Chapter 7: The Price of Victory

“How impudent!”

Seeing his grandson getting severely wounded and falling to the ground, Nie Beichuan couldn’t help bolting towards them.

Like a flash of lightning, he rushed over and crouched down next to Nie Hong, then propped him up with his large hands. Next, he pressed his hand against Nie Hong’s sternum.

Nie Hong felt a warm flow of spiritual energy swirling near his sternum, relieving much of his pain. Voice filled with grief, he said, “Grandfather...”

Nie Beichuan lifted his head and coldly eyed Nie Tian, who was still standing in confusion and trying to sense that unknown power within him.

“Bastard!” Ni Beichuan said. “We don’t ban battles between clan members, but who allowed you to make such vicious strikes?”

Before Nie Tian could respond, Nie Beichuan threw a malicious glare at Wu Tao, who seemed completely embarrassed.

“And what about you?” yelled Nie Beichuan. “As our guest elder, what are you doing here?! You clearly saw Nie Tian striking to kill. Why didn’t you stop him immediately? Did we recruit you to do nothing?"

“Well...” Wu Tao smiled bitterly.

Nie Xian couldn’t bear to simply look on, and tried to defend Wu Tao. “Second grandfather, it was Nie Hong who struck first. It wasn’t Mr. Wu’s fault.”

He witnessed the whole thing, down to the smallest detail. When Nie Hong was going to smash against Nie Tian’s heart, Wu Tao looked at Nie Beichuan to find out his opinion, but at that time Nie Beichuan hadn’t said a word and clearly wasn’t going to stop the fight.

Later, when Nie Tian suddenly exploded, as if he had obtained a godly power, everything happened so fast that Wu Tao simply didn’t have enough time to stop it.

After all, Nie Xian was young. Even though he knew defending Wu Tao would result badly, he couldn’t talk himself out of it.

“Who said you were allowed to speak?” Nie Beichuan let out a cold harrumph, glaring at Nie Xian with rage-filled eyes. “Who do you think you are? You are nothing but the child of an extended clan branch. If you want to have the right to speak in the clan, wait until you break into the ninth level of Qi Refining and join the Cloudsoaring sect. Only then will you be allowed to speak to me!"

Hearing these words, Nie Xian’s childish face flushed with a bit of anger.

However, he thought it over and refrained from talking back, because he knew that, just as Wu Tao had said, until he became a disciple of the Cloudsoaring sect, he had almost no influence within the Nie clan..

That was especially so considering that Nie Beichuan would very likely take Nie Donghai’s place and become the head of the Nie clan in a year or two.

Many innocent and right-minded youngsters of the Nie clan had been about to follow Nie Xian and speak the truth. Nie Xian was the most talented among them all and he had the most promising future. Seeing him getting deterred by Nie Beichuan to the point where he didn’t dare to speak any further, they all kept their mouths shut with aggrieved faces.

Nie Tian finally awoke from his confusion. Suddenly understanding the current situation, he straightened his chest and shouted with a righteous tone, “Second grandfather, well... Nie Hong challenged me himself. He was the one who took the initiative to launch strikes at a vital spot, with no regard for clan rules.”

Nie Hong gritted his teeth in fury as he glared at Nie Tian and argued, “Grandfather, I was just trying to scare him. It wasn’t my intention to hurt him badly. I restrained my power and wanted to pull back before my fist reached his chest. I absolutely could never have expected him to take advantage of the opportunity to try to murder me just when I was about to hold back.

“Shameless!” That was what many of the Nie clan children shouted in their hearts, feeling deep disdain toward Nie Hong for twisting the truth.

They all saw with perfect clarity that Nie Hong launched the last attack with eyes full of excitement and ecstasy. Where, in the least bit, was his intention of stopping?

Nie Hong planned to wash off his terrible record against Nie Tian over the years by severely injuring him. Therefore he attacked with full force. How could he possibly give up midway?

“You know exactly what you intended to do!” Nie Tian shouted.

“Shut up!” Nie Beichuan called out in a deep voice and interrupted Nie Tian, before he threw a cold look at Wu Tao and said, “It doesn’t matter what happened in the process. The result is Nie Tian, with total disregard of clan rules, maliciously wounded Nie Hong. Mr. Wu, you are a guest elder of the Nie clan. How should we punish Nie Tian according to clan rules?”

“He should be banished to the mine in the Cloudsoaring Mountain for three years.” Wu Tao replied in a low voice, although his heart was filled helpless bitterness and his eyes full of apologies.

All the Nie clan youngsters, who were originally too afraid to make a sound, couldn’t help but start yelling again upon hearing the punishment, even though many of them had never been overly fond of Nie Tian to begin with.

“Nie Tian is only ten years old!”

“Being exiled to the Cloudsoaring sect’s mine at the age of ten means that he would waste the next three years. His cultivation has already been slow. Squandering three years could completely kill off his chance of being favored by the Cloudsoaring sect.”

“Being banished to the mines at ten, for three years, Nie Tian is really finished.”

“Yeah, there will be no hope of him reaching the ninth level of Qi Refining before the age of 15 and becoming a disciple of the Cloudsoaring sect.”

“It’s not that simple. People die from time to time in that mine. Nie Tian is only ten. He might not even be able to live and get out of there in three years!”

“This is too harsh, isn’t it?”

“... ”

Nie Beichuan looked over at them calmly. “What are you all getting so excited about? What? Do you all want to spend three years in the mine like Nie Tian?”

The indignant youngsters all quieted down after hearing his words, although their faces were full of silent outrage.

“I’ll go!” Nie Tian shouted recklessly. “Three years it is then. No big deal!”

“Mr. Wu, punish him according to clan rules!” Nie Beichuan said indifferently.

At that moment, Nie Donghai finally arrived after rushing down from the high platform of the stone palace. “Second Brother, Nie Tian is still young and naive. Do we really need to do this?”

In the past, he would have been able to take a leap and drop to the square the moment he heard Nie Beichuan announcing the punishment.

But now he had to walk step by step and spend significant time and energy to arrive on the scene before the situation got out of hand.

“Clanmaster,” Wu Tao respectfully said.

Seeing his arrival, many children secretly let out sighs of relief and started yelling.

“Eldest Grandfather.”

“Eldest Grandfather, it’s great that you are here. You have to take the lead in delivering justice.”

“Eldest Grandpa, we saw everything, and that wasn’t the truth.”

Nie Beichuan frowned. Looking very serious, he said, “Eldest brother, a state has its state laws, and a clan also needs clan rules. Even though Nie Tian is young and you are the clanmaster, clan rules should not be broken.”

“I’m no longer the clanmaster,” Nie Donghai said softly.

As soon as these words came out, everyone in the square was suddenly astonished.

Nie Beichuan also got confused, but there was obviously a hint of ecstasy in his eyes, and he said, “Eldest Brother! What do you mean?”

“I’m tired. I don’t have the energy to manage the Nie clan any more. Even you know about my condition. Early on, I wanted to make use of the clan’s power to seek justice for Qian’er and Jin’er, so I was reluctant to give up my position.” Nie Donghai looked despondent. “But I’ve thought it through and I want to give up. In the future… the Nie clan will rely on you, Second Brother.”

“Eldest Brother, how can you do this? You are of noble character and high prestige within the clan, I... ” Nie Beichuan spoke the opposite of his heart’s desire.

Nie Donghai waved his hand and interrupted him with a determined tone, “I’ve made up my mind. I will make an announcement to all the elders. I think they will understand.”

“Well,” Nie Beichuan said slowly, his voice full of affectation. “If Eldest Brother insists, I won’t stand in the way. Please rest assured, Eldest Brother, that I will spare no effort to help Qian’er and Jin’er. I see them as my own children and I will find a way to seek justice for them.”

Nie Donghai looked at him deeply and nodded his head, “Nie Tian is still young, I hope…”

“Forget it,” Nie Beichuan said with a smile. “I have to give face to Eldest Brother. I will not continue to pursue this matter any further.”

“Then it’s settled.” Nie Donghai, exhausted both physically and mentally, turned his head and told Nie Tian, “Come with me.”

As he finished talking, he took the lead in leaving the square. As he walked away, he looked extremely bleak, like a hero past his prime.

Watching him walk away, Wu Tao and the Nie clan’s youngsters knew in their hearts that the era of Nie Donghai had come to an end today.

Nie Tian didn’t say a word. He simply followed Nie Donghai silently, a grim expression spreading across his face.

Right before he disappeared from the square, he paused, turned around, and looked at the high-spirited Nie Beichuan, before secretly clenching his fists.

At the age of ten, his mind was already rather mature. He clearly understood that Nie Donghai voluntarily gave up his position to save him.

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