A terrible blood stench was enveloping the entire Heavenly Handle Yun Clan. The only thing that outdid it was the people’s despair.
The Desolate Heaven Dragon Chief, the Nine Lights Heavenly Sovereign, and Devotee Empty Mind had all perished. There was no longer any possibility of escaping the end.
Right now, the only thing they should consider—the only thing they could consider—was how to escape their judgment… but the Burning Moon King Realm was the one who branded them, and attempting to escape punishment would only add to the severity of their crimes. The Northern Divine Region might be huge, but where could they escape to? Who would even dare take them in?
Yun Che walked on the soil drenched in dragon blood for a very long time before coming to a stop.
“So… the father who lost his daughter… should also become stronger for her sake… right?”
It was such a feeble and powerless line, and yet it had nearly triggered a mental collapse when coming from Yun Shang.
He let out a long breath before looking at Qianye Ying’er. The woman had been silent until now. He said, “I’m surprised you didn’t laugh at me.”
Qianye Ying’er was staring forward. A small smile appeared on her face before she replied, “The girl’s father is dead, but mine is still alive. She lost all of her profound strength, and I can easily decide her fate with a flick of my fingers. However, I actually find myself envying her a little.”
“Heh.” Her smile turned cold and grim at the same time. “The Brahma Monarch G.o.ddess who once thought of all creations as trash is now envying a crippled girl… what a joke!”
Yun Che shot a glance before continuing toward the front.
Right now, they were walking toward the Heavenly Handle Yun Clan’s ancestral shrine. However, the battle had turned it into rubble.
His old self would’ve looked upon his ancestor’s land with reverence, but now, all he could summon was a mask of indifference. When he reached the center of the shrine, he stomped on the ground with his right foot.
The ground and the barrier it was concealing shattered at the same time. Yun Che dropped into a pocket world and stared at the shocked Yun clansmen in front of him.
Clan Chief Yun Ting and the elders who had survived that battle with relatively minor injuries were all here. It was clear that they were discussing something important.
“Yun Che, you…”
The speaker was cut short when Qianye Ying’er also dropped down from above and stood next to Yun Che. Almost everyone had taken an involuntary step backward.
Yun Che stared at them frigidly before declaring, “All of you besides Clan Chief Yun will leave this place!”
Considering the brutality Yun Che had displayed today and what had happened before their enemies had invaded, no one would be surprised if he decided to slaughter everyone on the spot.
However, all he did was to tell them to leave.
Perhaps the only reason behind his mercy was Yun Shang’s request after she woke up… the request that made them feel so ashamed they could die.
Yun Ting’s complexion was unnaturally pale. It was impossible to tell if it was because of his physical injuries, emotional stress, or both. His expression twitched for a moment before he waved his hands and said, “Leave us.”
A short silence later, the elders silently left. They couldn’t stop Yun Che anyway if he really planned to do something to Yun Ting.
Qianye Ying’er moved her fingers a bit, and a sound isolation barrier appeared around them. She could more or less guess what Yun Che was going to say and do, but she clearly had no intention of stopping him this time.
“Venerable Yun… Cough, cough cough cough cough…” Yun Ting coughed painfully before he could finish his sentence. Brown-colored blood pa.s.sed through his mouth with every cough.
He panted heavily for a moment before finally continuing, “What… are your instructions?”
“Do you know why you and your lot are still alive?” Yun Che asked.
Yun Ting bowed his head and murmured in regret and helplessness, “Shang’er…”
“She doesn’t know that you were going to use the forbidden blood transfer ritual and strip her of her purple-colored heavenly handle after you injured her.” Yun Che’s voice abruptly dropped a couple of degrees. “You'd better make sure that she never learns about this!”
“...” The corner of Yun Ting’s mouth twitched. It wasn’t until a long time later before he let out a deep sigh and asked, “Are you… that expert who gave Shang’er all her blessings?”
It wasn’t a difficult guess to make. Anyone who witnessed his terrifying strength and his unusual protectiveness toward Yun Shang would’ve realized this.
They were stunned when the Nine Lights Heavenly Sovereign had called Yun Che a “half-step Divine Master”, but even the Desolate Heaven Dragon Chief and Devotee Empty Mind had fallen to him like flies. Naturally, it meant that he was even stronger than that!
“Why would someone like you show so much kindness to Shang’er?” Yun Ting asked.
The earlier battle showed him that Yun Che was a man of deadly power and even deadlier temper. Even someone as old and experienced as him was deeply terrified by Yun Che’s lack of concern toward the Thousand Desolation Divine Sect, and his brutality when he intentionally scattered the flesh and blood of the dragons all over the place. He just couldn’t understand why someone like Yun Che would treat Yun Shang as well as he did.
Yun Che raised his arm and stunned Yun Ting with an orange flash.
“!!” Yun Ting looked thunderstruck. He shouted unconsciously, “That’s… that’s the Heavenly Handle divine power!”
“You!” Staring at Yun Che in shock and disbelief, he said, “You’re a member of the Heavenly Handle Yun Clan!”
“I am not.” The coolness in Yun Che’s eyes didn’t change one bit. “My ancestor left the Heavenly Handle Yun Clan a long time ago.”
“...” Yun Ting’s mouth fell open and his features s.h.i.+vered. When the excitement and shock had pa.s.sed, the emotions in his eyes became replaced by something more complex. He was no longer looking at Yun Che with the same eyes as before.
A long time later, he lowered his arm and felt his vision turning blurry. His voice became as soft as a dream, “I see now. You’re his descendant.”
“Is he… still alive?”
“No,” Yun Che replied, “I’m the only one who’s still alive in the Illusory Demon Yun Clan.”
“...” His answer stunned Yun Ting to silence again. Then, he muttered in a daze, “Dead… the Illusory Demon Yun Clan… dead… heh… hehe…”
He was laughing, but the laugh sounded incredibly sorrowful.
He had no doubt that he hated that man to the bone, but the first emotion he felt upon hearing of his death wasn’t joy, but sorrow.
“Also good, also good…” He muttered to himself. “A dead man doesn’t feel pain or worry. A dead man doesn’t need to choose or struggle. A dead man cannot continue a feud… and so is free to pa.s.s on to the next world.”
His soliloquy was clearly filled with misery and suicidal thoughts.
It was the kind of suicidal thoughts one might hold before the coming of despair.
“You want to die so much?” Yun Che shot him a glance before sneering at him, “then I’ll keep you alive instead!”
He appeared behind Yun Ting in an instant and hit the old man’s back. During that time, he unleashed the Divine Miracle of Life in an instant and withdrew it just as quick.
Yun Ting exclaimed in surprise before stumbling forward and spitting out a mouthful of black blood. He clutched his chest with both hands, and… suddenly, he turned around and stared at Yun Che in complete disbelief.
“The curse the Burning Moon G.o.d Realm left inside you has been removed completely.” Yun Che put his hands behind his back. “With your own reserves and the Heavenly Handle Yun Clan’s resources, it shouldn’t take long for you to return to your former strength.”
The curse Yun Ting was inflicted with had forcefully kept his profound strength at Divine Sovereign Realm, so naturally it was incredibly powerful. But no matter how powerful it was, it was far inferior compared to the Brahma Soul Death-Wis.h.i.+ng Mark, not to mention that it was a product of darkness profound energy. Light profound energy was the bane of darkness profound energy, and the Divine Miracle of Life was a transcendent art. That was why Yun Che was able to remove it with ease.
With his cultivation recovered, Yun Ting was no longer in danger of running out of lifespan. The old man could barely suppress his excitement as he checked his body.
He thought Yun Che had come to punish him for his sins, but...
He took a step forward and tried to give Yun Che a bow, but the young man turned his back to him and said, “Your thanks are unnecessary. The only reason I’m saving you is because you’re still useful to me!”
Yun Ting froze in mid-motion, but not even Yun Che’s harsh words could extinguish the excitement in his heart. Right now, he was literally incapable of speaking.
“I saved Yun Shang because her profound art and heavenly handle divine power caught my attention,” Yun Che said solemnly, “Later on, I decided to stick with her because I wish to see how her clan was doing with my own eyes… however, that thought transformed into something else when I came to see my late daughter in her.”
Yun Ting, “...”
“Tens of thousands of years ago, the Burning Moon King Realm somehow learned the true ident.i.ty of the ‘sacred artifact’ your clan is protecting and tried to force you into surrendering it,” Yun Che said matter-of-factly. “The clan became divided because of this incident. You wanted to surrender the sacred artifact to protect the clan, but the second clan chief would rather die than do that.”
“The disagreement was irreconcilable, so the second clan chief ultimately chose to leave the Heavenly Handle Yun Clan and the Northern Divine Region itself with the sacred artifact and his followers, then vanished without a trace. That was how the Heavenly Handle Yun Clan landed itself in great disaster.”
“...Is that the story he left behind?” Yun Ting’s eyes looked a little unfocused.
“No. Half of it I heard from Yun Shang, and the remaining half I guessed myself,” Yun Che explained, “My ancestor didn’t leave behind any record or trace about the Heavenly Handle Yun Clan. The Illusory Demon Yun Clan doesn’t have anything to do with the Heavenly Handle Yun Clan besides their bloodline history.”
“Is that so…” Yun Ting smiled miserably before continuing, “The Burning Moon King Realm wasn’t a force we could defy back then, so I never thought that my choice to surrender the sacred artifact in exchange for the whole clan’s safety was a mistake. Of course, it is our ancestor’s instruction and our clan’s duty to protect the sacred artifact, so his choice was equally right.”
“However, he later decided to escape the Northern Divine Region with the sacred artifact! He may have gotten what he wanted, but we were the ones who had to pay the price! We were the ones who fell from the heavens all the way to h.e.l.l! He probably wanted to cut ties with the Heavenly Handle Yun Clan, but he seemed to have forgotten that the sacred artifact belongs to the Heavenly Handle Yun Clan, not to the Illusory Demon Yun Clan and definitely not to him… cough… cough cough…”
His emotions got the better of him, and his body and his expression became racked with pain for a moment.
Yun Che didn’t have a reply or a retort to offer.
“Hooo…” It took Yun Ting a while to regain his cool. Finally, he smiled bitterly at Yun Che and shook his head, saying, “It doesn’t matter now. Everything is in the past, and he’s no longer in this world. To dwell on it any longer is meaningless, and it has nothing to do with you whatsoever.”
“Still, I’m sure he must be glad to have a descendent like you.”
“That sacred artifact,” Yun Che asked suddenly, “Is it the Mirror of Samsara?”
“... !?” The sleepy-looking Qianye Ying’er abruptly opened her eyes.
Yun Ting looked up and stared at him with widened eyes as well.
Although he wasn’t facing Yun Ting, that slight tremor in the latter’s soul told him everything he needed to know.
“I don’t want to know about the cause or what led up to that tragedy. I don’t care who’s right or wrong either. From today onward, the Heavenly Handle Yun Clan and I are done.”
“The reason I came to meet you today is to tell you one thing.” Yun Che finally turned around to face Yun Ting. “I’ll eliminate the Thousand Desolation Divine Sect and bring an end to your upcoming doom temporarily.”
Yun Ting was speechless when he heard Yun Che’s declaration.
“But don’t forget,” Yun Che said slowly and without emotion, “I’m not doing this for the Heavenly Handle Yun Clan, and I’m definitely not paying for the sins my ancestor committed. I’m only doing this… because of what Yun Shang said.”
He strode past the stupefied Yun Ting and left his final words. “The reason I haven’t killed any of you is because I don’t want to dirty her heart in any way. The reason I’m saving your clan is because I don’t want her world to sink into darkness… as for you, don’t doubt whether I have the ability to carry out my word. All you need to consider is how best to make it up to Yun Shang!”
Even the reason he eliminated Yun Ting’s curse was so that Yun Shang could enjoy the protection of a Divine Master.
Yun Ting didn’t know how long he was in a daze. By the time he returned to himself and turned around in a hurry, Yun Che and Qianye Ying’er were long gone.
Yun Che kicked aside a dead dragon that was several thousand meters long and stepped into the lightning formation. He didn’t know when he would return after he left the Heavenly Handle Yun Clan. Maybe he would never return.
“Is the Mirror of Samsara with you right now?” Qianye Ying’er asked suddenly.
Yun Che didn’t give her an answer.
“Another question.” Qianye Ying’er raised her eyebrows slightly and asked, “Did you sleep with the Dragon Queen when you were in the Dragon G.o.d Realm!?”