A group of martial practitioners appeared at Ling Town’s entrance, their expressions cold and aloof.
The group of martial practitioners were evidently split into two sides, one side headed by Elder Du Haitian, the other headed by Discipline Hall Elder Ye Yangqiu. The two arrived together, yet they were distinctly separated.
Du Haitian’s stature was tall and lean with short white hair and refined clothes. The look in his eyes was distant, making it hard for anyone to guess what he was thinking.
On the other hand, Ye Yangqiu was short and pudgy. It was unknown whether there was another reason or that the arts he cultivated in was special, but his skin was dark and greenish, making him look extremely strange and creepy. His eyes were frosty, and his entire body exuded a suffocating aura that warned strangers to stay away.
He walked shoulder to shoulder with Du Haitian into Ling Town, followed by their individual men. They were both elders of Nebula Pavilion; Ye Yangqiu was in charge of the Discipline Hall while Du Haitian was in charge of external combat, frequently leading his men to fight enemies from opposing martial forces or to hunt spirit beasts.
Usually, the two sides would not have any interaction. However, if any of Du Haitian’s subordinates were to commit an offense, Ye Yangqiu would have the authority to carry the punishments out.
Being Nebula Pavilion’s most crucial Discipline Hall Elder, Ye Yangqiu was famous for being impartial. As long as anyone committed an offense and landed into his hands, he would punish the person accordingly, even if the offender was the direct subordinate of any of the elders. He would definitely not deign to give anyone face, even the two Vice Pavilion Masters—would find it wishful thinking to ask for any favors from him.
As such, Ye Yangqiu’s notoriety spread far and wide within Nebula Pavilion. Every single martial practitioner within the pavilion was afraid of him, fearful of landing into his hands.
“Elder Ye, regarding the Ling Family’s betrayal, what are your thoughts?” Du Haitian asked suddenly.
A couple of days ago, the Feng Family’s Patriarch, Feng Bin, personally reported to Nebula Pavilion that the Ling Family had conspired with Shattered Ice Manor on Celestial Wolf Mountain’s mine, resulting in the near annihilation of the Feng Family and Gao Family’s members and Liu Yan’s unknown fate. Feng Bin even handed over a letter that was exchanged between Ling Chengye and Shattered Ice Manor, said to be found from the body of a dead Ling Family member, in order to get Nebula Pavilion to severely deal with them.
On the presented letter was Shattered Ice Manor’s Elder Yan Dewu’s personal signature, accompanied by the seal unique to Shattered Ice Manor.
After Ye Yangqiu had investigated and confirmed that the seal truly belonged to Shattered Ice Manor, he was severely shocked and brought his subordinates to Ling Town.
Du Haitian was pondering on what excuse he should use to deal with the the Ling Family when he heard of this matter. On the premise that his cousin was also at Ling Town, he accompanied Ye Yangqiu over to deal with the Ling Family.
“It is yet to be determined whether there was a betrayal from the Ling Family, further investigation is still required.” Ye Yangqiu’s face was black as he spoke darkly, “If it is true, all parties involved in this matter will be executed!”
Pausing a bit, he continued, ”If your cousin and nephews had a part in this, hmph, they too will be dealt with!”
Upon hearing this, Du Haitian felt a chill from the depths of his heart. Chuckling dryly, he hurriedly said, “Elder Ye thinks too much. My cousin and nephews do not get along with Ling Chengye, therefore they are definitely not aware of such a thing. Elder Ye should definitely thoroughly investigate about this and avoid wronging them.”
“I will investigate thoroughly,” Ye Yangqiu said indifferently.
Du Haitian knitted his eyebrows and looked towards the Ling Family’s ancestral halls with a chilly look in his eyes.
It was halfway towards Ling Town that he received news of Du Fei’s grievous injuries. It was also then that he made a resolution to make the Ling Family pay dearly with this trip, to cause the names of Ling Chengye and his family to completely disappear from Ling Town!
Ling Family’s courtyard.
Ling Chengye and his brother lead the three clan elders out of the hall to welcome the Elders from Nebula Pavilion.
The Ling Family members that were gathered all wore heavy expressions that were full of worry, obviously displaying their nerve-wrecked faces. They were also distraught by the sudden arrival of Ye Yangqiu as they were clueless on what kind of calamity the Discipline Hall Elder, notorious for his brutal punishments, would bring to Ling Town.
On the other hand, Du Jiaolan and the others were all visibly delighted as excitement brewed within them while they thought to themselves, “Ye Yangqiu actually came? Let’s see how you’ll meet your demise, Ling Family!”
Qin Lie was positioned among the Ling Family members, towards the back where he was inconspicuous. He coolly observed on as the events unfolded, completely shocked by all of them.
“Even the Discipline Hall Elder is present. If it was merely about Ling Xuanxuan hurting another person, then was his physical presence really required? It shouldn’t be so, there should be another reason…”
He unconsciously thought back to the trip to Celestial Wolf Mountain, recalling Ling Feng and Ling Yushi’s analyses before they had returned, and he gradually begun to start in the correct direction.
Amidst his serious pondering, he suddenly became aware of a pair of bright eyes shining over from the group of Ling Family members.
Paying closer attention, he discovered that the pair of eyes actually belonged to Ling Xuanxuan…
Ling Xuanxuan stood behind Ling Chengye, to the left of Ling Yushi, and was perfectly in place to look at him.
Mixed within that bright pair of eyes were complicated feelings such as alarm, astonishment, and confusion, obviously different from the usual contempt and condescension she had. Qin Lie was stunned for a moment as he was baffled.
“Was that fool… actually pondering? There was an instant when his eyes were bright and clear. Was it my eyes failing me?” Ling Xuanxuan looked at Qin Lie from afar, her maiden heart in complete disorder. “Why was big sister, Ling Xin and the others so protective of him? What exactly happened on that trip?”
Perplexed, she gradually realized that she couldn’t get a read on Qin Lie at all. She couldn’t tell whether Qin Lie was the fool she had always known or the one with the clear, bright eyes was the real Qin Lie…
“We welcome Elder Ye and Elder Du’s arrival to Ling Town!”
Right as she was confused, her father, Ling Chengye’s, loud voice pulled her back to reality.
Catching sight of the gradually nearing Du Haitian, accompanied by the solemn Ye Yangqiu, her small face revealed a look of shock. She felt burdened with worry again as she regretted not having held back against Du Fei, bringing troubles to the clan.
Du Jiaolan, Du Heng, and Du Fei all possessed expressions of glee upon the arrival of Du Haitian as they immediately greeted him. The eyes of Du Fei that was lying on the stretcher turned even redder as he looked extremely miserable.
Du Haitian’s face twitched when he saw Du Fei’s pitiful state. He lightly nodded his head towards Du Jiaolan and the rest, using his eyes to convey his resolution on this matter which gave them some relief.
One of the martial practitioners at his side walked over to Du Jiaolan and softly spoke a few words to her. The words brought immense happiness to her as she stared gratifyingly at Ling Chengye.
“I humbly invite the two Elders to talk within the main hall,” Ling Chengye said with a slight bow.
Du Haitian waved his hands and indifferently said, “There is no need to do so, we can talk here. Hehe, you guys sure are brave. You actually did something like this and still dare to continue staying at Ling town? Why have you not escaped to Shattered Ice Manor yet? Don’t tell me that Shattered Ice Manor was only using you guys and was not sincere in taking Ling Town under their wing?”
Upon these words, the expressions of all the members of the Ling Family fell as their hearts pulsed with fear.
Having any sort of interaction with Shattered Ice Manor was a big matter that warranted total clan extermination, how could they not be terrified?
“May, may I know what exactly is Elder Du implying?!” Ling Chengye’s face was as pale as a ghost. He tightly grit his teeth, then loudly spoke in a slightly shaky voice to Ye Yangqiu, placing emphasis on every single word and pause, “The Ling Family has never had any interaction with Shattered Ice Manor! May the two elders please investigate thoroughly!”
“You still dare to deny it?!” Du Haitian exclaimed loudly. “Feng Bin has already submitted the letter you exchanged with Shattered Ice Manor’s Elder Yan Dewu. What more do you have to say for yourself?”
“Let him have a look.” Ye Yangqiu’s face was impassive as he gestured with his hands.
One of his subordinates immediately walked before Ling Chengye and handed the letter over.
Ling Chengye took the letter with his severely trembling hands and saw handwriting that was extremely similar to his, Shattered Ice Manor’s seal, and Yan Dewu’s reply on it.
Ling Chengye felt like he was plunged into the depths of a frozen lake. He simply could not bring himself to believe what his very own eyes were seeing. After a long while, he protested vehemently, “I do not even know anyone from Shattered Ice Manor! I have been wrongfully accused! I am totally unaware of anything!”
“The ones who betrayed Nebula Pavilion were the Feng Family, not our Ling Family!” Ling Yushi walked over to her father’s side as she spoke those words. Taking a deep breath, she continued agitatedly, “Feng Yi admitted it himself that the Feng Family had long pledged themselves to Shattered Ice Manor. They were in cahoots with Shattered Ice Manor, and tried to take over the Fiery Solar Jade Mine on Celestial Wolf Mountain. We were almost annihilated by them, Liu Yan can attest to that. May Elder Ye please investigate thoroughly!”
“Liu Yan is my subordinate, and he has yet to return to Nebula Pavilion. According to Feng Bin’s words, it is likely that Liu Yan has met his demise.” Ye Yangqiu paused for a moment and continued, “Why don’t you explain what exactly happened?”
Ling Yushi’s words were entirely different from Feng Bin’s. However, Feng Bin had presented a letter with Yan Dewu’s signature while the Ling Family had nothing in their defense. Even so, he was shaken by Ling Yushi’s mentioning of Liu Yan as he now had something more to think about.
“That was what happened…”
In the presence of the Ling Family members and Ye Yangqiu, Ling Yushi finely recounted the events that happened, paying extra care to recount even the smallest detail.
“Qin Lie found out about the Feng Family’s scheme and notified us in advance…”
“Under the assault of the Feng Family, Qin Lie first killed Feng Lun, then Feng Jie, eventually forcing Feng Yi to retreat…”
“Qin Lie repaired Liu Yan’s Hexagonal Shield…”
“Qin Lie pointed us in the right direction…”
“In the end, it was Qin Lie who retrieved the sculpture that led the Demon Wolf King to release us, turning it against Shattered Ice Manor and causing them severe losses which resulted in Yan Dewu escaping for his life…”
During her narration, the name that came up the most was Qin Lie. After she mentioned Qin Lie time and time again, every member of the Ling Family and all the Nebula Pavilion martial practitioners were utterly shocked. They all revealed expressions of complete disbelief while simultaneously inwardly exclaiming the absurdity of the events.
The two brothers, Ling Chengye and Ling Chengzhi, had long guessed that Qin Lie was special. Hearing the excited chatters of disbelief, the two brothers shared a glance with each other and felt a surge of electricity flow out from within their bodies as their excitement secretly rose.
However, Ling Xuanxuan was dumbfounded. Her mind was blank as she listened to the fairy-tale like narration from her sister.
“Is it really him? The person who caught hold of the Feng Family’s scheme in advance, led the Ling Family to break through the assault, helped Nebula Pavilion’s Liu Yan to repair his spirit artifact, and borrowed the help of the Demon Wolf King to deal a heavy blow to Shattered Ice Manor… That person is actually the fool that I had always discriminated against?”
Upon thinking of this, her eyes glistened in shock as she hurriedly turned her head towards a certain direction only to find that Qin Lie was already gone.