And so Yun Che and Qianye Ying’er stayed at the Heavenly Handle Yun Clan temporarily. Their time was divided between cultivating and observing everything that was going on in silence as they toured the clan at their leisure.
His family’s ancestral ground… he couldn’t ignore it completely despite losing all of his family.
Before this, Yun Shang was constantly depressed because she was stuck in the shadow that was the loss of her father. However, she became a lot more cheerful after she returned to the clan probably because she had overcome the shadows or because she was blessed by the heavens. She was always wearing a smile that could melt the hearts of others, especially when she went to look for Yun Che.
The news of her upcoming appointment had already spread within the clan. This and Yun Shang’s miraculous transformation brought a ray of hope to everyone who was under the shadow of the deadline.
On the third day of her return, a voice came from outside the lightning formation as promised.
“Sinful Yun Clan, this is your last chance!” an arrogant and imposing voice said. “Surrender the Sacred Yun Ancient Pellet, and I promise that the girl will be returned to you unharmed. Otherwise… she’ll meet the same fate as the ones before her!”
The Nine Lights Heavenly Palace had caught half of the people who tried to sneak out of the sinful region with Yun Shang. Since then, they had tried to blackmail the Sinful Yun Clan into surrendering the Sacred Yun Ancient Pellet… However, the Sacred Yun Ancient Pellet was too important to the clan, and they just couldn’t surrender it to their enemy no matter what the cost. They had no choice but to swallow tears and blood as their captured clansmen were killed one after another.
In the Thousand Desolations Realm, any Yun clansmen who stepped out of the sinful region without permission from the Thousand Desolation Divine Sect could be killed by anyone… The situation they were put in was cruel and despicable, but they didn’t even have the right to criticize or condemn their killers.
Perhaps the Nine Lights Heavenly Palace found out about Yun Shang after interrogating the captured Yun clansmen, but when they used her as their item of blackmail… they successfully struck a fatal blow the Heavenly Handle Yun Clan’s confidence.
Just like Yun Xiang and Yun Lu had said earlier, they would’ve surrendered the Sacred Yun Ancient Pellet if Yun Shang had returned any later.
“Finally.” This time, the Heavenly Handle Yun Clan was completely unafraid of the Nine Lights Heavenly Palace.
“It’s Hidden Sword.” Yun Ting, the clan chief looked at the person in the sky with a dark expression on his face. “I wasn’t expecting him to show up. I heard he lost the sect’s sword and their best disciple not long ago. He must be in a hurry to redeem himself.”
“Yun Jian, Yun Fu, Yun Hua,” Yun Ting ordered, “go give him a greeting.”
“Yes.” The arms of the three elders shone with the light of the profound handle as they summoned their profound energy.
“Let me,” Yun Xiang took a step forward with the look of a hungry hawk in his eyes. “I alone am enough to deal with Hidden Sword! It’s time we make them pay for blackmailing us with Shang’er!”
He flew into the air before Yun Ting could respond, pa.s.sed through the lightning formation and met Hidden Sword alone.
“A level eight Divine Sovereign should be quite important in this realm. Hidden Sword? The name rings a bell,” Qianye Ying’er said while glancing toward the south.
“He’s the Hidden Sword Palace Master and Beihan Chu’s master,” Yun Che answered.
“What a coincidence. It must be fate,” Qianye Ying’er said with a faint sneer before bending down and closing her eyes. Her attention was elsewhere already.
The man outside the formation was none other than Venerable Hidden Sword. Recently, he had had some of the most exciting experiences of his life. At first, his disciple Beihan Chu became a Divine Sovereign before he was six hundred years old and entered the Northern Region Heavenly Sovereign Ranking. What a glorious day it had been! Then, less than a month later, he was killed at an insignificant middle star realm without even a body to mourn for!
He rushed to claim justice for his disciple, but instead he encountered someone who nearly made him soil his pants on the spot… He and the entire Nine Lights Heavenly Palace had no choice but to swallow the indignity. Forget claiming justice for his disciple, he didn’t even dare tell anyone about it.
He had no doubt the the Chief Palace Master would vent his fury on him.
But If he could obtain the Sacred Yun Ancient Pellet, then perhaps the Chief Palace Master would be less angry.
“Young Clan Chief,” Hands behind his back, Venerable Hidden Sword smiled at Yun Xiang and said, “This venerable one has confirmed that that little girl you call Yun Shang has a purple colored devil handle, a color that has never existed in the Sinful Yun Clan until now. This is a miracle. Surely she is worth a mere Sacred Yun Ancient Pellet?”
Yun Xiang made a gesture with his left hand and smiled at Venerable Hidden Sword. He said, “One? Shang’er’s life is worth hundreds, if not thousands of ancient pellets.”
Venerable Hidden Sword’s smile grew wider. “Does that mean you’ve finally figured out what’s best for you?”
“Yes, I did.” Yun Xiang extended a hand filled with lightning. “This is the Sacred Yun Ancient Pellet. The Nine Lights Heavenly Palace better fulfill their promise!”
“Hahahaha, but of course,” Venerable Hidden Sword said with a laugh before looking at Yun Xiang’s hand. Then, his expression changed drastically.
A crack of thunder resounded through the air, and Yun Xiang attacked Venerable Yun with a huge cloud of black energy and tens of thousands of purple lightning bolts. The lightning in his hand had transformed into the Heavenly Dragon Thunder G.o.d Spear.
“You!” Caught off guard, Venerable Hidden Sword threw up his power hastily to defend himself. The power of two level eight Divine Sovereigns clashed against each other and erupted into a disaster zone.
“Shang’er has returned safely to our clan. Who would’ve thought that the Nine Lights Heavenly Palace, a three hundred thousand year old sect would employ to such shameless methods? Do you think so little of the Heavenly Handle Yun Clan!?”
Yun Xiang’s angry roar shook the sky as a blue flash appeared around his left arm. The blue colored profound handle transformed into a giant lightning dragon before falling on Venerable Hidden Sword.
Both Venerable Hidden Sword and Yun Xiang were level eight Divine Sovereigns, and Venerable Hidden Sword’s capacity for profound energy was much greater than Yun Xiang’s… However, the Heavenly Handle Yun Clan’s unique “Heavenly Handle Divine Power” made them undefeatable within the same level. Moreover, a blue colored “Heavenly Handle” amplified one’s strength by another sixty percent, which easily allowed the wielder to crush their opponents.
There was a loud explosion that felt like a hole was blown open in the sky. Despite being weaker in terms of power, Yun Xiang was able to crush Venerable Hidden Sword’s Nine Lights Sword Formation and knock him back dozens of kilometers.
This was the first time Venerable Hidden Sword had fought against Yun Xiang. He never thought that someone as famous as himself would be suppressed so easily by a junior of the Sinful Yun Clan. He roared angrily, “Sinful boy! Your clan is at death’s door! The Nine Lights Heavenly Palace has been a friend of the Thousand Desolation Divine Sect for generations! If you surrender the Sacred Yun Ancient Pellet now, the Nine Lights Heavenly Palace may yet persuade the Thousand Desolation Divine Sect to change their mind. But if you remain as stubborn as you are… your clan will be wiped from the face of the earth!”
Yun Xiang’s expression turned savage as the Heavenly Dragon Thunder G.o.d Spear let out an angry roar. Drawing the lightning formation’s power into his own, he attacked Venerable Hidden Sword again with three types of power at once.
Venerable Hidden Sword let out a bloodcurdling scream, and he ran away with his tail between his legs. His figure quickly disappeared into the dark horizon.
Loud cries came from every corner. They’d been oppressed for so long that the retaliation felt like a clear stream through the soul.
Yun Xiang landed slowly on the ground, bits of lightning still zipping across his body and his hair dancing majestically in the air. He looked as impressive as a G.o.d. The youngsters of the clan quickly surrounded him and cheered for him with their hands raised. Everyone was staring at him with starry eyes.
“Hehehe,” Stroking his beard, Yun Ting nodded slowly and smiled.
Yun Xiang was just five thousand years old, but he was a level eight Divine Sovereign, the young clan chief and the protector of the Yun Clan. His talent was even better than his when he was in his prime… In the future, he had a high chance of making it to Divine Master.
Both him and the clan elders had made up their minds to protect Yun Xiang and Yun Shang with all they had... no matter what might befall the Heavenly Handle Yun Clan in a month.
“This is the ‘profound handle’ you mentioned earlier? It’s that powerful?” Qianye Ying’er’s eyes flashed. “Why have I never seen you use it before?”
“The Heretic G.o.d’s divine power doesn’t work on it,” Yun Che said. “That’s why it’s useless to me.”
“I see.” Qianye Ying’er didn’t suspect his words. He never used it even when he was beaten to near death by Luo Changsheng, so it was unlikely that Yun Che was lying to her. However, her eyes flashed again before she asked, “Was the G.o.d Manifestation Art you used during the Conferred G.o.d Battle a product of the profound handle?”
Yun Che frowned at her before saying, “A woman who’s too smart is seriously annoying.”
Yun Xiang’s success both vented some of the clan’s frustrations and raised morale at the same time. After that, the Heavenly Handle Yun Clan officially began preparations for the grand ceremony.
Yun Shang had become the heart of the clan, and she was accompanied by people almost all the time. Every day she would seek out Yun Che and tell him everything that happened around her.
“I taught Chief Grandpa the new Heavenly Handle Thunder Cloud Art today. He was so excited! But Chief Grandpa is a slow learner, he’s so much slower than I was… no, I only learned fast because senior is a good teacher. Heehee.”
“The elders unsealed a forbidden ground of our ancestors for me today. I’ll be cultivating there from now on. A lot of people teach me and help me to cultivate every day.”
“...they say that they’re going to spend the clan’s best resources on me… starting tomorrow, Chief Grandpa wants me to refine the Rapid Flyer Pellet and Cloud Prayer Dew. I don’t know when I’ll finish, so I may be late to show up tomorrow.”
“Look, this is the Heavenly Handle Robe, only the chief gets to wear it. Chief Grandpa gave it to me earlier than he should… Hmm, I don’t know why, but I don’t feel too happy for some reason. I’m also a little tired today… I’m still going to work harder though.”
Ten days later, Yun Shang was officially appointed as the young clan chief during the sect ceremony. Every Yun Family clansman was gathered in one place, and all eyes and hopes were on her slender figure.
Yun Shang never stopped visiting Yun Che despite becoming the young clan chief, but she always showed up late, and the time she was able to spend with him grew less and less… many times, she had to go just as she arrived at his door.
The amount of times she smiled grew lesser, and each one was more forced than the last.
During one night, Yun Shang walked into Yun Che’s room softly and looked at him. She rushed toward him without a word, collapsed on top of him and closed her eyes.
“What happened?” Yun Che asked.
Yun Shang shook her head inside and said softly, “Nothing… I’m just a bit tired. But… there are so many things I haven’t done yet… so many things I haven’t learned…”
“If you’re tired, then you should rest. You don’t have to push yourself this far,” Yun Che replied.
But Yun Shang still shook her head and exposed her fatigue to him. “It’s my fault… I’m not working hard enough… they gave me the absolute best the clan has… they said I’m the clan’s hope… I… I can’t disappoint them…”
The door was opened roughly as Yun Xiang rushed in. He frowned immediately when he saw Yun Shang in Yun Che’s lap.
Yun Shang slowly stood up and answered, “Big Brother Xiang.”
Yun Xiang smiled at Yun Shang and said, “The Heavenly Handle Cloud Spirit Formation the seventeen elders prepared for you is complete. It’ll give you a purer thunder body. Also, the Grand Elder risked his life to extract three drops of Thunder Dragon Blood for you… go quickly.”
“Mm. I got it,” Yun Shang replied with a nod. She then smiled at Yun Che—forced, but sweet as ever—and said, “Senior, I’m heading to the ancestral shrine now. See you tomorrow.”
Yun Shang left… but Yun Xiang didn’t. He stood where he was and stared at Yun Che.
“Is there anything you wish to say?” Yun Che asked.
“Big Brother Yun Che,” Yun Xiang smiled gently at him before asking, “the two of you’ve been here for a while now. May I know when you’re leaving?”
“Are you expelling us?” Yun Che’s reply was simple and indifferent.
Yun Xiang’s smile slowly disappeared as he spoke in a cold voice, “The two of you saved Shang’er’s life, and the Heavenly Handle Yun Clan greatly appreciates it. You know what kind of situation our clan is in, and how important Shang’er is to us.”
“So?” Yun Che didn’t react to the pressure Yun Xiang released on purpose at all.
“Shang’er is the hope and treasure the heavens have gifted us! She is the end of our clan’s millennium-long nightmare! She is also the young chief and the future chief of our clan! Her safety and her future are more important to us than anything else in the world. The Heavenly Handle Yun Clan will not allow anyone or anything to obstruct her… especially where emotions are involved!”
Yun Che, “...”
“Leave this place as soon as possible!”
Yun Xiang’s fingertip crackled with thunder. “Otherwise… I won’t show mercy even if you are Shang’er’s savior!”
Lightning shredded the ground in front of Yun Che. It didn’t fade for a long time.
“That is all!” Yun Xiang turned around and left frigidly.
Yun Che never moved a muscle. He didn’t even look at the lightning crackling beneath his feet.
“Are we killing him?” Qianye Ying’er asked lazily. She sounded like she was talking about a flea on the roadside.
“...” Yun Che didn’t give her an answer. However, his eyebrows slowly knitted together.