A/N: Look, Nik might become cold to strangers, but I am not a cold-hearted youth who had an a-hole of a past. I am a weak-ass guy from Earth, so please do not criticize what I am about to do.
Du Ze helped his mother, who stumbled across the school property with a satisfied expression. She was satisfied with her life. Not only Du Ze's life did not degrade, but instead, he made his parents and ancestors proud. Unlike a Du Que, who possessed a slightly terrifying martial spirit Slaughter Condor, her son possessed a much modest martial spirit that did not corrupt his young body. As the thought passed her mind, Du Que broke into a coughing fit!
Her knees felt wobbly, and even after Du Ze's support, she collapsed on the ground while coughing in a deranged manner. Her chest hurt a lot, and she couldn't help but clutch Du Ze's palm tightly. She was going to die! Du Que understood that, but Du Ze could not be more frightened in his entire life, and he instantly placed the mother in his lap while asking her out anxiously, "Mother! Mother!"
He cried out, and the moment he saw the first of the long stream of nobles reaching for the classroom, he begged for their support loudly!
"Please! Lords! Save my mother! Please!"
The phantom of the Slaughter Condor materialized over Du Que's body, painting the fact that what Du Que was afflicted with was indeed the taint of her martial spirit and the nobility who wished to help Du Ze lost their hope instantly. Each martial spirit needs slightly compatible spirit rings to cultivate. While this increased the strength of the host, the spirit rings also acted as leashes set upon the martial spirit by the hosts.
There was no way they could bring a Slaughter Condor here, butcher it and let Du Que absorb its spirit ring. It wasn't a matter of cost but the rarity of the spirit!
As Du Ze felt his hope turning into indignant despair, a palm gripped on his shoulders, and when the tearful Du Ze turned his gaze back, he found a smiling Nie Li.
"Brother, letting you lose your mother is something I won't allow!"
"Ning'er is quite sincere in her studies," Xiu began with her expression softening slightly, "But it is due to your incompetence that Ning'er has been unable to achieve her full potential."
Ning'er and her father sweatdropped as Nik couldn't suppress his groan and rolled his eyes, "What teacher Xiu means to say is that slight adjustments in your routine are to be made to assist Ning'er's growth."
Xiao Yunfeng, Ning'er's father, hesitated after hearing Nik's explanation. Ning'er is a sincere child, and she never tried to burden the family with her requirements. She was already growing into a self-sufficient child. And, with the recent economic hits to the family, Yunfeng did not have a shred of time to spend on matters other than the stability of his family. If it weren't for that fact, he would have never agreed to wed his daughter into the Sacred Family even if this agreement is merely a verbal one.
"What type of adjustments?"
Yunfeng asked candidly. The youth in front of him was also his Ning'er's master. His competence known, and his reputation widespread.
"First of all," Nik began and looked towards Ning'er, "You have to start paying attention to your daughter's growth. As she is now, she would benefit from your interjections every now and then."
Yunfeng's expression grew grim, something that stung Xiu more than it should as she sneered, "What? Can't you even do that?"
Her expression finally broked all the professional decorum as Ning'er's expression changed. She felt a bout of rage as Nik sighed. Xiu just made the entire conversation personal, "Please"
"Teacher Xiu, if it weren't for your Sacred Family, my father would not have felt so burdened!"
Ning'er slammed her palm and raised her flaring gaze to match Xiu's cold gaze. As the sudden yell attracted the other nobles present, they failed to notice the entrance of Shen Yue and an Old Man. Meanwhile, Xiu sneered, oblivious to the newcomer's presence, "Sacred Family's fault?" Xiu questioned softly as if inquiring herself before shaking her head. Composure returned, and her coldness receded, "Does it matter? Who's in the wrong? Who's the victim?"
Xiu's gaze nailed Ning'er. There has always been tension in between the two due to their family's situation, "You are not the victim. You couldn't have asked for more in your life, so don't make me laugh.
If you're going to act like a kid, then keep your thoughts limited and mind narrowed. The world of a.d.u.l.ts is not for someone of your caliber."
Xiu spoke candidly. Yunfeng, on the other hand, couldn't help but feel slightly embarrassed by Ning'er's outrage. Sacred Family did conspire, but his own narrow thoughts committed the ultimate downfall of his family.
"Enough," Nik spoke up as Ning'er's teary eyes fell on Nik. She lowered her head, "... ry," she whispered almost inaudibly as Yunfeng and the two teachers looked towards Ning'er.
Suddenly, the orange-haired girl stood up with her heart overwhelmed by Xiu's words and her face marred by tears, "Teacher Nik and Teacher Shen have a thing!"
She yelled loudly, letting all her vindictive feelings burst out before Ning'er turned on her heels and ran away, leaving the stunned classroom speechless!
Nik's lips parted for a moment, unable to process the situation.
"A martial spirit's taint is corruption that affects the roots of one's soul," Nie Li had used his minuscule spiritual energy to appease the Slaughter Condor spirit within Du Que as Du Ze kept on looking with a worried expression. Nie Li traced Du Que's slightly wrinkled forehead and used his spiritual energy as a makeshift ink to inscribe a pattern on her body.
The process was long and c.u.mbersome, but the effects were quick! Color returned to Du Que's face as her expression eased. Meanwhile, Nie Li's forehead was already filled with sweat. It was hard to inscribe a Martial Spirit Tempering Inscription without proper materials, but he bit his lips and then continued to engrave a seal on her spiritual world until she absorbs one spirit ring successfully.
Nie Li exhaled sharply and then turned his head to smile at Du Ze, "She should be fine for now. I have a few recipes that can help her, so don't worry!"
Du Ze nodded softly and knelt near her mother. They were already in Du Ze's dorm room, so the trio did not attract unwanted attention.
Nie Li interjected before Du Ze could complete, "We are brothers! No need for words of thanks!"
He smacked the back of Du Ze's head weakly before looking towards the peacefully sleeping Du Que, "And, we will capture a spirit beast for her, too. Don't worry."
Du Ze nodded with a determined expression as he finally decided to support Nie Li in all his endeavors!
The situation of the classroom grew worse by the passing time. Xiu was already pale while Yunfeng hurriedly left after his daughter. The circ.u.mstances became grim when an old man with a wrinkled face and a dark expression pulled a terrified Shen Yue towards the table. His figure finally attracted the attention of the surrounding nobility, and they finally reassessed the implications of the information that Ning'er just relayed to everyone.
Even Xiu trembled when she finally located the old man, and her lips dried out quickly. A whisper eventually leaked through her mouth as Nik raised his eyebrow.
"... Elder brother..."
The man held the Sacred Family from its neck and seeded the martial talent named Shen Yue.
Shen Hong, the Patriarch of the Sacred Family, took the seat in front of Xiu and gestured Shen Yue to sit beside him. His raspy voice finally broked the silent surroundings, "Teacher Nik, our meeting is long overdue."
Strangely, Nik did not say anything, and plucked a single strand of his hair before placing it on the table and spoke seriously, "Verify that you are indeed Lord Shen."
All the guests froze once again.