, you don’t know when to quit! Even with a profound ranked martial art, the gulch between Bone Tempering Stage and Profound Heaven Stage cannot be overcome.”
Snorting, You Guiqi vanished, only to appear in front of Xie Tianyang.
Xie Tianyang was startled but could do nothing as You Guiqi’s palm slapped him into the air. When he landed, six Bone Tempering experts surrounded him to make sure he didn’t get up.
“Humph, disgraceful runt! If not for Sword Marquise Abode, you would’ve died by now!” You Guiqi mocked him.
Xie Tianyang spat on his face and responded as if to spite him, “I dare you to kill me! But can you take responsibility for the war that follows? Ha-ha-ha…”
Wiping his face, You Guiqi’s tone turned colder with killing intent, “Damn kid, you think I’m scared? You made a mess in my city, so the Sword Marquise Abode won’t say anything even if I kill you.”
You Guiqi slapped at Xie Tianyang’s chest.
Xue Ningxiang cried, “No!” But You Guiqi was dead set on killing him.
An aged voice echoed and a golden sword wave hacked down!
You Guiqi wasn’t about to receive it. This attack was unlike Xie Tianyang’s, it was backed by the power of a Profound Heaven expert.
He stopped his attack and jumped six meters back.
When the dust cleared, a meter wide hole was in You Guiqi’s previous position; its depth unknown.
A white-haired old man drifted next to Xie Tianyang and fanned the Bone Tempering experts away.
The old man looked frail, his eyes cloudy, a stark contrast to the true expert he was. Even his right hand was missing three fingers, yet this hand was bony and showed its blue veins clearly. Proof he was a seasoned swordsman.
Xie Tianyang cried in joy while You Guiqi sneered, “Jian Suifeng, fifty years no see. How have you been?”
“Fine, until you came to ruin my mood!” The elder spat through gritted teeth. His cloudy eyes seethed with bone-deep hatred.
“Eighth elder, thank god you’re here. Help me save Ning’er!” Xue Ningxiang pulled Jian Suifeng’s sleeve.
But Jian Suifeng shook his head, “Tianyang, this is Hell Valley’s affair. We cannot get involved.”
“Youngster, there’ll be hell to pay if you poke your nose in other’s business.” You Guiqi snickered, then turned to Jian Suifeng, “Case in point, you lost your three fingers due to the same reason.”
Jian Suifeng’s eyes trembled from rage as he stared You Guiqi down, “You think I would’ve fallen for your scheme if not for being young at that time?”
“Ha-ha-ha, it would’ve been better if you had stayed quiet!”
You Ming laughed, “I heard from my Master about senior’s matter, of the so-called undistinguished elder with rotten youth. At that time, if senior hadn’t lusted over a girl from one of Hell Valley’s vassal clans, why would you force your way in her town, only to finally end with you ransomed by your glorious Abode Lord with three cities? Too bad about those three fingers; you had to leave those behind.”
Gritting his teeth, Jian Suifeng was so enraged that veins popped, “You Guiqi, don’t take it too far.”
“Or what, you’ll attack?” You Guiqi made a sinister grin, “Five decades ago you couldn’t beat me. And that hasn’t changed even now, when we’re just one layer apart. You best run along and call for your seventh elder instead.”
He continued to ridicule Jian Suifeng, “I am in awe of the Sword Marquise Abode’s 13 sword elders fame shaking the empire. But you’re the only eyesore among them, not worth a dime!”
“You…” Jian Suifeng clenched his fists and shouted, “Tianyang, we’re leaving!”
“But eighth elder, you must at least fight for the honor of Sword Marquise Abode even if we can’t save Ning’er. Leaving like this…”
“Quiet! Can’t you tell he’s goading us? This here is Hell Valley’s domain. Winning or losing here will put Sword Marquise Abode at a disadvantage.”
He glared once more at You Guiqi and said to Xie Tianyang, “Tianyang, remember You Guiqi’s title and how cunning he is. Next time you meet him, make sure to face him with ample preparation.”
Xie Tianyang looked at Xue Ningxiang not far ahead, and said in a determined tone, “I know that. But if I don’t save her today, I will regret it for the rest of my life.”
“Ha-ha-ha, such is youth, ignorant of the world’s dangers! Since Sword Marquise Abode’s young master is so entertained by the idea of a hero saving a damsel, I will oblige by giving you a chance. Save not only her but also her clan, letting her feel ultimate gratitude towards you.”
You Guiqi clapped and four Bone Tempering experts pulled four large crosses, with the entire Xue clan nailed on them, from old to young.
“Grandpa, dad, brothers!”
Xue Ningxiang wailed and glared at You Guiqi, “Seventh elder, what are you doing?”
“Acting my role as a villain.”
You Guiqi then sent a grin towards Xie Tianyang, “How will the young master play the hero otherwise?”
He then twisted his face and howled, “Attack!”
The Bone Tempering experts took out hooks and clawed them into the Xue clan’s members.
Blood fell like rain and their howls rang in the air. They even found the strength to shout their lungs out when the hooks came out of their bodies. Not even Xue Dingtian, who was a Profound Heaven expert, was eased from this suffering.
Xue Ningxiang was crying her heart out and yelled, “You Guiqi, stop or I will kill myself!”
“Then I will kill them all.” You Guiqi roared in return.
Xue Ningxiang was rooted to the spot, powerless to alleviate the painful cries of her family. Her knees softened and she collapsed, as did her mind.
Snickering next to her ear, You Ming reveled in her pain, “Girlie, get off your high horse. You’re in no position to demand anything from my Master. He is Insidious Demon, the number one sage of Hell Valley. So many people from the seven houses have fallen to my Master’s ploys, and you think you can best him at that?”
“Ha-ha-ha, I’ll have you know this too. It’s because you angered him that he chose this course of action. You might have a bargaining chip, but too bad, you’re too naive. And don’t forget he has a bargaining chip too, rather close at hand.”
Xue Ningxiang lifted her head but all they conveyed was emptiness and tears.
Despair and agony!
She sacrificed herself to save her clan, but she was far from being able to win against this cunning fox. It instead earned his ire and now he was venting it all on her clan.
“It’s all my fault!” She blamed herself for everything.
“Who will save me now?” Xue Ningxiang mumbled while looking at the sky in tears, “Who can save us?”
“Humph, idiot!” You Ming mocked her but then shrugged, “Idiot or not, a cauldron still has its use.”
Xie Tianyang saw Xue Ningxiang losing herself and his heart was in pain. Jian Suifeng stopped him from charging over with a shake of his head and a hand on his shoulder.
“The farther we are from You Guiqi, the better.”
“But eighth elder…” Xie Tianyang’s words faltered as Jian Suifeng’s hand squeezed his shoulder harder, afraid the kid would make a rash decision.
Xie Tianyang collapsed to his knees, his spirit broken, his pride as a genius turned to nothing but tears of humiliation. The girl he liked was suffering before him and he was powerless to do anything.
Then he suddenly recalled Zhuo Fan’s words.
[If you go you can only watch, powerless to do anything!]
It all went out just as Zhuo Fan had said. Xie Tianyang believed there was nothing he couldn’t do, but now he realized how meager and weak he was.
“It seems that I was the coward all along!” He muttered under his breath.
“Zhuo Fan, you bastard, where the hell are you?” Xie Tianyang then raved through his manly tears and punched the ground until his fist inflamed.
Jian Suifeng understood the kid’s pain but couldn’t help him.
Suddenly, Xue Ningxiang’s and Xie Tianyang’s rings sparked. Only this time it was much stronger, similar to the time when the three Thunder Rings were close together.
“He’s here!” Xie Tianyang looked around with hope.
Xue Ningxiang shivered and her eyes began to regain clarity. She muttered looking at the Thunder Ring, “B-big brother Zhuo…”
Suddenly lightning streaked across the sunny sky. It struck down among the crucified Xue clan members and blasted out the Bone Tempering experts there in all directions.
The dust rose as lightning still flickered within and everyone was now trying to perceive through it.
When the dust settled, it revealed Zhuo Fan sporting his manic grin.
“You Guiqi, I lost the previous round. But the second round starts now!”