Song Yixue continued her explanation. “From what I know, the Wei Clan was personally selected by Heaven’s Elysium to rule the Sanctum. Their main channel of communication with the Elysium was through us, the inspectors, so they wouldn't be familiar with the exact rules. This is the loophole that we will be making use of.”
“More importantly, since we are fixing the rules, this needs to be hidden from the Elysium, or it might affect Lady Long’s reputation. Luckily for us, Vermilion Bird is quite the rural place, and people here wouldn’t even leave their country, let alone head to Heaven’s Elysium. All we need is for Lin Xiaoting and Yueling Ji to remain silent about this when they enter the Elysium.” It was quite an important explanation from Song Yixue, and her expression was serious.
“Definitely, I will make sure no one else finds out about this,” Lin Xiaoting promised.
“That’s right, I will not mention my relationship with Lady Long in front of anyone. I will be independent enough to survive and thrive there on my own,” Yueling Ji added.
“It’s okay, I'll be there for you.” Lin Xiaoting smiled, making her face redden like an apple. Even the seniors and the inspectors couldn’t help but smile at the couple. It was good to be young.
“While everyone’s here, we can talk about the exact date of the wedding and the contest,” Song Yixue said.
“Madam inspector, I need to refine the draconic water obelisk and reach Unity so that I can enter the Elysium. It should be done in a month. More importantly, once I get my eight-star beast to Unity, it will be better for the contest too,” Yueling Ji hurriedly said. The Yueling Clan wasn’t in a hurry, and the inspectors couldn’t set off for Heaven’s Elysium before she made a breakthrough anyway.
“The Sanctum replacement challenge consists of three battles, the battle between the older generation, current generation and the younger generation. For the older generation, we only have Wei Tiancang and Wei Qing to deal with, and it should be easy enough for me. For the current generation, Mu Yang is a tough one, but with my son and Yueling Xiao, along with others from the Lightning Manor, it’s still manageable.” While speaking, the Lightning Seigneur threw a glance at Li Yanfeng, who nodded back. The latter could tell that it was his time to shine.
“As for the younger generation, Wei Guohao and the others are all trash, unworthy of mention. There’s only one person we have to worry about,” the Lightning Seigneur continued.
“Who might that be?” Yueling Hong asked.
“Li Tianming, the one who appeared at the Abyssal Trials.”
“Yes, he is Wei Tiancang’s grandson.”
“He’s dead for sure then. Once I reach Unity and my beast becomes eight-star, I will send him to see his gods!” It wasn’t hard to see the maliciousness in Yueling Ji’s expression.
“Actually, you can leave him to me. There’s a little something between us too.” Lin Xiaoting snickered.
“If he’s the only one we need to worry about, then we should secure the point for the younger generation. That means we only need to win one between the older generation and the current generation,” Jin Yixuan said.
“From what I see, scoring all three points shouldn’t be an issue. Wei Tiancang has fallen behind ever since he lost his daughter. I can deal with him easily.” Lin Zhao laughed.
“Excellent,” Song Yixue replied.
“Alright, the day Yueling Ji reaches Unity will be her wedding day. Once that's settled, we will send the letter to the Wei Clan, and have the challenge on the next day!” Jin Yixuan made the final decision.
“Yueling Ji, don’t let us down. Try to make the breakthrough while Lady Long is still in the peninsula, don’t keep her waiting.”
“Definitely, sir inspectors!”
“The challenge is one of life and death; on that day, killing freely is no issue. Getting rid of them at once is for the best; make sure not to leave any seeds of future troubles behind,” Song Yixue said casually.
“Then we will make sure to wipe them out.” The Lightning Seigneur chortled.
And so, the feast continued…
The Lotus Blossom Garden was a serene spot in one corner of the Lightning Manor. Bushes and flowers flourished all year round, and there would always be servants tending to the garden. Everyone knew that the garden belonged to Lin Xiaoting’s fiancee, Mu Qingqing.
While Mu Qingqing was cultivating in the Sanctum, she rarely returned to live here, but even then she was picky about the environment here, insisting on it to be clean at all times. But for the past few days, the servants have been forbidden from entering the garden totally, the official reason being that Mu Qingqing needed to recover from the grievous injury she received in the Abyssal Battlefield.
There was a pond inside the garden, its water crystal clear with goldfishes swimming merrily inside. At the center of the pond there was a small pavilion, where a girl in white was playing her zither slowly. Her finger danced on the strings, the tune occasionally spirited, but overall, it was a sad melody that left her instrument.
Suddenly, the melody stopped, and the girl retched, and a black dash of blood dirtied the floor. She clenched her jaws, wiping the blood off her lips before resuming her piece.
“Big Sis Qingqing…” A young girl walked in, her eyes red and swollen. Clearly, she had spent the past few hours in tears.
The sound of the zither stopped. Mu Qingqing stood up with the support of the table, her feeble figure trembling in the wind.
“Big sis Qingqing, you should be resting in bed. The doctor said you need to rest for at least a month.” Lin Xiaoxiao walked up and supported the trembling Mu Qingqing.
“Xiaoxiao, why do you look so sad?” Mu Qingqing ruffled Lin Xiaoxiao’s hair.
“I… It’s nothing.” Lin Xiaoxiao shook her head.
“There’s no use lying to me. Did you argue with your brother?” Mu Qingqing asked. But Lin Xiaoxiao just bit her teeth in reply, tears falling freely from her eyes.
“They, how can they do that! And him! Why would he do such a thing!” Lin Xiaoxiao was shaking with rage.
“Tell me, is he going to marry Yueling Ji?” Mu Qingqing asked gently.
“How did you know?” Lin Xiaoxiao didn’t want to tell her, thinking that she wouldn’t be able to take the news. Mu Qingqing had suffered enough in the past few days.
“It’s understandable. That’s just how life is.” Mu Qingqing smiled weakly.
“Big sis, I... I'm sorry. I can’t change anything!” Lin Xiaoxiao held tightly to her hands, her tears still falling as she spoke.
“Get out.” All of a sudden, a harsh voice barked out from behind them. The two girls turned around to find a young man in blue, lightning flowing within his eyes. Lin Xiaoting had arrived; it was as though speaking of him was enough to summon him over.
“Brother!” Lin Xiaoxiao growled.
“Get out. Now.”
“What else do you want? Have you not gotten enough?” Lin Xiaoxiao asked.
“I have things to say to Qingqing, and you don’t need to hear it. Now scram.”
“Guards, bring Xiaoxiao out, and ground her for two weeks,” Lin Xiaoting commanded.
A few guards of the manor walked in and brought Lin Xiaoxiao out with them. Lin Xiaoting was in a much higher position than Lin Xiaoxiao, and the guards would obviously obey him. A minute later, there was only Lin Xiaoting and Mu Qingqing left in the garden.
Lin Xiaoting looked at her briefly, and then sat in the hut. “Play something.”
Mu Qingqing’s eyes were dull as she made her way back to her zither. A song that pondered the beauty of love rang through the garden. However, she cut her fingers with the strings while playing, and the notes were not as beautiful as they should have been.
“Qingqing.” His eyes were focused on the fishes in the pond, when he spoke up to interrupt her piece.
“Your lifebound beast is dead, and your spiritsources are broken. You are crippled for life, and nothing will change that.” He was playing with the goldfishes. “Do you feel resentful?”
“Of course not.”
“Good. You should know better than anyone how cruel reality can be, right?” Lin Xiaoting rose up and glanced at her from above.
“You stepped over Li Tianming’s body to get to me, and now I’m getting rid of you for a better woman. It’s all normal, am I right?” Lin Xiaoting asked.
Mu Qingqing’s head was lowered, the blood still dripping from her fingers onto her zither.
“Yes.” Tears fell, forming a puddle that mixed with the black pool of blood.
“You are mature enough to know when to admit defeat, aren’t you?” Lin Xiaoting wouldn’t even look at her in her current state.
“Of course, big brother Ting.” She tried to wipe away her tears, but only ended up smearing more blood on her face.
“Glad to hear that you know what you are doing.” Lin Xiaoting patted her shoulders.
“I have told father that you can keep the Lotus Blossom Garden. You are free to grow flowers, raise fishes, play your zither, and do anything you want here. I promise that you will live a comfortable life.”
“But you must not leave here. I don’t want you to appear in front of the public. Once you pass away, I will let you be buried in the Lin family’s grave as my servant. I will try to visit you the next time I come back.” It wasn’t hard to tell that Mu Qingqing wasn’t going to live for long.
“Qingqing, I have done as much as I possibly could for you already, haven’t I?” With his hand on her shoulder, Lin Xiaoting asked, a smile on his face.
“Of course, it’s my honour to be brother Ting’s servant even after I die.” Mu Qingqing tried her best to force her face into a smile as she replied. But her face was smeared in blood, making it nowhere near attractive.
“Lovely. The fact that you always know what's best for you is precisely the reason I liked you.”
“My only regret is that because brother Ting practices the Heavenly Yang-Thunder Manual, you can’t indulge in worldly desires until you attain Unity. I have never had the joy of spending a night with brother Ting,” Mu Qingqing said through gritted teeth.
“Well, I’m at Unity now. Sadly, I’m not interested in you anymore.”
“What a pity. Then I wish brother Ting happiness after marriage,” Mu Qingqing said.
“Now that’s a good girl. I shall allow you to be there for my wedding.” Lin Xiaoting nodded, satisfied by her response.
“Yes, brother Ting, I will make sure to dress up to my best on that day.”
“Hm. As a reward, I will let you witness how I torture that Li Tianming to death. That should count as me taking revenge for you.” Lin Xiaoting smiled. Mu Qingqing smiled back too, but she was no longer the beauty she used to be.
“Remember to dress up properly, but don’t outshine the bride,” Lin Xiaoting reminded her.
“Alright then. Goodbye.” Lin Xiaoting was in a good mood as he turned and left the garden.
Once Lin Xiaoting was gone, Mu Qingqing vomited out even more blood, the sludge dyeing her white shirt black completely. She dropped to her knees, her head against the pavilion’s pillar, tears falling uncontrollably from her eyes.
As she cried, she slammed her head against the pillar, her body convulsing as she sobbed. She slammed her head again and again, until she eventually passed out in the little pavilion.