“What’s that?” Yang Zhan said, heart beginning to pound as he looked at the antidote. “Don’t tell me it’s really…?” Because of his advanced energy arts, his senses were particularly acute, and a single whiff of the aroma of the antidote was enough for him to confirm that it could treat his sons. “Where did you get that?”
“It’s definitely an antidote of some sort,” Yang Qi said. “Whether it can cure eldest brother and second brother, I'm not sure. We’ll just have to try it out. As for how I got it, it was from a seventh phase expert from the House of Shadowblight that I killed….” He tossed the antidote to his father. “I also got some bank notes that should help the clan’s financial situation.”
With that, he went on to offer a description of the fight with the men of the House of Shadowblight, and how he'd saved Yan Feixia.
“Great! Excellent! You’ve done a lot to alleviate the grudge between our bloodline and the city magistrate’s mansion! I've heard of this Yan Feixia. She’s Yan Gufeng’s favorite daughter, and from the time she was young has trained at the True Dragon Institute. Now that she’s back, she’ll definitely have a very high standing in the Yan Clan.”
As Yang Zhan spoke, he took the bank notes and copper bell that Yang Qi offered him, and continued to speak. “Golden Bell Rampart is a first-class energy art. If an ordinary person got it and mastered it, he could found a new clan. Altogether, this is about six or seven hundred thousand energy convergence pills’ worth of wealth. That’s almost a year of profit for the Yang Clan! This will definitely alleviate some of the crisis.”
“Father, what about the antidote?”
Of course, that was what Yang Qi was most concerned about.
Yang Zhan sent some energy into the snuff bottle, as well as some of the toxic energy he had extracted earlier. When he saw that the antidote completely dispelled the toxic energy, he said, “It can definitely help your brothers drive the toxic energy out….”
Not hesitating any further, he drew upon his energy arts to transform the antidote into two streams of smoke that pierced into his sons’ bodies, causing them to tremble visibly.
Upon seeing that, Yang Qi sent some of his true energy into his brothers, hoping to assist them in building back up their vital energy. After all, the serious nature of their poisoning meant that their vital energy had been severely damaged and reduced.
Face covered with a look of shock, his eldest brother said, “Third Brother, your energy arts are so powerful!”
Based on the level of his own energy arts, he could tell that his third brother’s energy flowed through his meridians like a massive river. Although the energy it contained was not as pure and refined as their father’s, it was the type that could cause virtually all living beings to bow in submission.
A short time later, the toxic energy was completely removed, and his true energy was thrumming with vitality. Rising to his feet, he said, “Recovered at last!”
“Same here,” the second brother said, similarly leaping up, his true energy surging. In fact, there was also a popping sound as his energy arts unexpectedly broke through into the fifth phase, the Energy Eruption level. “Third Brother, thanks to you, I just broke through! Getting struck by lightning was really a blessing in disguise for you. With energy arts like yours, you’re a true blessing to our Yang Clan!”
“Eldest Brother, Second Brother, not only have you recovered, you've also made progress! In the future, no one will dare to underestimate the direct bloodline of the Yang Clan! We might still be facing a financial crisis, but as long as we’re alive, we can make a comeback.”
“That’s right, Third Brother. From here on out, let’s all work as hard as we can to help father get us back on track financially….” The three brothers reached out with their right hands and clasped each other by the wrists, formalizing their resolve.
Yang Zhan gazed at his sons with a broad, pleased smile. Regardless, after a moment, a serious expression once again took over his face. “Boys, I’ve uncovered the truth of who has been opposing us. The House of Shadowblight has formed an alliance with another of the aristocratic clans of Yanhaven, the Chen Clan. In the past, they never had what it took to make a move against us. But they saw the incident with Qi’er as an opportunity to hatch a plot.”
Yang Qi’s eldest brother, Yang Yunchong, said, “Father, there’s something I've been wondering about. Our Yang Clan is clearly the strongest clan in Yanhaven, and although it’s common for there to be friction between the big clans, it doesn’t seem to me that we've reached the point where open conflict is appropriate. Are they really not worried about us fighting back?” 
Yang Qi had also considered this issue.
After a moment of thought, Yang Zhan said, “It's because of your aunt. It’s been years since she joined the top organization in the Rich-Lush Continent, the Demi-Immortal Institute. She has a good reputation there, and is considered to be a genius when it comes to energy arts. Because of how important the institute views her, she’s become a valuable target for certain parties. Of course, they can’t make a move on her in the Demi-Immortal Institute itself, and therefore, they’re targeting the clan. Obviously, they hoped that she would be informed, and then rush back here to help, only to fall into their trap.”
‘So that’s what's going on….’ the three brothers all thought, their eyes flickering with understanding.
Yang Qi suddenly thought back to the young girl he remembered, and how she would often feed him when he was a child.
‘If you don’t eat your dinner, Yang Qi, I'm going to spank you!’ He could see her pigtails swaying back and forth as she blew on his soup spoon, worried that the hot liquid might burn him.
‘No! I don’t want to eat dinner!’ he would pout, stomping his feet. ‘I want to play!’
Those were the type of memories he had of his aunt.
Now, ten years had passed, and he didn’t even know what she looked like, or how advanced her cultivation base was.
“So what do we do now, father?” asked the second brother, whose name was Yang Hualong. 
“We wait patiently and watch how the situation develops. In the meantime, we do our best to get the clan businesses back in operation. I’ll leave that to the two of you. As for me, I’ll focus fully on cultivation, and trying to break through to the ninth phase. Qi’er, you also focus on your cultivation, but take some time to go for a visit to the city magistrate’s mansion. The fact that you saved Yan Feixia means that our relationship with them has changed.”
“Yes, sir!” the three brothers shouted, their hearts brimming with excitement regarding the future of the clan.
After a moment of silence, Yang Zhan could see Yang Qi’s guilt written on his face, and said, “Don’t blame yourself for what's happened, Qi’er. Although your reckless action of stealing that Latent Dragon Pill led to a whole series of unfortunate events, some good also came of it. For one thing, we lured our enemies out of the shadows. Without that development, our clan, and your aunt as well, would have been in great danger, and yet completely unaware of it.”
“Alright….” Yang Qi said, his negative feelings fading a bit. “However, I’ll never forget the fact that Princess Yun Hailan of Yundale-by-the-Sea tricked me into stealing that pill, thus leading our clan into great harm. One day I will definitely get revenge for that. In fact, I also suspect that Yun Hailan has it out for my aunt. That’s probably why she targeted me to begin with, which would indicate that she’s in league with the House of Shadowblight….. Oh, right. I forgot to mention that when I was beaten by Song Haishan, he said that Yun Hailan was going to join the Demi-Immortal Institute.”
Yang Zhan was an experienced and insightful man, so after hearing this new information from Yang Qi, said, “That’s a distinct possibility. If that’s the case, then I’d say it's highly likely your aunt has an enemy within the Demi-Immortal Institute itself, plotting against her.”
“Father,” Yang Qi said, “if you can advance your cultivation to the Master of Energy level, then couldn’t you join the Demi-Immortal Institute as well, and offer some support to aunt?”
Yang Zhan shook his head. Waving his hand dismissively, he said, “In the Rich-Lush Continent, the Master of Energy level is so high that such individuals can command entire cities. Armies even. They are subjects of universal esteem, and some are even appointed as nobility by the Sage Ancestor Dynasty. However, in the Demi-Immortal Institute, they aren’t as special. The only way to be looked up to there is to break out of the Energy Arts level, and seize life from the heavens. Boys, you three catch up with each other. I'm going into seclusion to try to achieve my breakthrough.”
Yang Zhan gave the bank notes and the copper bell to Yang Yunchong, and then the three brothers left.
Yang Yunchong and Yang Hualong would be responsible for getting clan affairs back in order, leaving Yang Qi free to focus on cultivation. After all, he had only three months until the autumn hunt, which was his deadline to surpass Yang Honglie.
Although the direct bloodline had experienced a financial catastrophe, with the wealth Yang Qi had acquired, they were now at least capable of making a comeback.
Late that night, in the city magistrate’s mansion, a middle-aged man sat in a certain room, a look of delight on his face. This man’s energy surged even stronger than Yang Zhan’s, and behind him was a burning sphere of energy from within which stepped numerous humanoid figures that almost looked like gods or spirits.
This man was in the Master of Energy level, making him a grandmaster of energy arts.
He could use Humanoid True Energy at will to create incarnations and clones, could attack with lightning-like speed, could track enemies by following their souls, and could fuse with heaven and earth.
This man ruled all of the countless smaller cities and towns in the Yanhaven region, making him a leader to millions and millions of individuals. His name: Yan Gufeng. 
Just like the characters in his name, he really did look like a lonely mountain peak, rising high into the azure sky, extraordinary in all aspects.
When a voice echoed into his ears, an excited, fatherly smile broke out on his face.
“Daddy, I'm back.”
“Is that you, Xia’er?” Drawing on his energy arts, he waved his hand, and the door to the chamber opened. “Hurry inside and let me have a look at you. You’ve been gone for ten years! How has your cultivation progressed at the True Dragon Institute?”
Yan Feixia hurried in, dropped to her knees before her father, and kowtowed respectfully. “Father, it's so good to see that you’re in good health.”
“There’s no need for all that bowing….” All of a sudden, a flash of anger appeared on Yan Gufeng’s face. “What’s wrong? Have you been in a fight recently? Were you accosted on the way here?”
Rising to her feet, Yan Feixia said, “Yes, Father. I was ambushed by people from the House of Shadowblight. They set up a trap by the Yan River.”
With that, she offered a few more details.
A cracking sound could be heard as the crystal goblet Yan Gufeng had been holding shattered into dust. “How dare the House of Shadowblight attempt to harm my daughter! And what gall they have to operate within the vicinity of Yanhaven. Do they really think the Yan Clan is powerless to retaliate?”
“Father, the House of Shadowblight is a huge organization, and they operate in the shadows. They’re one of the most powerful poison sects in the west. You can’t underestimate them, Father, nor do anything rash. I’ll report this matter to the True Dragon Institute after I return. By the way, Father, I had help dealing with the men of the House of Shadowblight. A friend who casually slaughtered all of their experts.”
Looking surprised, Yan Gufeng said, “You had help? Who was it?”
Baby Deathblade is getting bigger and bigger. We took him to a movie at the theater for the first time yesterday, and he really liked it. It's hard to believe he's already three years old. I can remember the day I held him in my arms for the first time, and then went to post a chapter of ISSTH when he fell asleep. Time flies!