At the Nie clan’s main gate, all the clansmen, led by Nie Beichuan, were looking at Nie Donghai and Nie Qian with all kinds of expressions.
Nie Beichuan’s face was cold and expressionless. A hint of a cold smile could be seen at the corner of clan elder Nie Feiyun’s mouth, as if he was secretly pleased.
Some of the other clan elders, however, had complicated looks in their eyes, as if they felt guilty inside, but still couldn’t say anything.
Most of the clansmen were here to see them off, after learning that Nie Donghai and Nie Qian were about to go and beg for forgiveness from the Cloudsoaring sect. Their gaze was somewhat indignant and helpless as they looked towards the father and daughter.
Having realized that the result was certain, Nie Donghai behaved very calmly, and didn’t start a fight with Nie Beichuan and his flunkies in front of all the clansmen.
The oldest clan elder Nie Yaozu pondered for a bit and said, “Donghai, don’t you worry too much about this trip to the Cloudsoaring sect. You’ve done a good job working for the Cloudsoaring sect for all these years. They... may not necessarily punish you for the accident at the mine.”
Nie Yaozu believed that the vanishing of all the Flamecloud gems in the mine could have just been an accident and probably had nothing to do with Nie Qian.
However, since someone had to atone for the accident to the Cloudsoaring sect, he had also deemed Nie Donghai to be the most suitable man to take the blame, considering that he was no longer the clanmaster, and probably wouldn’t be able to make any more contributions to the Nie clan with his degrading health.
But actually, deep down, he felt somewhat sorry towards Nie Donghai and Nie Qian. Only because of that did he say a few words of consolation.
“I understand,” Nie Donghai nodded briefly and said. “I’ll go to the Cloudsoaring sect to beg for their forgiveness. But Nie Tian is still young. If I were to receive punishments and can’t return, I hope you can take care of him for me, considering what I’m doing for the clan today.”
“You can be assured of that.” Nie Yaozu promised.
With nothing more to say, Nie Donghai turned around, and was about to set off with Nie Qian.
At this very moment, Nie Tian bolted out of the clan gate, yelling.
Under the clansmen’s gazes, he stopped in front of Nie Donghai and Nie Qian, blocking their way, and said, “I’ll take full responsibility of the accident at the Flamecloud gem mine and go beg for forgiveness from the Cloudsoaring sect!”
“Little Tian!” Nie Qian snapped. “What are you doing? You’re not helping. Go back, now!”
Nie Donghai gave him a hard look and berated, “The reason I didn’t go to see you was that I didn’t want you to be distracted. Don’t behave so immaturely!”
Nie Tian didn’t back down because of their words. Instead, he stood straight like a mountain, raised his chin towards Nie Beichuan, and said, “Clanmaster, my grandfather is in his old years, and won’t be able to withstand the anger of the Cloudsoaring sect. Moreover, I happened to be there when the mining accident occurred. If the clan needs to find a scapegoat for it, I’ll go!”
“How impudent!” Nie Beichuan let out a cold harrumph. “What do you mean ‘find a scapegoat’? Sure, you were there with Nie Qian when the changes occurred in the mine, however, on what account do you think that you caused the changes? Plus, what are you? How old are you? Wouldn’t it be a humiliation to the Nie clan if we give you to the Cloudsoaring sect? Wouldn’t the Cloudsoaring sect think that we’re taking them as fools?”
A few clan elders joined Nie Beichuan, and berated Nie Tian harshly.
“Nie Tian! Cut the nonsense! You shouldn’t be here!”
“Exactly! It’s a joke to send a child to the Cloudsoaring sect!”
“Get out of here, now!”
They had just gone to great lengths to persuade Nie Donghai and Nie Qian to take the blame. How could they allow Nie Tian to tamper with their plan?
The way they saw it, Nie Tian’s words were merely a joke.
Only Nie Tian himself knew that the changes that had occurred in the mine were indeed caused by him.
He could never tell them that it was his dragon bone that had drained every wisp of the flame power of every Flamecloud gem in the mine, reducing them to rubble.
Yet, there was no way that he could sit back and watch his grandfather and aunt bear the Cloudsoaring sect’s anger because of something he had caused.
Nie Donghai’s third brother, Nie Nanshan looked incensed as he ordered his son to take Nie Tian back inside. “Nie Qiu! Take Nie Tian back! Don’t let people laugh at our clan!”
At that time, a lot of commoners of Black Cloud City had heard the disturbance, and quietly converged on the main gate of the Nie clan.
In just a few moments, dozens of people were gathered by the gate.
“Nie Tian! Get back inside!” Nie Donghai said with a stern face.
“NO!” Nie Tian shook his head and blurted. “I’ll take the blame from the Cloudsoaring sect!”
With these words, he strode outward before Nie Qiu could grab him.
At that time, Pan Tao’s voice echoed out from behind the crowd of people.
“Nie Tian! What the hell are you doing? I’ve come all this way from the Spiritual Treasure sect. You won’t leave just like that without even greeting me, will you?”
Nie Tian was taken aback, and looked in confusion in the direction that Pan Tao’s voice had come from, searching for him.
“Give way!” An explosive shout echoed out from behind the crowd.
All of a sudden, the crowd burst into clamor. At the source of Pan Tao’s voice, many onlookers stepped back, clearing out a wide path.
“It’s the master of the An clan, An Rong!”
“The master of the An clan is here!”
In the next moment, Nie Tian saw Pan Tao and a middle-aged man with similar looks pace towards him under the escort of the master of the An clan, An Rong.
An Rong was in his sixties, tall and with a long beard. He was now wearing a long face, looking formidable without being angry.
After giving way to him, many commoners of Black Cloud City briefly bowed and greeted him with flattering smiles on their faces.
“Greetings, Master An.”
“Good day, Master An.”
“Long time no see, Master An.”
An Rong completely ignored everyone’s greetings as he respectfully led the middle-aged man beside Pan Tao towards the place where the Nie clan members were gathered.
Among the three major clans in Black Cloud City, the strength of the An clan had always ranked first, a ranking that had never changed for decades.
In the eyes of most people in Black Cloud City, An Rong was actually the master of Black Cloud City, and therefore the most powerful person there.
Everyone was puzzled to see that he had come to the Nie clan, and even more so when they saw him leading the way for a stranger.
“An Rong, what are you doing here?” Nie Beichuan’s words sounded somewhat lacking in confidence. However, from their titles, he was actually on equal footing with An Rong.
The bad-tempered An Rong immediately lashed out. “Nie Beichuan, is Black Cloud City your personal property? Do I have to inform you beforehand every time I take a walk in Black Cloud City?”
Nie Beichuan simmered with rage, yet he could do nothing about it. “Well, we didn’t invite you here!”
“I wouldn’t go to your shithole clan even if you did invite me!” An Rong sneered. “Ever since your brother got injured, your clan has been in a complete mess! Endless internal disputes. You find that interesting, don’t you?”
“That’s none of your business!” Nie Beichuan retorted.
“Hahaha, who said I give a damn!” An Rong replied tauntingly. “I heard that you people ruined the Cloudsoaring sect’s mine? Well, I’m going to have so much fun watching how that turns out! The moment you became the clanmaster, that mine collapsed! That’s a pretty bad sign!
“Your clan’s livelihood depends on that mine. Now that it has collapsed, I’m afraid it won’t be long before your position collapses with it.”
An Rong burst out into laughter, as he only attacked Nie Beichuan’s sore points without giving him any face.
Many of the surrounding onlookers pondered over his words, and thought he actually made some sense.
Even some members of the Nie clan secretly agreed with An Rong, and started to suspect that it was because of Nie Beichuan’s bad luck that the mine had suddenly collapsed immediately after he had become the clanmaster.
“Cut the nonsense!” Nie Beichuan fumed with anger, glaring furiously. Yet, he couldn’t find a way to refute.
At that time, the middle-aged man and Pan Tao had already walked to Nie Tian’s side.
“Nie Tian, this is my father.” Pan Tao pointed at the man beside him, and smiled as he introduced him. After that, he pointed at Nie Tian and said, “Father, this is my good bro Nie Tian.”
Nie Tian quickly bowed. “Nice to meet you, Uncle Pan.”
Pan Bai smiled, and with a gentle tone, he said, “The moment Little Tao returned to the Spiritual Treasure sect, he urged me to come to Black Cloud City with him. On our way here, he told me how you two fought shoulder to shoulder and went through desperate occasions together in the Green Illusion dimension. He really has a high opinion of you.”
Someone in the crowd, who had his eyes fixed on Pan Bai the moment Pan Bai showed up, finally remembered his identity.
“Pan Bai!” the man cried out. “He’s the Pan Bai from the Spiritual Treasure sect! Years ago, it was he who came to take An Shiyi to the Spiritual Treasure sect! And he’s the son of the great elder Pan Hongzhen!
“He’s in charge of recruitment for the Spiritual Treasure sect. He seems to be at the late-stage of Heaven stage!
“How come he’s in Black Cloud City?
Every member of the Nie clan, including Nie Donghai was suddenly enlivened. Eyes filled with disbelief, they simultaneously gazed toward Pan Bai.
As of that moment, they finally understood why An Rong was so respectful towards this person.
Even with An Shiyi in the Spiritual Treasure sect, the An clan was still a subordinate clan. However, Pan Bai was one of the core figures in the Spiritual Treasure sect, whose father’s status was only second to the sectmaster.
An Rong stopped ridiculing the long-faced Nie Beichuan, turned to Nie Donghai and solemnly said, “Nie Donghai, you’re in luck. Mr. Pan has come to Black Cloud City for Nie Tian. Mr. Pan is in charge of recruiting promising youngsters for the Spiritual Treasure sect. As long as he has his eyes on the child, he doesn’t need to be at the ninth level of Qi Refining to be admitted as a disciple.
“He’s here is to take Nie Tian to the Spiritual Treasure sect, just like when he admitted An Shiyi from our clan.”
Upon hearing these words, every onlooker, including the members of the Nie clan, immediately burst into an uproar.Previous Chapter Next Chapter