Chapter 12: The Inconstant Nature of People

“Grandfather, Mr. Hua has left us a medicinal pill, which... supposedly could give you ten more years of life.” Nie Tian handed the dark-green medicinal pill over to Nie Donghai.

“What?!” Nie Qian exclaimed. Excited, she turned and rushed out, hoping to catch up to Hua Mu and express her gratitude.

However, Hua Mu was nowhere to be found.

“A medicinal pill that can prolong my life by ten years?” Nie Donghai also cheered up a bit. He took the pill from Nie Tian’s hand, took a deep sniff off of its intense medicinal scent. “If this is true, the value of this medicinal pill alone would far surpass the value of the rewards that we have paid him!”

Nie Qian was both shocked and happy. “Why would Mr. Hua Mu make such an unfavorable deal with us? Who is he?”

“He said…” Nie Tian hesitated and concocted a white lie. “That he and I were destined to meet.”

“Destined?” Nie Donghai briefly frowned. “How strange. Both of you stay here. I’ll go look for him in the city. No matter what, I want to thank him in person. He has been far too kind to the both of us.”

Having said that, Nie Donghai took the initiative and left with the medicinal pill in hand.

Unfortunately, after searching in Black Cloud City for two straight days, he was unable to find any trace of Hua Mu. It seemed as if Hua Mu had disappeared into thin air, the same way he had appeared out of nowhere in the first place.

Nie Donghai was suspicious at first and observed Nie Tian for several days. Seeing that he no longer burst into high fevers, Nie Donghai was completely convinced that Hua Mu had no malicious motives.

He also believed that the medicinal pill Hua Mu had left him would most likely not harm him.

Therefore, he put his mind at ease and consumed the unnamed medicinal pill. In the next moment, he felt that his spirit and energy had indeed improved significantly.

Now that Nie Tian had recovered from the fever, whenever he cultivated using the Qi Refining Incantation, he could clearly feel the spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth that he channeled into his body no longer continued to flow into his blood, muscles, and bones.

Apparently his robust body had already absorbed enough strength and no longer required extra nourishment to grow.

Three months later, Nie Tian finally broke through the third level of Qi Refining. After being stuck in the third level for so long, he successfully entered the fourth level of Qi Refining.

Meanwhile, it was almost Nie Tian’s eleventh birthday.

These days, Nie Tian no longer went to the square to train early in the morning in order to avoid causing any trouble for his grandfather or getting involved in new conflicts himself.

Most of the time, he would train hard in his own room instead, and would occasionally take walks in Black Cloud City with his aunt Nie Qian.

One morning, he heard a loud uproar coming from the square when he was cultivating by himself.

The clamor grew so loud that he wasn’t able to focus on his cultivation. Finally, he couldn’t resist the temptation, and walked over to the square.

As he approached, he saw numerous Nie clan elders gathering in the square. Every one of them was radiant with joy, as if it was the New Year’s festival.

Wu Tao, who was in charge of teaching the Nie clan children, also had a heartfelt and sincere smile on his face as he kept repeating the same sentence over and over, “Nie Xian has successfully broken through into the ninth level of Qi Refining!”

“Fourteen years old! The ninth level of Qi Refining!” Nie Tian was also shocked, and secretly felt happy for Nie Xian.

Even though he hadn’t been close to Nie Xian, on many occasions where he had conflicts with Nie Hong or Nie Yuan, Nie Xian had sided with justice, unlike other members of the clan, who only supported and protected Nie Hong and Nie Yuan.

For that reason, he actually secretly thought highly of Nie Xian, although they weren’t exactly good friends.

Knowing Nie Xian had reached the ninth level of Qi Refining at the age of fourteen, Nie Tian was sincerely happy for him.

He knew very well that the youngsters of the Nie clan who could reach the ninth level of Qi Refining before the age of fifteen, and therefore had the opportunity to pursue their cultivation in the Cloudsoaring sect, were all outstanding elites.

Nie Hong’s two elder brothers, Nie Han and Nie Tai, both showed extraordinary talent when they were young, and had made great gains after their lot-drawing conventions.

However, Nie Tai had failed to reach the ninth level of Qi Refining by fifteen, and thus got rejected by the Cloudsoaring sect.

Only his eldest brother, Nie Han, had managed to break through into the ninth level when he was exactly fifteen and became a disciple of the Cloudsoaring sect.

According to the rumors, Nie Han did quite well after spending several years in the Cloudsoaring sect. Actually, a number of people in the Cloudsoaring sect believed he would have a bright future.

Nie Beichuan being able to get the support of Nie clan’s elders and successfully succeeding as the clanmaster was due to a number of reasons. Besides the fact that Nie Donghai was injured and his cultivation base kept degrading, Nie Han… was also a very important factor.

“Excellent! Good Job!” Nie Beichuan stood amongst the crowd and threw an appreciative look at Nie Xian, then said in a loud voice, “I’ve told all of you that since I’ve become head of the clan, I would spare no effort to make the Nie clan great again! Nie Xian being able to make such a breakthrough and become a disciple of the Cloudsoaring sect is a good omen that our clan is on its way to prosperity!”

A large number of Nie clan members congratulated Nie Beichuan, their faces full of smiles, as if it was his meritorious service that resulted in Nie Xian reaching the ninth level of Qi Refining.

“Haha, it’s all because of the clanmaster!”

“The moment you took over, Nie Xian managed to reach the ninth level of Qi Refining. Obviously, you are the reason the Nie clan is thriving!”

“In your hands, the Nie clan will absolutely reach new heights and crush the Yun clan and the An clan in the near future!”

“... ”

Being in center of the square, Nie Xian was also surrounded by people who congratulated him. However, he kept calm and did nothing but politely express his gratitude. He didn’t appear to be very excited.

Nie Beichuan, however, continued to attempt to win over people’s hearts. “Nie Xian, although you are from an extended branch of our clan, due to your success, your mother and younger sister shall move into the Nie clan mansion, effective immediately. You only need concentrate on your cultivation in the Cloudsoaring sect. With regards to other matters, you don’t need to burden yourself, as I’ll personally make all the appropriate arrangements.”

Nie Xian had a mother and a younger sister. Being from an extended branch and women, they technically shouldn’t have the right to live in the Nie clan mansion.

“Many thanks, clanmaster,” Nie Xian said softly.

“You’re welcome. You’ve earned it.” Nie Beichuan filled his face with a smile, “I’ve already informed the Cloudsoaring sect of your successful breakthrough into the ninth level of Qi Refining. In the afternoon, your eldest brother Nie Han, together with others from the Cloudsoaring sect, will take you to the Cloudsoaring sect. Once you arrive there, all you have to do is follow Nie Han. He has already made all the arrangements for you.”

“I understand,” Nie Xian nodded his head.

Nie Tian stood by himself in a corner of the square as he watched Nie Xian, who was being praised by everyone, and Nie Beichuan, who was proud and full of ambitions.

In that moment, Nie Tian made a promise to himself. “The ninth level of Qi Refining! People from the Cloudsoaring sect will take me to their mountain too, one day!”

At some point, Nie Qian had appeared next to him. “Why are you here?” she said quietly. “This has nothing to do with you. If you want to enter the Cloudsoaring sect, you must work extra hard. You’re almost eleven. Although you’ve made a breakthrough recently, you’ve only reached the fourth level. You cannot waste too much time on irrelevant matters.”

“Auntie, I’ll catch up in the future,” he replied, full of confidence.

“It’s nice you have such confidence.” Nie Qian smiled. “You’ve already been distracted. It will be very noisy in the Nie clan today. People like us, who aren’t welcome here, shouldn’t stay in the clan and become eyesores. Come on, let’s take a walk in the city.”

“Alright.” Nie Tian nodded obediently.

Then he followed Nie Qian out of the Nie clan. They had lunch at a restaurant in Black Cloud City, and later in the afternoon, they went to the biggest jewelry shop in the city to purchase some jewels and accessories.

Just as Nie Tian and Nie Qian walked out of the jewelry shop, the sharp, mean voice of a woman entered their ears. “Yo! Isn’t this the Nie clan’s eldest sister who has been divorced by my husband Zhiguo?”

Nie Tian’s keen perception allowed him to notice that Nie Qian shivered upon hearing the words.

Nie Tian traced the source of the voice and found a man, a woman, and a boy about his age walking towards them. Clearly, they planned to enter the same jewelry shop.

The man was dressed in white, and his face was like a piece of warm jade. His overall appearance was rather elegant and handsome.

The woman had her long hair coiled up and wore a perfectly fit green overskirt. She looked elegant and extraordinary, with a face as pretty as a flower.

The boy, whose hands were held by the couple, seemed to have inherited merits from both his parents. Despite being so young, he was already very good looking.

The man looked a bit guilty when he saw it was Nie Qian, and he tried to pull his wife away.

“What’s the rush?” said young woman, glaring at the man. “What? Don’t tell me that you still have feelings for her!”

“Cut the nonsense,” the man retorted.

“That’s what I thought!” The woman snorted and focused on Nie Qian again. After a derisive laugh, she said, “You’re the Nie clan’s eldest sister, but I heard that your father has lost his position as head of the clan. How come you still have the kind of money to shop for jewelry? Hehe! What precious jewels have you bought? Can I have the honor to take a look?”

“Auntie, are they...?” Nie Tian said angrily.

He wasn’t a child any more. Even though neither Nie Donghai nor Nie Qian had explained the specifics, he had heard many rumors and gossip from other clan members about what happened to his aunt, Nie Qian.

Just like the Nie clan and An clan, the Yun clan was a big clan in Black Cloud City. The Yun clan and the Nie clan had once been close.

Because of that, both families decided to arrange a marriage for their mutual benefit and had Nie Qian marry the Yun clan’s Yun Zhiguo.

However, their marriage didn’t last long, as Yun Zhiguo met Yuan Qiuying while traveling.

Yuan Qiuying was the daughter of the head of the Yuan clan, the most powerful clan in Frost Stone City, who were much stronger than the Nie clan.

Because of the aggressive affections of Yuan Qiuying, and secret push of the Yun clan, Yuan Qiuying eventually became Yun Zhiguo’s wife.

Yun Zhiguo’s original wife, Nie Qian, was framed for a crime she didn’t commit, and they were divorced.

It was an utter humiliation to the Nie clan. Outraged, Nie Donghai had forced his way into the Yun clan over the matter, but was terribly wounded by the powerful experts of the Yun clan and the Yuan clan. After that, he was never able to recover from his injuries.

Both clans were backed by extremely strong Qi warrior sects, so even the Cloudsoaring sect was unwilling to go to war for the Nie clan. Eventually, the Nie clan reluctantly swallowed the bitter result.

Although Yuan Qiuying had successfully forced Nie Qian out of her way, she still couldn’t let go of Yun Zhiguo and Nie Qian’s past. Every time she ran into Nie Qian, she would mock and taunt her, without ever saying a single pleasant word.

Nie Qian grabbed Nie Tian by his arm and tried to pull him away from Yuan Qiuying. “Ignore them. Let’s go.”

“I won’t leave!” Nie Tian said, standing there as unmoving as an iron spear planted into the ground.

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