Late at night, Li’s Shop.
Qin Lie’s expression was haggard. He had locked himself inside the small house and was concentrating on inscribing the Terminator Profound Bomb’s spirit diagram.
An odd sound resounded, and a wisp of thin smoke escaped from the dark green ball. The smell of something burning filled the room.
As if disheartened, Qin Lie laid flat on the ground and stared blankly at the ceiling. His face was filled with dejection.
“What’s wrong? Did you fail again?” Li Mu’s voice broke out at the right time from the outside, “How many times does that make it?”
“The third time.” Qin Lie sat up again. “I’ve made six end products, and now I’ve broken three. Inscribing a spirit diagram inside a real artifact as opposed to just a spirit tablet really is different.” He walked out of the small house and saw Li Mu drinking himself drunk under the night sky.
“It’s pretty normal.” Li Mu gave him a smile before motioning him over to sit. Then he said, “This counts as your first real spirit diagram inscription. It’s always easy to fail the first time. The last time you mended the other party’s diagram, you were inscribing while using their foundation, so it was easier in comparison.”
“I understand.” Qin Lie forced a smile. “It’s just that things have been busy lately, and I’m in a hurry to succeed. It frustrates me to keep failing like this.”
Li Mu frowned and first poured him a cup of wine. Then he suddenly noted, “You want to kill someone, don’t you?”
Qin Lie’s expression changed slightly, and he bowed his head and took a sip of wine. He did not rush to answer but instead quietly felt the burning sensation inside his throat.
Glancing at him deeply, Li Mu indifferently said, “I can see the murderous intent in your eyes. I’ve also heard a bit about the… situation outside as of late.”
“Uncle Li, if you have to pay a terrible price to kill a person, should you do it?” asked Qin Lie as he lifted his head and looked into Li Mu’s eyes.
“That depends on how much you want to kill him.” Li Mu put down his wine cup and pondered for a few seconds. “If the murder in your heart cannot be quelled, if you have a reason to kill them no matter what, if not killing them is something you will regret for the rest of your life, and if you cannot face yourself if you don’t kill them, then no matter how terrible a price you must pay, as long as you can guarantee your own life, you should try.”
Qin Lie’s expression shuddered. As if he had finally made up his mind, he said, “Thank you, Uncle Li.”
Li Mu nodded his head and casually mentioned, “If Nebula Pavilion will not receive you, there is always Li’s Shop.”
Qin Lie felt warm on the inside, and he drank yet another cup of wine. He then looked at the change in the sky and said, “I’ll be going back to Nebula Pavilion. Two of my friends… may be leaving in a short while.” Once he finished, he got up and walked towards outside.
When he was about to walk out of the backyard, Li Mu suddenly said with narrowed eyes, “Commerce Street strictly forbids fighting, so as long as you hide in here, Nebula Pavilion or Shattered Ice Manor will not be able to do anything to you. Remember, if you really cannot find a way out, then you must come to my shop.”
“Thanks Uncle Li,” Qin Lie answered softly before finally leaving.
Li Mu’s expression was the same as ever as he continued to leisurely drink his wine.
When Qin Lie arrived on the second day, he realized that Yao Tai had already left. The Artifact Forging Hall was also closed, and the only thing left was the furnace.
“When are you leaving?”
Inside the pavilion, Zhuo Qian, Qin Lie, Kang Zhi, and Han Feng had gathered together. Both Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian had dispirited looks in their eyes, their faces filled with helplessness.
“When Liu Yuntao returns and my big brother finishes passing over the position, then I will leave together with Zhuo Qian,” Tu Ze replied with a dark expression.
“How is Chu Peng?” Qin Lie asked.
“He has shut himself inside his room and hasn’t left for several days. He won’t see us even when we visit him.” Tu Ze sighed. “I know he feels resentment towards me, but even I can’t do anything. The higher ups have already acquiesced Liu Yuntao’s promotion, and in the future, Tu Family will not be able to interfere with Nebula Pavilion matters anymore. What can I do?”
“I hope he can recover soon,” Zhuo Qian said faintly.
“How about you, Kang Zhi?” Qin Lie asked again.
“God knows.” Even little fatty Kang Zhi no longer had a smile on his face. “Depends on what my dad says I guess. At any rate, it’ll be impossible to stay in Nebula Pavilion, so I can only follow wherever he goes.”
“Same here. I’ll see what my dad says,” Han Feng expressed his answer.
“How about you Qin Lie?” Zhuo Qian asked.
“Me?” Qin Lie shook his head. “I’m not sure myself.”
“Xie Jingxuan and Liang Zhong of Dark Asura Hall’s Department of Internal Affairs were also around the Arctic Mountain Range’s outskirts back then. They should be arriving in the next two days.” Tu Ze thought for a while before suggesting, “That Liang Zhong admired you quite a bit, so you can check with him if there are any open avenues. If you can enter Dark Asura Hall as well, even if you’re not an official general… it can be considered a new outlet.”
“Mn, although I don’t think you should have any ties with that woman, I still feel that this path will be better than staying inside Nebula Pavilion.” Zhuo Qian also thought that it was a good idea. “Du Haitian has a huge grudge against you, so it’ll be incredibly difficult for you if you stay inside Nebula Pavilion. He might even threaten your life. You should leave soon.”
“We’ll talk about it later.” Qin Lie frowned.
The entire group’s mood was heavy as they gathered around to drink, and the more they drank, the more depressing it became.
“Vice Pavilion Master Liu is back!”
“We’ll have to call him Pavilion Master Liu now!”
“Eh? There are also the people from Crimson Flame Association and Water Moon Sect.”
“Welcome back to the pavilion, Pavilion Master Liu!”
During the evening, there was a loud clamor at the front gate to Nebula Pavilion. As the martial practitioners inside the pavilion exclaimed softly, Liu Yuntao, Du Haitian, and Wei Xing accompanied the First Hall Master of Dark Asura Hall, Yuan Tianya, into Nebula Pavilion. The Elders of Crimson Flame Association and Water Moon Sect followed closely behind. They all wore respectful demeanor.
Yuan Tianya looked about forty years old. His stature was tall and his face oddly ancient. He had a pair of deep and evil-looking eyes that appeared as if he could see through one’s heart.
The moment he entered, he smiled towards the people in Nebula Pavilion. Everyone who was seen by him felt rather uncomfortable, as if their inner secrets had been spied upon.
“We are honored to welcome the First Hall Master!”
Every martial practitioners in Nebula Pavilion saluted in reverence when they saw that Yuan Tianya had arrived in person.
Even Tu Mo had hurriedly rushed over to bow and welcome him with Han Qingrui when he heard of it. He had personally led Yuan Tianya to Nebula Pavilion’s Procedural Hall.
“Much obliged, Pavilion Master Tu.” Yuan Tianya’s expression was cool as he smiled and nodded. “As I thought, like father, like son. Your father, Tu Shixiong’s, military exploits in Dark Asura Hall are impressive, and he was always able to get out alive despite entering the Nether Battlefield many times.”
He looked towards Tu Mo and said, “You will be leaving for Dark Asura Hall soon. As a new general, you will also be sent to to the Nether Battlefield. I hope that you can make a name for yourself and become a commander soon just like your father.”
At this point, Yuan Tianya gave a carefree smile. “I happen to have an empty commander spot. I wonder if you have the ability or were interested?”
“You flatter me, First Hall Master.” Tu Mo bowed slightly and did not answer Yuan Tianya’s question but simply led the way.
Yuan Tianya smiled slightly and looked meaningfully at him. He as well said nothing more.
Qin Lie and Tu Ze’s group had gathered over and were watching Liu Yuntao, Du Haitian, Wei Xing, and the First Hall Master of Dark Asura Hall, Yuan Tianya.
When Yuan Tianya, Liu Yuntao, and Tu Mo’s group had disappeared, the martial practitioners that had gathered over were all discussing Yuan Tianya’s motives for coming here while they dispersed.
“Yuan Tianya is the First Hall Master of Dark Asura Hall. It is said that he’s at the late stage of the Netherpassage Realm and his strength is unfathomable. He is an expert who has the qualifications to be promoted to Grand Hall Master,” Zhuo Qian said in a low tone while looking in the direction in which Yuan Tianya vanished. “It’s quite surprising that he would grant Liu Yuntao such an honor and come to Icestone City himself. If he is here, then Liu Yuntao will smoothly take over the position of Pavilion Master without any obstacles.”
“With him here, Shattered Ice Manor’s Manor Lord, Yan Wenyan, will turn obedient and placid.” Tu Ze nodded his head. “Yan Wenyan’s backbone in Dark Asura Hall is also Yuan Tianya. I heard that he has long reserved a position for Yan Wenyan as commander, and when Yan Wenyan breaks through to the Manifestation Realm, he will immediately become his subordinate commander the moment he enters Dark Asura Hall.”
“The infighting between Shattered Ice Manor and Nebula Pavilion inside Icestone City will be truly stopped because of him.” Zhuo Qian let out a sigh. “It looks like the higher ups sent Liu Yuntao over to force the Tu Family to let go of Nebula Pavilion completely for the greater good.”
Tu Ze did not say anything.
Suddenly, a terrible scream pierced through the sky from the southeast corner of Nebula Pavilion.
“It’s Chu Peng’s voice!” Zhuo Qian’s expression turned cold.
Without another word, Qin Lie and Tu Ze’s group rushed in unison in the direction of the sound to check out the situation.
Many Nebula Pavilion martial practitioners had also made their way after hearing the terrible cry as they rushed towards the spot.
Inside the Procedural Hall.
The expression of Dark Asura Hall’s Yuan Tianya was indifferent as he spoke with Tu Mo and Liu Yuntao. It was if he hadn’t heard the terrible scream.
At the southeast corner of Nebula Pavilion’s Artifact Tower.
With a dark face, Du Heng and Wei Li gathered their spirit energy, pressed Chu Peng on the ground and beat down on him.
Liu Ting watched from the sides, eyes filled with a murderous look. “You reckless piece of shit, are you actually trying to kill us while we are this many? You are just courting death!”
“You want to kill me, eh?” Du Heng swore as he blasted Chu Peng’s body again and again while the Golden Spirit Bird in his hands shone.
Chu Peng’s entire body was bleeding, and he looked both hideous and savage. His eyes were filled with madness as he wildly unleashed spirit energy and swung sword beams everywhere without any fear of death, hoping to land a fatal wound on Du Heng and Wei Li’s group.
Unfortunately, under their combined blasts, Chu Peng had long since crumbled and quickly fell into a pool of blood.
“Chu Peng didn’t want to live anymore.” There was a witness who saw everything. “It seems that the reason he had purposely chosen the day Pavilion Master Liu and Elder Du returned to act was because he wants them to experience the loss of a loved one. He knew that even if he succeeded, he would still end up dead, but he did it anyway. Sigh.”
“His father was sacrificed as a pawn, and not only were Pavilion Master Liu and Elder Du not punished, they become the new Pavilion Master and Vice Pavilion Master. They were even praised by Dark Asura Hall’s First Hall Master…” Another person interrupted, “It’s only natural he cannot handle it any longer, but I didn’t expect him to feel suicidal and choose this moment to take the risk.”
When Qin Lie and Tu Ze arrived they immediately heard the crowd’s discussions. Without a second thought Qin Lie and Tu Ze had rushed out to the open.
“Stop it right now!” Tu Ze roared angrily, pulled out his Nebula longblade and rushed into battle.
Qin Lie’s eyes, on the other hand, were brutal as he stepped with murderous intent towards Du Heng without a word.