"One of my seniors is an old acquaintance of Senior Ao's, so I did see him from afar a few times," the man replied in an ambiguous manner.
"Oh? Then do you know why Senior Ao could be looking for you?" the middle-aged woman asked.
"How would I know? I'm just as confused as you are, Fellow Daoist. Also, Senior Ao didn't just ask to see me on my own; he instructed both myself and Brother Luo to go and see him, so he must have something to tell us," the man replied with a shake of his head.
The middle-aged woman merely smiled and didn't pry any further into the matter.
Following Patriarch Ao Xiao's departure, the rest of the people in the hall didn't have any intention of staying behind, either. After continuing their discussion for a short while longer, the white-haired elderly man announced the conclusion of the meeting, and everyone departed from the hall.
Meanwhile, the red-haired man had already taken Patriarch Ao Xiao and Silvermoon to a secluded area on the island.
Not only was this the area on the island with the greatest abundance of spiritual Qi, there were seven or eight independent pavilions that were spaced out very far apart from one another.
Not only were these pavilions extremely intricate and well constructed, they each had a designated tool refinement chamber, pill refinement chamber, and secret chamber for cultivation purposes.
After leading Patriarch Ao Xiao to this place, the red-haired man asked him to choose a pavilion himself, only for Patriarch Ao Xiao to merely pick a pavilion at random.
The red-haired man naturally didn't dare to state any objections, and after organizing a group of servants for him and Silvermoon, he immediately departed.
Patriarch Ao Xiao sat on the main seat in the hall and raised a hand in an expressionless manner to dismiss the servants in the room. Thus, he and Silvermoon were the only people left in the hall.
He sat on his chair in silence and narrowed his eyes slightly, seemingly contemplating something. All the while, Silvermoon stood peacefully beside him, content to remain silent as well.
"At your current cultivation base, there's no reason why you shouldn't have made a breakthrough to the Body Integration Stage with all of the pills I've given to you. However, you've failed thrice in the past century; it seems that the only thing holding you back is your inability to get over your own inner demons. If you fail another breakthrough attempt, then you'll most likely find it very difficult to ever make a breakthrough," Patriarch Ao Xiao suddenly said.
Silvermoon lowered her head slightly, and replied, "Sorry for disappointing you with my incompetence, Grandfather."
"Looks like it'll be very difficult for you to undo the knot in our heart. Ever since you returned from that lower realm, you've given Tian Kui the cold shoulder and even moved in to live with me. I've never forced you to tell me the reason for this, and I haven't forced you to return to Tian Kui, either, as I wanted you to iron out your own mental state. However, not only has your mental state not improved, the knot in your heart has only grown more convoluted during these past years," Ao Xiao sighed with a shake of his head, and even though the tone he was using was quite benevolent, the faint tinge of disappointment in his voice was still quite apparent.
"Grandfather, Tian Kui and I..." Silvermoon raised her head to argue something, but Patriarch Ao Xiao merely raised a hand to cut her off.
"There's no need for you to explain anything; I know what you want to say. Tian Kui took advantage of my time in seclusion to break his promise to me, planning to harvest your Origin Yin Physique even before you had reached the Body Integration Stage. He failed to do that, so he employed other underhanded methods to split your soul into two, causing you to suffer through the agony of a split soul for over 1,000 years. After that, you descended into that lower realm, and then he tampered with the Star Defying Plate so that you couldn't return to the Spirit Realm in time; do you really need me to run through everything he did?" A furious look suddenly appeared on Patriarch Ao Xiao's face as he spoke, and he slammed his hand down onto the copper armrest of his chair.
A burst of white flames flashed, and the armrest was completely erased from existence.
"You know about all of this, Grandfather?" Silvermoon shuddered as her face paled drastically.
"Hmph, do you really think I'm so old and senile that I don't even know when someone's mistreating my granddaughter? If it weren't for the fact that I don't have much time left and he's the only junior I can entrust the wolf race to, I would've tortured him to death long ago!" Patriarch Ao Xiao harrumphed coldly.
Silvermoon's face paled even further upon hearing this, and a wry smile appeared on her face as she said, "The blame can't be entirely pinned on him. Technically, I'm his main concubine, and his cultivation base hadn't progressed in many years. He knew that my Origin Yin Physique could help him break through his bottleneck, so it's inevitable that he would try something."
"You're still speaking out for his sake? Before you married him, you were already the holy maiden of our Silvermoon Race. Prior to attaining full mastery of that Silvermoon Cultivation Art, your lifespan would be significantly cut short if you were to lose your virginity; there's no way that he wouldn't have been aware of this. On top of that, after he married you, he took on many more concubines and never considered your feelings. It seems that ever since he became a demon monarch, he's forgotten that our Silvermoon Race is the premier branch of the wolf race. If it weren't for the fact that all of my juniors possess lackluster cultivation aptitude and none of them have reached the Body Integration Stage, there's no way I would've resorted to assisting an outsider like him to become the wolf monarch." A cold look appeared in Patriarch Ao Xiao's eyes as he spoke.
Silvermoon bit down on her lower lip, but heaved a faint sigh and remained silent in the end.
"However, following the ordeal that you suffered in that lower realm, you awakened your Seven Star Moon Physique, so that's an unexpected silver lining on the situation. With your past cultivation aptitude, the Spatial Tempering Stage would've been your limit, but with this Seven Star Moon Physique, it's not impossible for you to reach the Grand Ascension Stage in the future. I didn't possess exceptional cultivation aptitude in my youth, either; only after awakening the same physique was I able to reach my current cultivation base." Patriarch Ao Xiao's eyes gradually began to light up as he spoke.
However, Silvermoon's face remained deathly pale as she shook her head in response. "I would rather not have this physique if it means I could've avoided the ordeal I had to go through."
"I know you've been through a lot these past years, but seeing as you now have the potential to progress to the Body Integration Stage, I can cast aside the inhibitions I once had. Tian Kui had better pray that he perishes in battle against the devilish army. Otherwise, once the devilish tribulation ends, I'll subject him to a fate worse than death!"
Silvermoon's heart jolted with shock upon hearing this. "You don't mean..."
Patriarch Ao Xiao continued, "There's no rule prohibiting a woman from becoming one of the seven demon monarchs. I had always been reluctant to make an outsider the wolf monarch, and Tian Kui has betrayed my trust, so I'm naturally going to strip him of the title of wolf monarch."
Silvermoon's mouth gaped open upon hearing this, and only after a long while did she murmur in response, "That doesn't seem to be appropriate."
Patriarch Ao Xiao reverted back to his usual calm expression, but his voice cooled significantly as he asked, "Why is that? I'm not plotting against Tian Kui for no reason; he only has himself to blame for what he's done to you. Are you still harboring feelings toward him?"
Silvermoon hesitated momentarily before replying with a wry smile, "Of course I no longer harbor any feelings for him after what he did to me; it's just that even though I've attained this physique, there's still no guarantee that I'll be able to progress to the Body Integration Stage. If I fail to do so, then our wolf race will still need Tian Kui as our leader."
"Indeed, it seems you won't be able to progress to the Body Integration Stage so long as you're unable to overcome your inner demons. Now that we're in the midst of this devilish tribulation, we can't afford to wait for you to make slow and steady progress. If something were to happen to me during this devilish tribulation, you would be in an extremely perilous situation. So be it, I'll have to make an exception and do something drastic. Take a look at what's in this jade slip," Patriarch Ao Xiao sighed with furrowed brows before suddenly opening his mouth to expel an azure jade slip that hovered toward Silvermoon.
Silvermoon was a little perplexed, but she still caught the jade slip before pressing it against her own forehead.
After injecting her spiritual sense into the jade slip, she immediately exclaimed, "Art of Indifference?"
"That's right. This Art of Indifference is an ancient secret technique that I stumbled upon many years ago. Not only is it extremely powerful, cultivating it will have incredible effects on one's mental state. If you decide to cultivate it, I'll use other secret techniques to help you achieve elementary mastery of this art as quickly as possible. That'll most likely be enough to iron out the flaws in your mental state, and a breakthrough to the Body Integration Stage should be all but assured at that point. However, as the name of the cultivation art suggests, using it will inflict upon your severe side-effects. Apparently, as one progresses in this cultivation art, their emotions and desires will gradually fade, and they could even become completely non-existent once full mastery is achieved. That's not too much of an issue, but the most important thing is that the cultivation method of this secret technique is rather extreme, and it'll most likely have a severe impact on your progression to the Grand Ascension Stage in the future. I'll let you weigh up the pros and cons involved for yourself," Patriarch Ao Xiao said with a slightly conflicted expression.
Silvermoon's expression changed several times upon hearing this, and she seemed to be rather hesitant.
As for Patriarch Ao Xiao, he slowly closed his eyes and didn't say anything further, waiting patiently for Silvermoon to make a decision.
After a long while, Silvermoon removed the jade slip from her forehead and lowered her head to contemplate her options.
After a while longer, she seemed to have made a decision, and she adopted a serious expression as she asked, "Grandfather, will this secret technique really allow me to progress to the Body Integration Stage prior to our final battle against the devilish army?"
Patriarch Ao Xiao reopened his eyes, and replied, "I can't make any guarantees, but there's at least a 70% to 80% chance that it will. Otherwise, I wouldn't be bringing it out for your consideration. Having said that, there's no hurry; you can think about this for a few days before getting back to me."Previous Chapter Next Chapter