Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
At the Xiao clan’s manor in Emperor Xia’s Realm.
Xiao Sheng was training in silence. Someone came, and Xiao Sheng opened his eyes. It turned out to be his father, Xiao Qianhe.
Xiao Qianhe looked at his son, whom he had once placed high hopes in. He had hoped that one day, Xiao Sheng would be able to be in charge of the Xiao clan.
As such, Xiao Qianhe did everything he could to lay out the path for his son, hoping that Xiao Sheng would enter the royal palace and be put at Xia Qingyuan’s side to serve her, thus getting as close as possible to the center of political power.
However, everything changed when Ye Futian came into the picture. Xiao Sheng did something stupid during the Battle of the Empty Realm. The matter would have been settled if Ye Futian had died, yet none from Emperor Li’s Realm proved capable of killing Ye Futian, and that failure came with the cost of having Xiao Sheng’s future cut right off.
In a conversation that followed at a later date, Xiao Sheng seemed to have been able to guess Ye Futian’s whereabouts, and things happened in Emperor Xia’s Realm.
No one else from the Xiao clan knew about it, but Xiao Qianhe knew a thing or two.
As such, Xiao Qianhe came to understand that Xiao Sheng had something to do with what happened. There was no denying it.
“Ye Futian has returned,” Xiao Qianhe said. The corner of Xiao Sheng’s eye twitched.
He actually made it back alive? he thought.
It seems like no one can kill him, then.
Never mind, it’s not like the matter has concluded.
“The princess received him personally outside the royal palace. Furthermore, she sent people down to the Lower Worlds,” Xiao Qianhe continued. With Ye Futian back, there was no need to hide anything anymore. Everything could have been laid out in the open, and Xiao Qianhe was naturally able to learn what transpired.
“Why are you telling me all this, father?” Xiao Sheng asked.
“Who is the one helping you?” Xiao Qianhe’s eyes were fixed at Xiao Sheng.
The one who knew the son best was none other than the father. As Xiao Sheng’s father, he knew Xiao Sheng better than anyone else, and he was the only one who knew all of that. Xiao Sheng would not have been capable of something that intricate right now. There was no way Xiao Sheng would have been able to pull all of that off with the resources he had on his hands after the incident from back then.
If Xiao Sheng was behind all that, there was no way he would not have found out, although the others might not have been able to.
As such, there was definitely someone helping Xiao Sheng out.
“I don’t understand what are you’re getting at, father.” Xiao Sheng took a look at Xiao Qianhe. Even his father did not know what he actually did.
What happened before gave him a profound lesson. He came to trust no one at the moment.
The Xiao clan was a family and, furthermore, a very renowned clan. If the old man were able to obtain the prosperity of the clan simply by casting Xiao Sheng away, he would not have hesitated at all.
His status fell considerably since that incident back then. Even the marriage alliance with Divine Cloud Valley was voided altogether.
Xiao Sheng remembered all of that.
“There might still be a chance for you to turn things around, so long as you’re not the one executing these plans,” Xiao Qianhe said again.
Xiao Sheng smiled, hearing Xiao Qianhe’s words, and said, “Are you concerned about me, father? Pity that I have no idea what you’re getting at, indeed.”
There is no turning around, he thought.
Furthermore, he was indeed uninvolved with that matter. There was no way Xia Qingyuan would have stormed her mother’s family’s estate without any evidence and take her cousin away to force a confession out of him.
Things would have been interesting if that were to actually happen instead.
Xiao Qianhe took one good look at Xiao Sheng, finding that he came to know less and less about that son of his.
What happened back then had probably incited him.
“You have been at the pinnacle of Sage Plane for some years, and Wang Chuan has already broken into Saint Plane. You are someone who is known to be Edge of Pinnacle below Saint Plane, yet you are still unable to break into Saint Plane after all this time. Your state of mind might have been affected, and maybe, I shouldn’t have arranged for you to get to Emperor Xia’s Palace in the first place. I should have let you train in peace instead.” Xiao Qianhe sighed.
Xiao Sheng did not say anything else. It had been two years since Wang Chuan had broken into the Saint Plane.
He had once been someone who was on par with Wang Chuan of Lihen Heaven in terms of renown, and both of them had been Edges of Pinnacle below Saint Plane.
However, the Saint Plane was a threshold, and many who were at the same level broke through at different times, potentially separated by many years.
At that moment, someone else came from outside. Xiao Qianhe frowned and said, “Who let you in here?”
“Sir, Ye Futian has come to visit, asking to see the young master,” the one who came said. Xiao Qianhe was dumbfounded upon hearing that while Xiao Sheng’s eyes flashed with extreme coldness.
Ye Futian coming to pay him a visit?
What the hell is this Ye Futian up to? Xiao Sheng thought.
“Who else is here?” Xiao Qianhe asked.
So Princess Xia Qingyuan didn’t show up, then?
“There is another swordsman other than Ye Futian,” the messenger answered. Xiao Qianhe nodded and guessed that it would have been that sword servant of that Sword Saint of the Void, coming here as Ye Futian’s escort.
That meant that it was Ye Futian alone coming to pay a visit.
He turned his eyes to Xiao Sheng and said, “You deal with this on your own.”
He left as soon as he finished.
Xiao Sheng chuckled and stood up, pacing back and forth, wondering why Ye Futian showed up.
At that moment, he wanted very much to meet Ye Futian.
That person who had taken him from the clouds and thrown him into the depths of hell, and that person whom he failed to kill twice.
Xiao Sheng did not wait for long before that extremely handsome silver-haired young man showed up. His bearing was just as extraordinary as it had always been. He stepped into the Xiao clan’s manor as if he was walking into his own home, natural, unperturbed, and carefree.
Ye Futian saw where Xiao Sheng was, and both of them stood across from each other. They gazed at each other, neither of them bothering to avert the other’s gaze.
“Disappointed, I take it?” Ye Futian asked Xiao Sheng.
A smile was seen at the corner of Xiao Sheng’s lips. He did not say anything. If Ye Futian thought he would get a confession from Xiao Sheng by merely showing up, he thought wrong.
“I heard that you were very interested in me going to Dali?” Ye Futian continued, seeing how Xiao Sheng was in no mood to talk, “I was in Dali Dynasty as a swordsman, and I trained at the Imperial Advisor’s Residence, with the imperial advisor of Dali as my teacher. I came to be acquainted with Li Yao, and he gifted me with training methods. Emperor Li wanted to marry off his daughter to me, and I refused.”
Xiao Sheng felt like being strangled deep down. The smile on his face gradually disappeared. He was seemingly jealous of Ye Futian.
Despite being in Dali Dynasty, Ye Futian was surprisingly living just as well as he did in Emperor Xia’s Realm, with all that about studying under the imperial advisor of Dali, getting acquainted with Li Yao, and refusing marriage with Emperor Li’s daughter.
Is he saying that he could have been a prince of Dali, the emperor’s son-in-law, if he were to simply nod? Xiao Sheng thought.
“Interesting,” Xiao Sheng’s voice was rather cold, “but I’m hardly interested in your affairs.”
“That so? I thought you’d be very interested.” Ye Futian smiled and said, “I heard that you have been put under house arrest all this while, and you couldn’t go anywhere, not even taking one step outside of the manor. You couldn’t even choose who you got to see.
“After what happened the last time, Queen Xiao summoned me and gave me free access to the Golden Hall of the Lotus in the royal palace to train, as well as to pick ten training methods to share outside. At the same time, she had the people of Divine Cloud Valley craft divine implements for my people, just to trade for your life. You might be the young master of the Xiao clan, but you can only live in the shadows. I truly pity you.”
“Are you here just to humiliate me?” Xiao Sheng looked at Ye Futian and said.
“Of course not. I’m just here to tell you that even though you might think that just because I can’t do anything about you, just because you won’t admit it and there is no evidence found, you need to understand one thing: there are many times where there is no need for evidence to get things going.” Ye Futian continued, “Even if I don’t kill you now. What do you think will become of me in ten or 20 years from now? From here on out, I’ll keep a close eye on you. I’d like to see how you weasel your out if I really try to kill you.”
The smile on Xiao Sheng’s face had disappeared altogether. He glared at Ye Futian with cold eyes. He knew that Ye Futian was telling the truth.
It was easy to tell what Ye Futian’s status was at the moment and what would become of him in the future.
If Ye Futian were to really keep a close eye, there would be no way he could escape.
Xia Qingyuan was already keeping a close eye on him as they spoke.
Xiao Sheng smiled all of a sudden, seemingly having recalled something. His smile was unnervingly cold as he said, “That depends if you’re able to live that long.”
“You mean, the ones backing you?” Ye Futian glared at Xiao Sheng and said, “Rat them out yourself, and I just might actually spare you.”
Xiao Sheng continued to glare at Ye Futian. Is he coming all the way here to threaten me? he wondered.
“Men,” Xiao Sheng said. Someone came, and Xiao Sheng looked at Ye Futian and said, “See our guest here off.”
Ye Futian turned around and left right away. He already knew what he came to find out, as well as having verified certain matters.
While he had been confident that Xiao Sheng definitely had a part in it, he had to come and see Xiao Sheng personally before he was able to truly verify anything. The conversation between them confirmed his speculations that Xiao Sheng had played a part.
No evidence, no reasons. Xiao Sheng’s current attitude and what transpired in the past were more than enough to confirm his thoughts.
Xiao Sheng did not bother to conceal anything deliberately. With the exception of his unwillingness to admit to what he did, he did not bother to conceal that devil-may-care attitude of his.
With everything confirmed, things were a lot easier.
After Ye Futian left, Xiao Sheng went back to the place he was training in. He sat cross-legged and looked up at the sky.
He became a student of the imperial advisor of Dali after going into Emperor Li’s Realm. He even had Emperor Li offering him a chance to become the emperor’s son-in-law.
He was held in high regard by Emperor Xia in Emperor’s Realm and earned the princess’ trust, so much so that it eclipsed her mother’s family, earning him absolute protection.
He might have only been the princess’ valet, yet he gained free access to the royal palace, the princess’ residence, and the Golden Hall of the Lotus. It was a status many would have found unimaginable.
What about me, Xiao Sheng, then? he wondered.
Ye Futian was right that he was only able to live in the shadows. He set up plots to have Ye Futian killed, yet he failed while Ye Futian’s status rose by the day. Xiao Sheng, on the other hand, even had his actions restricted. It was irony like none other.
“Maybe I was wrong.” Xiao Sheng sighed. It seemed as if Ye Futian’s sarcasm had woken him up.
He had been wrong right from the start.
He should not have chased after fleeting power and status; he should not have wanted to have a marriage alliance with Divine Cloud Valley; he should not have wanted to be the number one figure by Xia Qingyuan’s side to gain higher prestige and more training resources.
What Ye Futian did was the exact opposite of what he did. Ye Futian never chased after any of that, yet all of those things fell into his hands all the same. Even the relationship between him and Xia Qingyuan paled in comparison to that between her and Ye Futian.
Why has everything turned out like this? he thought.
It could be said that he had lost everything. The status and reputation of the Xiao clan, none of that had anything to do with him anymore.
But then again, why should it all matter?
Power and status were all fleeting things, to begin with. When one chases after them, it’s almost guaranteed that they never find them. On the other hand, if one simply dedicates themselves to training with a pure state of mind, all of that could be theirs.
Everything has its time and place; everything is like a dream and little else.
At that moment, Xiao Sheng seemed to have put everything down, and his state of mind was pure and crystal clear.