“You…” Wuhen’s fury surged, as Qinghan finished his provoking remarks. In order to refrain from acting rudely, he even clenched his fists so hard that the cracking sounds of knuckles could be heard. Before he had left home, his father had warned him not to do anything impulsive and he had promised to obey, “I choose not to talk with this crazy guy.”
Actually, Wuhen’s father, Xue Piaorou, had discreetly told his son about the main purpose of this trip – to alleviate the possible conflicts between the Xue Family and the Ye Family. After Wuhen had confessed to his father about what he had done back at the Ye Castle, including his kidnapping scheme, his father had promised to help him out by sending a sophisticated, great elder from the family to negotiate with his counterpart in the Ye Family.
Most importantly, Wuhen had heard that the negotiator in the Ye Family, Ye Qingniu, was notorious for his tyrannical temperament in the Mars Prefecture. Therefore, for the sake of the negotiation, he was told to control himself and hold back the anger resulting from any insulting remarks. It was no wonder, that despite Qinghan’s incessant insulation, he had been pretending to be calm, and didn’t say much at all.
Among the people in the room, only Wuhen knew, that it wasn’t the right time to irritate Qinghan. Others didn’t have any clue about it, especially the frivolous Long Shuiliu. Indeed, Shuiliu was surprised by Wuhen’s cowardice response; he thought that young leader Wuhen would’ve been more aggressive. On second thought, however, he guessed that, maybe, Wuhen didn’t want to fuzz about the wrangle between him and this teenager, Qinghan; or maybe, Wuhen tried to protect his gentleman impression in front of so many people. After pondering for a while, Shuiliu decided to stand up, and regain face for Wuhen.
“I agree with young leader Wuhen. You ought to be nice to him, or you’ll get punched to the ground.” Shuiliu spoke with a sullen tone.
The moment Shuiliu finished his words, the two luxuriously-dressed young lords looked at each other, and smiled, yet they kept silent like before.
“Idiot!” Yue Niang cursed the brainless Shuiliu in a whisper. Observing from what had happened just now, she was sure that Wuhen was intentionally avoiding any conflict with Qinghan, though she didn’t know the reason behind it. Now, against Wuhen’s will, Shuiliu had provoked Qinghan, trying to intensify the tension. As a nephew of the leader of the Long Major City, Shuiliu was notorious for bullying others in the name of his uncle. He had never done anything properly, because he was so fond of overestimating his own ability.
Yue Niang shook her head, and stepped back. As a middle-level cadre in the Yue Family, she felt she wasn’t in a position to interfere.
“Several months ago, many people tried to punch me down, and… they did. Now, there’re still many people who want to punch me down, yet… I believe, that they’ll be punched down instead. If you want to taste the feeling of being punched down, just come and have a try!” Qinghan’s reply was like a tongue twister. However, even a deaf person would sense the contempt in his voice.
“Humph! I’ll give you a lesson, on behalf of your family, for your narrow, despicable arrogance! I’ll let you know, that the sky outside of Grey City is more spacious than you could ever imagine!” Shui long sneered, as he pressed the knuckles on his fingers. It seemed as if he was determined to start a fight.
“The sky is limitless; yet the space on your head is so sadly limited. Poor brain…” Qinghan replied unthreatened. Suddenly, he abruptly turned to the two luxuriously-dressed young lords, and curiously asked, “Are you the young lords from the Feng Family and the Hua Family? Could you please do me a favor by answering me a couple of questions? Since Long Shuiliu declared to teach me a lesson, am I responsible when I punch him down? Will this fight lead to any further family conflicts in the future?”
The two young lords were both stumped by these questions, and remained tongue-tied for a good while. They laughed bitterly to themselves, as they had never expected to become involved in this mess. Since Qinghan was blinking his eyes, waiting for an answer, the muscular one managed an awkward smile, “Normally, the fight between youngsters won’t influence the family relationships. After all, it would be embarrassing for the losing party to ask for help from his family.”
“I never ask for help from my family, and I’m always a winner.” The good-looking young lord replied confidently, with a touch of a weird feminine quality in his voice.
“Don’t waste time discussing such nonsense. We’d better choose our battlefield outside, in case we smash anything valuable in this room. Let’s get out, now!” Shuiliu wore a long face, yelling as though he was already pissed off by Qinghan’s absentmindedness. He was furious, because he was being despised by a teenager like Qinghan.
Next to the Four Square Attic, there was the Three Square Attic, where Ye Qingniu was sitting, wearing a surly face. He slammed his fist on the desk, to show, that by now, he was truly provoked. He, however, wasn’t yet aware of the events that had unfolded in the nearby attic.
Following the booming sound of the slam, a roomful of people lowered their heads, avoiding eye contact with Ye Qingniu. Opposite of Ye Qingniu, there sat another white-haired, immortal-looking great elder, whose face looked even angrier than Ye Qingniu’s.
On their left, two elders opened their sleepy eyes, and they simultaneously shook their head while sighing.
On their right, there sat a middle-aged woman, who still retained her graceful bearing, despite the visible crows feet around her eyes. However, the waves of an affectionate, flirtatious emotion in her eyes, and her slender, curved body distinguished her from other at her age. She suddenly stood up, and smiled sweetly at Ye Qingniu, “Brother Niu, calm down. Your fiery temper won’t do any good to solve this problem, will it?”
Ye Qingniu’s eyes bulged like two balls, as if they were about to pop out. After hearing the soft voice of the beautiful woman, he turned to her, “Sister Yue Ji, you don’t know why I’m so outraged. A Jade Spirit Body! Considering the scarcity of this sacred body, do you think that I’ll ever forgive them? Plus, the ripple effects raised by the Jade Spirit Body are also huge: Ye Ron, one of our elders, a cultivator in the Realm of the Saint, was killed; Ye Qingkuang, a key descendent of the family, who was very likely to enter into the Realm of the Saint in the following years, was ruined in cultivation; the Jade Spirit Body was supposed to create another saint-level cultivator in the future. In total, I have to say, theoretically, we have lost three advanced cultivators in the Realm of the Saint. And I’m not even mentioning the other other less competent people who’ve died in this event. Do you think that we should write it off by accepting such a trashy compensation? No way! We aren’t beggars!”
The fierce howl of Ye Qingniu stunned everyone. Now, they were even more convinced about the hearsay that Ye Qingniu had been a bandit in his youth.
To the members of the Xue Family, Qingniu’s response was an evident extortion. The damage he had just described was grossly exaggerated. After all, Ye Ron had been lingering in the first level of the Saint for almost a decade! And the treasure they had offered to Qingniu was an item envied by many other families, how could Qingniu degrade it as trash?
“You… Ye Qingniu, don’t go too far. Like I said, we’ve already punished Wuhen for his naïvity. Today, we even brought all these treasure from our warehouse to compensate your loss. Is it still not sincere enough?” The great elder from the Xue Family stood up, as his white beard flew up in a fury.
“What? Naïve? Come on, he’s twenty six years old! Does a naïve person know the secret of the Jade Spirit Body? Oh, you’ve already punished him? How? As far as I know, he’s now sitting in the Four Square Attic, while enjoying a cup of tea. You’ve also mentioned that you have emptied your treasure warehouse? What if we kidnapped a sacred body from your family? Rules! We have to respect the rules forged by the five families! The Blood-cursed Joint Convention!” Ye Qingniu was unwilling to compromise.
“Calm down, both of you, Xue Fei and Ye Qingniu. For my sake, don’t fight or quarrel in my place, ok?” The middle-aged woman disrupted the two once again, smiling with crooked wrinkles at the corner of her eyes. As the host of this place, she was the last person who wanted to see her attic being dismantled by their fight. So she tried her best to mediate between the two.
“Alright, Yue Ji. If the Xue Family will give us another five thousand to six thousand bottles of Snow Spirit Dan, and three books of the Emperor-level Battle Technique Manual, plus promise one thing to our family… I’ll consider to solve this issue peacefully.” Ye Qingniu replied.
“Five thousand bottles?! Three books of the Emperor-level Battle Technique Manual? Why don’t you just rob us? I won’t promise you anything… and five hundred bottles of the Snow Spirit Dan is the maximum I can accept. No more!” Xue Fei, the great elder from the Xue Family, boomed out with shivering lips.
– Bang! –
Ye Qingniu clenched his fist, and slammed it on the desk once again. This time, the desk was smashed to pieces. The two elders on the left closed their eyes, showing an expression of “none of my business”. Yue Ji sighed helplessly, and gave up on persuading these two old men. The atmosphere in the room had turned even more solemn and intense.
– Rustle! Rustle! –
At this very moment, a maid suddenly rushed in, and stammered out, “Great elders, I… I was told to inform you all, that young lord Qinghan and young lord Shuiliu are about to fight…”